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Chiropractic 102: Just Like Riding a Bike

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

“I just wish it would stay.” When I realized she was not talking about her dog, it hit me like a thunderbolt. After 15 years of working with this lady and enjoying it because she is fun and because she is very bright, I realized I had utterly failed in explaining what was going on.

So here we go…. Chiropractic 102.

Bones are not meant to stay in place! Granted they are not meant to flop around either. The only bones that stay in place, however, are on cadavers. Even the bones that comprise our skull move slightly. Bones are levers which are moved by muscles. Muscles are attached to bones by tendons. Muscles and tendons and bones are protected by ligaments. Ligaments attach bones to other bones forming a joint. Joints allow the body to move in strange (gymnastics) and wonderful (walking) ways. We have so many joints that allow so many movements that if our bones stayed in place, we would be dead. Or at least feel like it.

In other words, we are made for movement. And our bones make it happen.

So now that we have had an anatomy lesson, let us move on to how our musculoskeletal system works, a little physiology.

Joints, and spinal joints in particular, are motion depended. They must move in order to live. That means taking nutrients from outside of the joints, and getting them inside. This also means removing the metabolic waste accumulating in the joint. Contrast this with a muscle where the blood just pumps through, and the cells capture and release what they need back into the bloodstream. But most joints do not have a blood supply that brings nutrients to them. They must work, or move and pump, to provide nutrition to the joint space. Motion and movement of joints is critical to their survival. Motion is lotion! But not all motion is created equal. If joints are not moved enough, they become arthritic and degenerate. If joints move too much, they become arthritic and degenerative. See the pattern?

Remember Goldilocks? Of course you do. Too hot, too cold, just right? Too soft, too hard, just right? Similarly, joints must not move too much or too little. Our joints must move just right. Otherwise, they become what? That’s right, arthritic and degenerate.

Do you remember Chiropractic 101? (Chiropractic 101) Our bodies do best with balance and symmetry. Every joint needs to be balanced with every other joint.

Here is how it works. Every joint in our body is in contact with every other joint, muscle, tendon, and ligament. Our incredible nervous system is the operating software hooking this all together. And our central nervous system (CNS) stores these movement patterns from the time we learn to crawl and progress to walking to eventually riding a bike, to playing a fiddle, to hitting a tennis ball, to skiing down a hill. Our CNS learns patterns and utilizes them for a lifetime. Just like riding a bike! That is why we can always ride a bike. Assuming that at some point we actually learned.

The CNS controls and coordinates everything that happens in our bodies. Everything. Including the amount of tension on the joints and the timing and sequencing of muscular contractions. Think about the act of walking. Muscles must contract and relax in a very finely tuned and specific order for walking to be possible. This dynamic equilibrium, the “just right” amount, is loaded with checks and balances issued by the central nervous system, telling muscles to turn on, to turn off, for how long, and in what order. And that is just walking! Think about a triple-toe-loop in figure skating!

It is all about patterns of movement stored in our CNS. All the balance and symmetry that made these incredible movements possible are not in your muscles, but in your CNS.

But at some point in life, we lose the ability to coordinate these complex movement patterns.


Because things can interrupt the movement pattern, creating imbalance, and asymmetry. Things like injuries, or toxins, or sicknesses, or emotional stress interfering with balance and symmetry. And these little interferences, if left unattended, can leave a permanent mark on your CNS, effecting your movement patterns, your balance and your symmetry. And your CNS never forgets.

There is an old expression in neurology, “The lord God may forgive us of our sins, but our nervous system never does.”

So, we go through life accumulating insults to our nervous system until eventually we become…old. This accumulated neurologic garbage is at the root of the aging process. Clean it up!

When you visit us on a regular basis to get adjusted, we are checking your nervous system to see if we can help your body control and coordinate itself better and take out some of the neurologic garbage. Waiting for the warning light to come on, in the form of pain, puts you at a big disadvantage.

Get adjusted when you feel good. It is a wise choice. And keep your bones moving.

We can always do better.



PS – Thanks Connie for the inspiration.

2 Join the Conversation

  1. Rebecca says
    Jun 29, 2021 at 10:34 PM

    So cool! God is amazing in how He created us. Thank you, Dr. Swaim, for helping to keep His creation, each one of us, in good working order. Our family is thankful for you.

    • says
      Jun 29, 2021 at 4:16 PM

      Thank you for trusting us to help! God bless and cheers!

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