Teeth and Spines

Since it’s Halloween and there’ll plenty of new cavities popping up in the next few days from all the candy that’s being eaten, I figured it would be a good time to compare the importance of our dental health and our spinal health.

Our dental health is incredibly important.  Rotten teeth are obvious, they are visible to the dentist and to the hygienist and if they get big enough and bad enough they can become very painful and lead to extensive fillings, root canal, and even extraction. Bad oral hygiene leads not only to bad breath, gum disease and a rotten smile, it can also lead to the proliferation of certain bacteria that can cause heart disease and endocarditis!  Your oral hygiene is an incredibly important part of your daily routine, so brush, floss and see your dentist regularly!

In contrast, people don’t often see the importance of spinal health, even though the consequences of having poor spinal hygiene can be much more serious than a filling or a lost tooth! The spine, just like the teeth needs to be maintained in order to have a healthy backbone for life.  Exercise, good postural habits, quick response to injuries, and great nutrition all play a part in keeping the spine healthy.  However, many people do not even know there is a problem in their spine because they may not be suffering from low back pain, neck pain, headaches, or radiating numbness and tingling.

Your spine, unlike your teeth, is not nearly as accessible, and for good reason.  The spine and skull are well protected because they house the nervous system and spinal cord and these structures are vital for our life.  Anyone who knows someone who has had a spinal cord injury like a bruised cord, disc herniation compressing the cord, or spinal fracture knows the consequences of even a small injury to the nervous system can be devastating.  Pain, spasm, paralysis and atrophy can all occur from injuries to the spinal cord, this is why it is completely encased in bone, ligaments and surrounded by muscles.

This protection is great if there is no trauma or abnormal posture, however, trauma and poor posture can affect the integrity of the spine and delicate nervous system inside and can lead to many problems, similar to, but much more serious to your overall health.  Like rotten teeth, a rotting and degenerative spine can make life miserable.  The nerves in the area of degeneration have to feed strength and information to target tissues like muscles, tendons and organs and the degeneration of the spine can cause these nerves to lessen the amount of information that travels to the target tissues, leading to poor function and possibly disease of the tissue.

Just like everyone know that eating all that candy in the Halloween basket will lead to cavities, poor sitting habits, poor nutrition, and improper mechanics leading to injury can all have very serious consequences on the spine. Fortunately we can help many spinal conditions and have ways to reverse postural and spinal decay.

If you or someone you know is interested in preventing spinal problems before they start, or if you are interested in finding out how much damage may have already been done to your spine. Call us!  And if you’d like to know if the conditions you have may be reversible, please contact us!  We have state-of-the-art digital radiography that can help us visualize the areas that may be degenerating and let you know if we may have a solution to reversing the problems! Once we see what is causing the problem, we can often work up a game plan to get you feeling better and get your spine functioning like it should. Don’t delay, call us today! And have a happy and safe Halloween!

Dr. Jason W. Haas

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