There is a serious condition that I see in my practice every single day - Osteoarthritis, Disc, and Spinal Degeneration. Believe it or not, it usually has a start in childhood – from a fall off a bike, out of a tree, off a fence, a skateboard...the causes are numerous.

Whatever the incident, it produces a Vertebral Subluxation, which your body then needs to adapt to.

A Vertebral Subluxation is when one of the bones in the spine is moved out of its correct position, therefore putting pressure on the nerves that run between the bones and causing interference to the communication of the nervous system to the rest of your body. The body learns how to adapt and the Vertebral Subluxation becomes a habit, it becomes a neurological pattern, and it affects the function of the nervous system. Eventually it starts to affect body functions.

You then have a serious problem. As the Subluxation escalates and becomes a habit, it tends to produce a progressive sequence of spinal and disc degeneration in four very specific phases.

There has been a long-running belief that arthritis and all the phases of degeneration are simply a normal part of aging. I would like to state emphatically that this type of thinking is absolute nonsense. It makes no sense at all.

We know for a fact that Osteoarthritis and Spinal Degeneration are not caused by aging. This is not an 'aging disease' and it does not mean that your fate will be some rocking chair, your hands all gnarled and stiff, unable to walk. No. This is caused by years of subluxated vertebrae.

Consider a case I would see quite often in my office: an individual came to see me in pain, weakness, numbness, tingling, cramping and possibly difficulty with bowel or bladder function. In most cases, this person would seek the opinion of the family medic who would perform an examination, followed by x-rays, and would discover that the bottom disc of the spine is severely deteriorated while the disc, two or three above that one, would be perfectly normal. This person would then be told that they have arthritis and degeneration because they are getting old.

Let's look at the logic closely. How many of you would feel that the two discs and vertebrae I just described, because they belonged to the same person, are most likely the same age? If you said yes, you are on the ball. If the deterioration of this person's disc (and spine) was due to his/her age, then the disc above it, below it, and everywhere else would look exactly the same...because they are all the same age!

And, in almost every case I have seen at my office, there is usually one, two or perhaps three discs that are deteriorating and the rest are quite normal.

The point I am making is that Spinal Degeneration has little to do with aging.

I repeat: nothing to do with aging. It has everything to do with the fact that there is a Subluxation in their spine, which has been there for decades and has never been corrected.

Take a look at the x-rays pictured here. The arrows show the size of the openings that the nerves use to exit from the spinal cord. Take a look at the xray on the left. It shows perfectly normal openings. (And for those of you who like big words, these openings are called 'The Intervertebral Foramina' or IVF). Now, have a look at the x-ray on the right and you'll see a different picture. That IVF is incredibly small. Yes, it will certainly affect that particular nerve and how it functions. If the nerve that is housed in that opening controlled your lungs, what do you think would happen? Would your lungs function normally? Or do you think that you would have trouble breathing, feel shortness of breath or even something much more serious like asthma. The same goes for every other organ and function in your body. Would you be in trouble? Yes! Much like a cavity to a tooth, Subluxations cause destruction of the surrounding tissues over the course of time.

I am also compelled to mention that Subluxations often occur during the process of delivery, and this is the very reason I often find the beginnings of spinal degeneration in children who are as young as five years old. It is the beginning of the process. If I then saw this particular child as an adult at the age of thirty-five, I would most likely see that same condition but much, much, more advanced – possibly where you are.

But not all is Doom and Gloom. This next bit of news may just brighten up your day: A number of years ago, Dr. Ogi Ressel headed up a study of 50 chiropractic doctors, from the Province of Ontario, Canada, were involved in a major research study that involved thousands of patients. They discovered that if a patient was placed on a schedule designed to correct their Subluxation, it was possible to slow down the process of Spinal and Disc Degeneration and eventually stop it. In some cases they could even reverse the damage. It could be reversed!

Just a few years ago a sequel to that original research paper was published and the doctors found that more than 85 percent of children demonstrated the beginnings of Spinal Degeneration! That is a remarkably high percentage that we should not be okay with.

The point I want to emphasize is that it is very important to have children checked to determine whether or not they have Subluxations. Not only from the perspective of insuring normal health and function of the nervous system, but also to make certain that there is no error in the function of the vertebrae that would then cause this degenerative process to start.

I am dedicated to the health of our children. I want to make certain that their generation grows up believing in the self-healing, self-regulating power that makes their body function as it was meant to.

So...please have your kids checked by a chiropractor. I want to make sure they are the best they can be. It would be my greatest pleasure to help your kids. Simply schedule a time for their check-up.

That's it for this week folks. Enjoy the weather.

Yours in Health Dr. Jim Dr. Jim Schaffer of Kimberton Chiropractic Center, Phoenixville, is a weekly contributor to The Phoenix. 484-921-4936

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