We’ve all encountered the old adage ‘The outside flatters, but it’s what is on the inside that matters. It’s hard to argue that a newly waxed Lamborghini becomes much less luxurious and desirable without an engine. The latest edition sleek iPhone 10 or 100 with the new ‘Super Mega Pixel’ camera and ‘Mind-Reading Text Messaging’ features is frustrating and useless without a charged battery. Even an authentic Italian herb-seasoned crispy stuffed chicken parmesan cooked to perfection in Florence is simply just less appetizing and more disappointing without the “stuffing”. However, it’s also truly challenging to think of the above saying as being more important anywhere else than in your health.
Many people today are simply so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and their daily responsibilities, activities and obligations that they tend to view their health through the lens of “if it ain’t broke, don't fix it”. They go from work or school, to practice or the mall, to the grocery store before the party or to the line of cars in the rush hour wait, without taking a second to consider what is happening on the inside of their body or even the bodies of the people that they care about. Most will plug away not thinking about the unseen rising blood pressure, or elevating insulin, or degeneration and disease in their spine and posture, while innately hoping that they don’t have to spend any more of their already stretched resources particularly their time or money on even one more thing, especially their health.
And besides, that average everyday man or woman witnessed their reflection in the mirror that morning after waking a little stiff and a bit sore and didn’t see any new growths or anything particularly unusual or seemingly out
of the ordinary. Maybe they noticed yet another white hair in the unshaven morning beard or an unfamiliar dimple of cellulite that just ‘had to have been there before. But both man and woman alike conclude with insufficient evidence staring at them in their reflections and after getting fresh and ready for the day, of course with his tie tightened snugly and her hair artistically styled into a perfectly woven bun, that because “we look good, we, therefore, must be healthy”. The flattery on the outside, hiding a potential mockery on the inside.
The vast majority of people unknowingly judge the internal workings of their heart, lungs, digestive tract, joints, and a plethora of other important biomarkers regarding the health of their body by the beautiful face they see staring back at them as if they’ve never heard how looks can be deceiving. Then they smile away any possibility of internal malfunction, take a selfie and caption it “Looking cute, think I might go to work today”, and inevitably
dismiss any possibility that their reasoning is flawed and there is even the slight possibility of a crisis brewing as they grab a quick bite, stress out at work while having a few wins along the way, and barely have enough time and energy left over to do what they enjoy at the end of each and every day. Rinse, wash, repeat.
Unfortunately for most of us, pain and symptoms when they arise are great motivators to be more mindful of our health and take action immediately when they occur, but they are often the last sign to show up when things are going awry. It’s no different than when the smoke finally gets to the fire alarm after something has been burning. The most critical part to understand is that in most cases the lack of symptoms is actually a poor indicator of whether you are healthy or not. Just because we might look good, or feel good, or are not sick, doesn’t mean we are healthy. To define health appropriately we have to look at the concept of optimal function – mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually. Just as the smoke alarm won’t detect the gas leak making someone susceptible to a fatal explosion, looking in the mirror won’t detect how much pressure is building in your arteries or how much nerve flow is reduced when a spinal joint is shifted.
Unfortunately, most people aren’t aware of this. They operate from a different perspective and inevitably wait for the health care crisis to hit them like a ton of bricks. When pain or symptoms show up they seek treatment in
some form due to the consequence of a detrimental life effect that affects and impacts them through missed work days, unrelenting pain, reduced quality of life, and days spent in misery. These symptoms, no matter how intense, often allow them the ability to reason that “I don’t look or feel good, so I must not be healthy”, in other words, “looks like I’m broke, so I guess I better go get it fixed”. But the presence and/or even lack of symptoms and pain are poor indicators of how healthy they actually are. And in too many cases they simply get a quick “fix” for the symptom through medications or gimmicks and gizmos on Amazon, or the latest and greatest promise from a fellow co-worker who just signed up as a distributor for this amazing new albeit relatively untested miracle elixir from a jungle near the equator merely buying them some temporary sanity or a false sense of security for the time being as the real cause of the problem is left unaddressed or worse, masked.
This is particularly important regarding your structural health and balance. As science, research and common sense have proven time and again beyond doubt; structure determines function. It is particularly critical to understand that when your structure is deviated from normal, your ability to enjoy a life free of physical limitations becomes compromised. But you can’t necessarily see it shift. You can’t always feel it buckle, deviate or compress. Over time the wear and tear stresses bite at your joints and cause your muscles to squeeze areas of your body like a vice grip leading to inflammation, pain, and eventually dysfunction and immobility. But many are deceived by the promise of looking good and feeling good as defining elements of health. But the truth is, what happens if the use of the muscle relaxer or anti-inflammatory is ceased altogether? The pain and inflammation return. The pill is not “fixing” anything other than a temporary inconvenience. You can’t feel the blood pressure rising, or the insulin going up nor can you feel it calmed by the anti-hypertensive or the diabetes drug. But stop taking those things and there is a looming crisis. Why? Because the cause of those problems is not a deficiency of medication or a lack of a stent and therefore it is not being addressed. We try to make the outside look better, while the inside is falling apart. We try to pretend that because the blood work is better, so we must be healthier. Little do they know that the drug is simply giving a false sense of security as the processes causing dysfunction remain impaired or toxicities and deficiencies remain unresolved.
So, if it is true that the outside flatters but the inside matters, then what can we do to evaluate how healthy we are, and what direction we are going? Trade the ‘Selfie’ for a ‘Skelfie’. Xrays have been given a bad rap over the years for a number of reasons based on the theories of the non-linear threshold of radiation exposure. That’s a mouthful of scientific jargon that means that the more you are exposed to the more your risk for cancer increases. As of late with science, technology, and resources expanding to new realms, the concept of radiation hormesis, or low doses of ionizing radiation having a benefit to the immune system has become more accepted. This allows us the reason to use Xray for a more in-depth structure analysis without as many concerns.
The spine is like a suit of armor as it protects your spinal cord or the lifeline of your body. It connects the brain to the organs and keeps them powered on by sending millions, billions, and trillions of bytes of neural information to and from every single cell tissue and organ at all times. The brain uses this 2-way highway as a relay system to keep you able to respond to your environment externally and internally. So, obviously, anything that compromises this flow of energy will have detrimental effects on your system. Like putting a cinder block on a garden hose and seeing the lawn die from lack of water.
Unfortunately, when the spine is compromised or deviated from its normal structure then organ dysfunction will result, and disease will manifest from the biomechanical and neurological sequelae that occur. So, if the
infrastructure is unstable, eventually the building will collapse. Or, to put in another way – over time the plumbing begins to leak, or the cracks in the drywall show or an electrical circuit is compromised, and a fire begins and so
on. The outside can only flatter for so long before the inside takes precedence.
Of course, selfies are all over social media and have become an interesting twist in developments in modern communication between people, their social networks, and their experience of their world at that moment. They
are taken for a variety of reasons in a plethora of places while striking one of a million unpredictable poses. However, they really cannot provide an accurate depiction of any valuable data regarding what is going on below
the surface. Enter the ‘Skelfie’. A biomechanical radiographic assessment coupled with postural evaluation to help understand the inner workings and balance of the body, as well as expose any blind spots that may be lurking in someone’s health.
It allows a deeper investigation into any underlying health conditions that can then be addressed immediately so you can avoid any physical limitations or surprise diagnoses. But this special X-ray series must be performed by a specialist in biomechanics and non-surgical rehabilitation of the spine and posture who can understand what is going on inside and can communicate what will happen if there is something wrong. After an evaluation and assessment, they will then be able to empower you with the opportunity to have a strong foundation for life and correct any weak links in the spinal chain.
So, take a moment to trade your selfie for a ‘Skelfie’, and make certain that your outside truly shines because your inside structurally aligns.