I wouldn’t even try to stand on a stool with only one or two legs on it; that would be dangerous. There is no way that stool would have the stability to support my weight. I need to see at least three legs on a stool before I have the confidence to trust my body in its care.
So it should be with your health.
Imagine your health is a stool. If you want to be able to stand on that stool, if you want to be able to stand on a strong foundation of health, you need a minimum of three legs on your stool.
The first leg supporting you is a healthy spine; your spine is your foundation. Your body cannot function unless it’s receiving messages in the form of nerve impulses from your brain. These messages are how your nerves know to make your heart beat or your lungs breathe. This is how your body is able to move, metabolise, and heal itself. Misalignments of the spine, or subluxations, put dangerous pressure on the nervous system and inhibit your body’s ability to receive messages. By receiving regular chiropractic adjustments, you are giving your body the foundation it needs for optimal performance.
The second leg supporting you is the work you put in. This means following the recommendations of your chiropractor. Using resources given to you which will help to maintain the adjustments you have received. This might mean using a neck orthotic at home for 20 minutes, five times a week. This may mean doing specific exercises or stretches. This may mean standing on a vibration plate for five minutes. Whatever the recommendation, they are designed to help your body build the strength to support your spine and promote your health.
The third leg is changing your lifestyle. If a man weighing 300 lbs starts working out four times a week, but continues eating 10,000 calories per day, he is not going to lose any weight. Yes, he will certainly stop gaining weight. But now he is stuck where he is, in a destructive cycle to nowhere. Identify and eliminate the things that are detrimental to your health, or spend your life fighting against them.
Dentists have been using this theory for ages. You can’t just go in for a six-month check-up and expect to have a healthy mouth. Unless you are also brushing and flossing regularly and eliminating sugary foods that erode your teeth, your teeth are going to rot and fall out. The North American lifestyle is hard on our teeth; the North American lifestyle is hard on the spine.
All three legs of the stool must be engaged.
Notice, however, that two-thirds of the responsibility lies with you? Good chiropractors (or dentists, for that matter) will do everything within their ability to make sure you have the care and resources to be your healthiest. But with all my passion and ability, I cannot force your hand. Ultimately, your health is your responsibility.
A patient of mine who was the picture of health – a perfect example of living to your full potential – learned this lesson the hard way. She was pouring her time and energy into her health, and then life happened. Her schedule got away from her and she became overwhelmed. I’ll never forget what she said to me after a year of just barely trying to stay above water.
“I completely underestimated the affect stress had on my health.”
In all her busyness, she was still coming in for her regular spinal adjustments, she was still exercising and doing her homework, but she had failed at eliminate the stress that was pulling her down. All it takes is one leg to weaken and the whole stool can come crashing down.
Don’t try to stand on a weakened stool. Engage in your health and give yourself and your family a solid foundation to stand on. You were made for health.
Dr. Matt Tonnos
God, Family, Food, Exercise, and Health Strategy for People. Full time Doctor, Dad, and Husband. When I’m not interacting with patients, playing with my kids, or exercising at home with my wife, Dr. Amy Culver, you can find me reading books, enjoying a strong cup of coffee, and investing in new start-ups. Remember, if you’re not moving it, you’re losing it.