“Build It Anyway!”

Those are the words you would never hear from the folks I know in the building trade if they found the foundation that they were set to build on was faulty in any way, shape or form. Yet. For some reason I see people trying to do similar to that at the gym every time I go.


Let me explain…

Those who know me, know that I like to use examples in everyday language so that everyone can understand where my mind is at. One of the examples I often use in practice is that of the foundation of a house. As a structural Chiropractor I am intensely interested in the relationship between the individual and their optimal structure. With a foundation that is heaved or sunk we fully expect to see the house that sits on it to show signs (like cracks in walls, poor opening doors and windows, leaks in the roof, etc). For some reason many fail to see that same correlation between a faulty skeletal structure and many of the arising secondary issues of health.

Stable vs unstable

When we look at exercise as an example I am always seeing people trying to improve themselves in the gym with poor form (or a poor “Foundation” in how to work out properly), and largely… poor structure.

What is meant by “Poor Structure”?

There is a ‘Normal’ structure that we should all adhere to. Whenever we deviate from this ‘Normal’ that is where we see issues start to arise. Am I saying that each of us is identical in every way; of course not. When we look at the spine; with the exception of small anomalies, there is a normal structure. This structure is dictated by the ‘Normal’ alignment of each of the joints. We are designed to hold ourselves in a certain way. When we do certain activities¬†and more like them our bodies need to adapt to the new forces placed upon them.

To get back to the original example of a house. Would you start putting a new roof on a house if structure was unsettled, or faulty? I wouldn’t… and I know the builders out there wouldn’t either. To further the point; would you add a second story addition (more mass) to an already faulty foundation? Me neither. However, many folks have no problem adding more muscle bulk (more mass) to a frame that is not ready to increase its workload.

What is the solution?

The way in which I practice there is really only one solution. Work at the foundation, the structure, prior to attempting to improve things. In my house analogy, when the foundation shifts we often get cracks in our walls. One solution is to immediately “improve” the aesthetic appearance and fill the crack with putty, sand it and repaint. Does this address the crack? Perhaps for a short term. This is no different than someone who has a primary shift in their structure going to the gym to “Improve” the function of their body, by strengthening in a weakened frame. In the situation with the house, unless the primary shift of the foundation is fixed, we’re going to see that crack again. This is not to dissimilar to the story of someone returning to the gym. We know that if they are building on a weak structure, at some point, we are going to see the effect of their primary shift in structure. It may not be immediate; but is a near certainty.

The solution therefore is to ensure that you are structurally “sound” before you go trying to improve on yourself at the gym. (insert: “please consult your physician before starting any physical exercise” in your best TV advert voice) This is not to say we shouldn’t be trying to better ourselves at the gym, walking, running, doing yoga, pilates or any other great healthy activity. Just that we need to ensure that the structure is well set up to improve.

A Chiropractor trained in treating structural abnormalities will help to get you back on track and reaching your fitness goals faster and more effectively. Looking at how you ‘should be’ will help you reach the goals of how you ‘want to be’.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Matt
Aligned Chiropractic, Burlington, ON



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