3 Main Areas of Health

By Dr. Jason Slagel | November 28th, 2022

If you can view physical health in the context of these three main areas, then physical health becomes much simpler and much more attainable. Also, if you can identify which area of physical health your problem is under, then that can help guide you to matching the correct intervention to your condition. Many people end up mismatching the wrong intervention to their condition because they don’t understand the bigger framework. Here are the three categories:

  1. Biochemical: This area of physical health has to do with the chemical composition in your body. Think of things like the food you eat, staying hydrated, smoking or non-smoking, the quality of the air you breathe, mold exposure, medications you take, nutritional deficiencies, infections, autoimmunity, blood lab work, leeching cooking utensils, and the list goes on. Anything body chemistry related goes in this category. The type of health care providers who deal with this area are people like Nutritionists, Dietitians, Medical Doctors, Functional Medicine Practitioners, Naturopaths, Oncologists, etc. Most people are familiar with the Biochemical aspect of physical health.
  2. Functional: This area of physical health has to do with motion. Think of things like strength, endurance, pliability, gait, flexibility, resting heart rate, lung capacity, range of motion, spinal fixation, functional movement patterns, and the list goes on. Anything related to motion can fall into this category. The type of health care providers who work in this area are Physical Therapists, Personal Trainers, Massage Therapists, Sports Coaches, Myofascial Practitioners, Traditional Chiropractors, etc. The reason why traditional chiropractors fall into this category is because traditional chiropractors do what are called “mobilizations” which is where they feel for a joint in the spine that feels stuck and they twist/crack/pop it to make it move more. This is motion based, and is not designed to reposition or align the spine. It’s meant to make the joints move more in whatever position they are in. It’s like spraying door hinges with WD40. It doesn’t change the positioning of the door, it just makes it move better in the position it is already in. This is a great approach for people whose spines are in a fairly normal positioning already, but this approach does not work as well for people who have a positioning problem in the spine. This is because with a positioning problem in the spine, or a structural problem, the joints will not be moving well because of the malpositioning. So making the joints more mobile will be temporary while the spine is still in the wrong position because as soon as that person stands back up after a traditional chiropractic mobilization, those joints will simply lock back down again because the positioning is still off.
  3. Structural: This area of physical health has to do with body positioning. Think of things like a broken bone, a dislocated joint, a bulged disc, a hangnail, a spinal shift, a muscle tear, cleft palate, and the list goes on. Anything related to body positioning can fall into this category. Health care providers who work in this area are Surgeons, Sports Medicine Practitioners, McKenzie Physical Therapists, NUCCA Chiropractors, etc. The reason why NUCCA chiropractors are included in this Structural category is because NUCCA chiropractors have the goal of repositioning the spine back to the normal position. This does not involve any twisting, cracking, or popping like a traditional chiropractor because the goal is not to make it move more, but to correct the positioning to be in alignment. This is why NUCCA chiropractors take x-rays before doing the correction (to measure the positioning to calculate how to fix it) and then take x-rays after the correction (to measure the positioning to see if it’s back within a normal range again).

These categories can sometimes play off each other and make it difficult to parse out which category to address. For example, if you have some type of metabolic issue (Biochemical) and uric acid accumulates in your body, you could develop gout, and subsequently begin limping (Functional). So, if you pursue correcting the limp in the Functional category, you would not end up fixing the metabolic problem in the Biochemical category and your limp would not resolve.

Another example is if you have a structural shift in the spine from a whiplash trauma like a car crash and it shifted your head and neck out of place (Structural) and because of that you couldn’t turn your head to the left very well (Functional), if you went to a traditional chiropractor because of the motion based problem of not being able to turn your head, then you would have underwhelming results.

When some problem is happening, many times it is clear which category it is in, but when it is unclear, you need to have a trusted health care professional who will assist you in finding the root cause and therefore the correct category where the correct intervention will be.

If you have a problem that you think may be in the structural category in regards to the spine, or if you have tried traditional chiropractic with underwhelming results, please contact our office at (954) 842-2677 to schedule a consultation with the doctor to see if we can help.

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