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The "120/80" Standard

Happy August everyone! I cannot believe how fast the year is going. In this month's blog post, we will discuss the concept of "normal" and how we establish just what "normal" really is.

In health care, the concept of having a "normal" to refer to as a goal for care is not new. A common example of this is "120/80" You probably recognize this as the normal (average) blood pressure reading. If you were to be evaluated by a physician who determined your average blood pressure reading to be 210/135, obviously a significantly abnormal finding, intervention to normalize this condition would be recommended. What is the goal for care? To lower your blood pressure into the normal range. Thus, "120/80" becomes a goal for treatment for "high blood pressure" or "hypertension".

In Chiropractic Biophysics (CBP), we utilize the "Normal Spinal Model" as our goal for care. This model has been researched, and tested by the scientific community, and is accepted as being an accurate representation of how the spine should be built for maximum strength and stability. When your spine is built normally, it is best able to handle the stress of gravity and to handle the loads imposed by the environment upon your body.

How do I determine how your spine compares to the Normal Spinal Model? By first evaluating your static (non-moving) upright (standing) posture, I determine how your body is bearing weight, how gravity is affecting you when you stand up. Your posture is then recorded on paper by using a well-established system of notation used in biomechanics (the Cartesian coordinate system).

After this is complete, precise standing x-rays are exposed, and your projected image is compared to that which was earlier observed during the postural exam thus cross checking your projected image with your actual viewed posture.

Once these two studies are completed, an accurate understanding of how your body is built is achieved. The radiographs (X-rays) are now analyzed to determine how you "measure up" to the normal spinal model. Extremely accurate measurements are performed on your X-rays, and specific lines are drawn upon them in order that you are able to see how your spine compares to the Normal Spinal Model. When all of this preparatory work is complete, your X-rays are shown and explained to you so you may understand what work, (if any) is needed to correct your posture.

The beautiful thing about this process is that just as a high blood pressure reading provides a goal for care as detailed above, so does this analysis. We both know what needs to be accomplished for you and your spine to be as healthy as possible.

After a period of 8-9 weeks of care, with the specific application of forces applied to your spine to correct its abnormal position, a new set of comparative x-rays are performed to measure your progress. Often at this time, it is determined you have achieved maximum correction of your spinal problem, in other cases, still more work is required to achieve as near normal as possible. In any event, there is no guessing involved, as you can plainly see how your spine has progressed.

When the time comes that you have made as much change as possible towards normal, then maintaining this new improved position is an option. Ask yourself, if I feel good does this mean I am healthy? Do you know what your blood pressure is right now? If you do, how do you know, and why do you care if you "feel good"? This is the same as with the spine. Many people, maybe even you, are walking around thinking that they "feel fine" despite the fact that their spinal structure is severely abnormal, and very unhealthy. An appropriate spinal evaluation using the latest technology of postural examination and X-ray can ascertain just how healthy your spine is. Why leave your health to chance?


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