“If you were told you were getting a car and you’d never be allowed to get another one, you’d take very good care of it,” Dr. Peay says. “Your body is your car and you aren’t getting a new one! Take care of what you’ve got now.” (Photo by Arnold Wayne Jones)

With an ounce of prevention, you can be chiropractically perfect in every way

Contributing Writer

No longer do you have to get hit by a bus to benefit from chiropractic care. In fact, one local doctor is ready to dispel myths about his profession once and for all. And we might all feel healthier as a result.

Dr. Eric Peay, owner of COREhealth Wellness Center, is as passionate about his practice as he is his patients. But he understands that there are a lot of misconceptions about chiropractic care. Some people associate the field simply with car accidents or on-the-job injuries. Many fear that having their spine adjusted will hurt. And still others are skeptical about professional care that doesn’t involve prescription medications.

“People consider dental health important and see a DDS every six months for teeth cleanings. The dental profession has done an excellent job of educating the public on the dangers of decay and that it leads to other health issues not just inside the mouth,” Peay says. “It’s the same thing with spinal health. If pressure is on a spinal nerve, the nervous system is disrupted. Because it controls everything in your body, you want it working as efficiently as possible.”

Therefore, anyone can benefit from the treatment of a chiropractor, even if they aren’t feeling any pain in particular. Simply the act of living can cause one hip to be higher than the other, or the neck to not have as wide a range of motion as it should. Chiropractors are also a good source for creating an overall healthy lifestyle plan through wellness initiatives of all types.

“We like to educate our patients on the reasons why it’s so important to eat healthy, exercise, get proper sleep and stay in proper alignment. It’s no coincidence that regular chiropractic patients are generally healthier and in better shape than most,” he says. “I always explain to patients that dieting is never a good thing. However, making lifestyle choices on a daily basis is what creates long lasting habits, which will lead you to better health and keep you there.”

And that means eating healthier on an ongoing basis, not just for rapid weight loss to get into that swimsuit or pair of jeans from high school and then heading back for 50 McNuggets after the goal has been achieved.

One of the biggest myths about chiropractic care is that it’s going to hurt. Peay is often asked if he’s afraid he’s going to break someone’s neck. The answer, of course, is no. And a single spinal adjustment isn’t going to immediately alleviate all pain if a person’s back is in really bad shape.

“Another thing some people don’t understand is how long it will take to resolve their particular problem. Everyone’s body is different. If you hired a personal trainer, you may start seeing results after ten sessions while your friend may have not seen results until after 20 sessions,” he says. “I always treat each person individually. I work with them on whatever their goals are. Sometimes it’s just relief care. Other times it’s corrective or maintenance care. That’s something the patient and I talk about from the beginning. That kind of relationship makes my patients always feel comfortable and that’s something very important to me.”

Interior designer Jason Jones is a firm believer in regular treatment.

“I have been going for about four years. I cannot imagine my life without my adjustment appointments. I breathe better, sleep better, never have headaches and have even discontinued use of three prescription medications,” Jones says. “I generally try to get at least one or two adjustments per month.”

Peay also dispels the belief that an injury means all physical activity has to come to a complete halt. It’s often one of the first things people stop doing when they feel back pain, and that can make things worse.

“Lack of movement will eventually result in weight gain, sleep disorders and even more fatigue. A vicious cycle ensues. Most importantly, if your spine is out of alignment, your nervous system cannot function at its highest level. When this happens, the immune systems suffers, resulting in colds, flus and all the other nasty crud going around,” he says.

Even if you never see a chiropractor, there are ways you can keep your spine in as good a shape as possible.

“Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Add in plenty fruits, vegetables, grass-fed lean meats, nuts. Alcohol, dairy, gluten (found in wheat and most other grains), and caffeine are all pro-inflammatory,” says Michele Schamburek, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant at COREhealth. “Regular exercise and soft tissue massage are also key elements.”

Other ways to keep that back in tip-top condition are probably things your mom always nagged you about.

“Lift with your legs,” Peay says. “Think about your gluteal muscles. Flex them when you lift something to avoid putting so much pressure on your lower back. If you’re sitting at a desk all day, you’re not using your glutes much, so squeeze them with every step you take. Use your glutes every chance you get.”

Most of all just treat your body right.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 18, 2011.