By: Melissa Schenkman, MPH, MSJ
We are just two weeks into the New Year, so there’s still plenty of time to make those resolutions and stick with them. Many millennials make the commitment to be healthier without defining a roadmap on how to get there. Do you want to improve your diet? Your mental clarity? Or perhaps your issues are more specific. Depending on your health goals for 2019, visiting your local chiropractor could help you become your best self.
To start us off on the right foot, YMyHealth asked chiropractor and fellow millennial, 32-year-old, Jonathan Ozner, DC, to shed light on some of the key things that the field has to offer. Dr. Ozner did his undergraduate studies at Florida State University and trained at the prestigious Life University College of Chiropractic in Atlanta, Georgia. He comes to us with four years of experience in private practice.
Here’s to a new year and a new, millennial you!
YMyHealth: What makes chiropractic care unique in comparison to other kinds of healthcare options?
Dr. Ozner: Chiropractors do not seek to treat symptoms or specific conditions. Instead, we focus on getting to the root cause of the pain or other symptoms that a person is experiencing by taking pressure off the nervous system.
Your central nervous system, which is made up of your brain and spinal cord, is the master computer system that controls every function of your body. Branching off from the spinal cord are nerves, which are like wires that connect from the spinal cord traveling to every organ, tissue, and cell. The spinal cord lies within your spine, which is made up of multiple, moveable vertebrae.
Chiropractic care is unique in that it focuses on detecting and correcting vertebral subluxations. These are minor misalignments of two or more vertebrae in your spine. When misalignments occur, they put pressure on the nerves, which exit the spinal cord (think of this as a short circuit to your hardwiring). As a result, the pressure prevents proper communication between the brain (master control system) and the rest of the body. This leads to dysfunction in the body and thus, can lead to decreased health overall.
We say that subluxations are silent because the majority of the time this pressure on the nerves cannot be felt. In fact, it can go undetected for months to years.
Chiropractors provide specific adjustments to remove the subluxations and restore balance to the nervous system. Over time, these adjustments can lead us on the path to optimal functioning in our daily lives.
YMyHealth: Why should seeing a chiropractor regularly be one of your New Year’s resolutions?
Dr. Ozner: I joke all the time that if you have a spine, you need a chiropractor! We go through so many stressors in our daily lives that place stress on our bodies and our nervous system, causing vertebral subluxations. The three main sources of stress on our systems are physical, chemical, and emotional.
Some of the most common physical stressors include of course, cell phone use, carrying heavy purses and book bags, as well as sitting in the work place on a daily basis. Research shows that pregnancy and even the birthing process puts significant physical stress on both the mother and the newborn. Chemical stressors include the food we eat, such as genetically modified foods, as well as the prolonged use and abuse of medications when not needed. Finally, emotional stress from work, family and other aspects of life take a major toll on the nervous system. We’ve been shown to be one of the most emotionally stressed out countries in the world.
Again, the problem is we don’t see or feel the impact of this stress right away, but it’s there in the background. We’ve become such a “quick-fix” society, so typically when we begin feeling symptoms, we immediately try to suppress them, or simply patch things up, like taking the batteries out of an alarm system when the building has caught on fire! We can’t just allow this to happen, or the building surely will burn down. Instead, we know that the body is a self-healing organism, and we want to help it heal itself long before it breaks down.
As a new-year’s resolution, everybody should be seeing a chiropractor, especially one whose practice focuses on analyzing, detecting, and correcting subluxations (those minor misalignments of two or more vertebrae that I mentioned earlier), to enable the body to function properly. A chiropractor will do this with specific adjustments. At our office, we also use digital x-ray and thermography (a type of imaging that measures nervous system activity) as a means of analysis.
YMyHealth: What do you commonly see millennials for? And, what type of care do they receive?
Dr. Ozner: I commonly see millennials who come to us for care as a result of wear and tear from things such as looking at their cell phones all day, sports and exercise, picking up and carrying their children, and overall stress in the work place to name a few examples. The care they receive is quiet simple. Once we figure out where the subluxation is, we simply adjust and remove it, and then get out of the way! Some of the most common things we’ve seen from routine chiropractic care are: decreased headaches, increased energy, sleeping much better, healthier immune systems, and overall a greater sense of well-being.
YMyHealth: Why is it a good idea for millennials, in particular to invest in chiropractic care?
Dr. Ozner: We know that chiropractic care is not a luxury, nor is it for those just experiencing neck pain or low back pain. In today’s day and age, it’s truly a necessity. Ironically, while millennials are the most connected group when it comes to modern technology, we are also the most disconnected when it comes to our frame and structure, and with the demand of more stress as we evolve, it’s not getting better!
That being said, now is a better time than ever for millennials to invest in chiropractic care because of the increasing demands that technology places on their health, from both their work and social lives. We always talk about a term called “text neck,” for example. The prolonged forward head posture from looking at our cell phones all day long places a substantial amount of pressure in the most critical aspect of the spine, in the upper cervical or neck region, where the majority of the neurology stems from. Over a period of days, months, and years, text neck can lead to adverse health effects. If you don’t believe me, take a walk down Broadway Street in NYC and look at the people walking around!
You see, our heads weigh about as much as a bowling ball. For every inch of forward head posture, we know through research that this puts about 10 pounds of pressure on the nervous system. This is leading to a decline in our health, not to mention, the pain and discomfort that is inevitable.
YMyHealth: What would you tell millennials who are hesitant about receiving chiropractic care?
Dr. Ozner: Read the research. The literature continues to prove what we have already known for decades. Many people have a pre-conceived notion that chiropractors simply rack and crack bones or hurt people, and that is SO far from the truth! In fact, chiropractic has been proven to be one of the safest forms of healthcare that we know, if you look at the data. Adjustments are not only gentle and specific, but they are completely safe to those who qualify for care.
YMyHealth: Do most health insurance plans cover chiropractic care?
Dr. Ozner: Yes, they do, but the coverage varies. For example, some plans offer to cover 10 visits lets say, while others offer to cover 20 visits. The problem with the insurance system is that it typically tends to look at chiropractic care from a symptom-based model. Chiropractic care looks at care from a correction and wellness standpoint, so combining the two models is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It’s not always ideal.
YMyHealth: How does chiropractic care differ from physical therapy treatments?
Dr. Ozner: Physical therapy is a totally separate entity as it aims to treat musculoskeletal issues such as injuries to ligaments, muscles, and tendons. It involves training, exercise, and strengthening, and it’s great for those that need it.
Chiropractic looks at the body from a neuro-musculoskeletal standpoint. We focus on getting to the root cause by correcting vertebral subluxations, to allow for greater expression of life in the body. Chiropractic is not a therapy, massage, nutritional supplementation regimen, nor does it substitute for exercise. All of those are great and have their place but do not fall into the realm of what it is we truly do!
We strongly encourage people of all ages and conditions ranging from infancy and pediatrics to athletes, pregnant moms, families, and everyone else to be checked this year and receive the amazing benefits of chiropractic.
To learn more about Dr. Ozner’s practice visit: Ozner Family Chiropractic.