Challenge your patients to let you help them reach their peak
ARE YOU STRIVING TOWARD YOUR PERSONAL PEAK HEALTH POTENTIAL? Are you challenging patients to do the same?
Chiropractors are the original functional health and integrative wellness doctors. We serve as the largest drug-free healing profession in the world. The opportunities to take the leadership role in promoting health prevention and peak wellness have never been greater.
I challenge all my patients to follow a personal Chiro Peak Health plan. Many may not realize their own true health potential. It՚s our job as their chiropractor to assess, educate and inspire them to reach for the highest level of function and wellness throughout their entire life.
Most patients may first visit us because of pain, but during an initial consultation we can plant seeds of wellness by asking about their future health goals. At the end of the first visit, I always offer hope by sharing the positive health potential I envision for them, with improved function and wellness beyond just feeling better.
Truth starts with youth
With a starting focus on infants, kids and teens, we need to educate parents to develop family wellness habits at home. Take time to teach that being healthy is much more than an absence or suppression of symptoms. Recommend chiropractic exams and posture assessments for all family members before they develop chronic conditions. Share life-changing wellness advice that will impact everyone’s future health.
A family health plan should focus on promoting optimal lifestyle wellness from a young age. Health factors can include wellness chiropractic care, balanced gravity posture, custom flexible orthotics that support all three arches of the foot, nutritious eating, physical activity, rejuvenated rest, stress management, nervous system function, environmental toxins, mental health, substance abuse awareness, relationships, and personal growth and fulfillment.
A recent study in the journal Circulation1 revealed five lifestyle factors at age 50 that were associated with 14 additional years of life expectancy among women, and 12.2 additional years among men. The five habits were: never smoke, maintain ideal weight, stay physically active, don’t drink too much alcohol and eat a healthy diet. This positive message can show patients that healthy habits not only prolong life, but also improve quality of life and reduce suffering related to chronic diseases.
We model health for our patients
Patients follow what we do for our own health, not just what we say. They model our lifestyle habits. I share my testimony of wellness chiropractic care for over 60 years which still enables me to work 50 hours a week in a physically demanding job. As a second-generation chiropractor I tell patients I have been a spoiled child my whole life — all in a great, healthy way.
Patients can see how I utilize chiropractic to provide the best foundation for my overall peak health. I also “practice what I preach” by sharing my whole-foods, paleo-focused diet, meal prepping, intermittent fasting and gut-boosting protocol. I teach vagus nerve breathing and stimulation along with stress-balancing strategies. I urge others to adopt a self-care smart mindset to boost your body, calm your mind and lift your spirit.
Each November I have the Plank of Thanks challenge with my patients. I match a $5 pledge for an in-office plank-off to raise money for our local rescue mission. Each patient who out-planks me receives a free 30-minute massage (I win 80% of the time!). It՚s a great fundraiser and extra incentive to build up core strength. I also invite patients to be Fitbit friends with weekly step challenges and welcome them to join me in our local pickleball community to add more functional movement in their life.
Step in balance as ʻmover improvers՚
I encourage all my patients to become “mover improvers” by increasing daily activity. Consistent movement during our waking hours creates what I call a “flow motion effect” — adding extra fluid in our joints, discs and fascia, along with blood flow to muscles. Motion is healing, in part because it self-lubricates and maintains healthy moving parts.
Exercise has many additional health benefits. A recent Stanford University study2 revealed that a single nine-minute session of exercise changed the levels of 9,815 different molecules out of 17,662 measured in the blood. Molecular profiles shifted up and down involving fueling, metabolism, immune response, tissue repair, appetite and inflammatory markers. Another study3 compared the heart, lungs and muscles of active 70-year-olds, inactive 70-year-olds and active 40-year-olds. They found the older active people had comparable heart and lung capacity and muscle strength of those 30 years younger.
Researchers at Brigham Young University4 have found that telomeres, the end caps on chromosomes that shorten with age, were longer in people who were active compared to those who were sedentary, reflecting a nine-year difference in cellular aging. A powerful book to recommend to patients is The Telomere Effect by Elizabeth Blackburn, AC, FRS, FAA, FRSN, and Elissa Epel, PhD, who share evidence-based research on lifestyle factors that affect telomeres and longevity.
When we move, we always want to step in balance. As chiropractors, we are “gravity posture” experts and the best trained to identify, prevent and correct structural imbalances. Recommending foot-stabilizing orthotics that support all three arches of the foot can be an important key in initial recovery and long-term rehab and stabilization. Custom orthotics can also help prevent future problems and promote lasting wellness while helping improve balance and stability, reducing future risk of injury.
Wellness is a balancing act
Wellness has been described as the S.P.I.C.E.S. of Life — balancing Social, Physical, Intellectual, Career, Emotional and Spiritual aspects. A tailored, supportive approach that considers the unique needs and motivations of each patient provides a path for them to strive toward their full health potential.
Encourage patients to set realistic personal goals that take into account their individual health needs and lifestyle. Provide patients with accurate, evidence-based information and resources and help them identify their own reasons for making changes to maintain motivation.
Patients can learn to build a network of support from family, friends and community that can provide a sense of accountability. Use praise, rewards and recognition to reinforce healthy behavior and inspire patients to continue making positive changes. Help them identify and overcome barriers to adopting new habits and work through challenges with creative solutions.
Life span is the total number of years we live. We want to help patients with a longer health span — the years we remain healthy, active and functional. With chiropractic care as a foundation for biomechanical, physical and nervous system health, we can empower our patients to extend their “chiro span” as well.
It is time to share the incredible benefits of a chiro health lifestyle plan with our patients, community and the world.
DAN DAVIDSON, DC, is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. He has been in practice for over 38 years and is the owner of The Back Resort & Rejuvenation Health Center in Salem, Va. He also hosts the PeakMyHealth.com podcast, where he shares tips on health, exercise, nutrition and posture. See his upcoming CE seminars for Foot Levelers at footlevelers.com/seminars. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Impact of Healthy Lifestyle Factors on Life Expectancies in the US Population. Li Y, Pan A, Wang DD, Liu X, Dhana K, Franco OH, Kaptoge S, Di Angelantonio E, Stampfer M, Willett WC, Hu FB. Circulation. 2018 Apr 30. pii: CIRCULATIONAHA.117.032047. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.032047. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 29712712.
- Contrepois K, Wu S, Moneghetti KJ, Hornburg D, Ahadi S, Tsai MS, Metwally AA, Wei E, Lee-McMullen B, Quijada JV, Chen S, Christle JW, Ellenberger M, Balliu B, Taylor S, Durrant MG, Knowles DA, Choudhry H, Ashland M, Bahmani A, Enslen B, Amsallem M, Kobayashi Y, Avina M, Perelman D, Schüssler-Fiorenza Rose SM, Zhou W, Ashley EA, Montgomery SB, Chaib H, Haddad F, Snyder MP. Molecular Choreography of Acute Exercise. Cell. 2020 May 28;181(5):1112-1130.e16. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.04.043. PMID: 32470399; PMCID: PMC7299174.
- J Appl Physiol 125: 1636–1645, 2018. First published August 30, 2018; doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00174.2018
Kevin J. Gries, Ulrika Raue, Ryan K. Perkins, Kaleen M. Lavin, Brittany S. Overstreet, Leonardo J. D’Acquisto, Bruce Graham, W. Holmes Finch, Leonard A. Kaminsky, Todd A. Trappe, and Scott Trappe Human Performance Laboratory, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
26 NOV 2018 https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00174.2018
- Larry Tucker. Physical activity and telomere length in U.S. men and women: An NHANES investigation. Preventive Medicine, 2017; 100: 145 DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.04.027