The Basics: Joints
When you go to a chiropractor Little Falls MN you’ll find out that your joints receive nourishment through a pumping process called “cyclic loading.” How well this “pump” functions depends on how well the joints move. This question may seem completely out-of-the blue, but play along with me. Why is your tongue one of the fastest healing tissues in your body? Here’s a hint: it’s why it’s red.
The answer is blood. When you go to a chiropractor Little Falls MN you’ll find out that it is often the small things that you do not think about that hold the most importance. Your tongue possesses an incredible amount of tiny blood vessels that supply it with more than enough blood to keep it flushed with nutrients. This is what gives it that fast-healing ability. Follow-up question: Why is cartilage one of the slowest healing tissues in your body? Hint: it’s why it’s yellowish gray. Again, the answer is blood, but this time it’s the lack thereof. You see, daily activities like bending, and walking make it impossible for delicate blood vessels to survive inside the cartilage of the joints—there is too much stress and pressure. Because of this, for the most part, cartilage does not have a direct supply line of blood, and is therefore not chocked full of blood, hence its yellowish grey color. In order for cartilage to be healthy and pain-free, it has to get its nutrients through different means.
It accomplishes this through an amazing, self-healing mechanism that harnesses the unique characteristics of your joints to their own advantage: a pump. Through a process very familiar to chiropractor Little Falls MN called “cyclic loading,” every movement you make does two things. It pumps new fluid and nutrients into the joint while simultaneously pumping out old fluid, and it stimulates new cartilage growth. The combination of these two processes is what keeps cartilage strong and resilient. Because this “cyclic loading pump” is so efficient, joints should last about 110 years without premature deterioration and pain.
Every time you take a step, this pumping happens to your knee cartilage. Every time you bend over, this happens to the cartilage discs of your spine. As long as you are moving, you are repetitiously squeezing and stimulating your joint’s cartilage (kind of like playing an accordion). Although your cartilage doesn’t have a direct blood supply like the tongue to keep itself healthy, this ingenious pumping mechanism is more than enough. By the way, it’s important to note that all movements are not equally good for your joints. In the above examples you need to be loading your knee and lower back cartilage within healthy limits in order to reap the benefits of this pump.
You might be thinking, “Okay, Doc, I understand this nerve-muscle-joint connection, but who cares? Why does this matter, really? When your joints move within healthy limits, the Mechanoreceptors fire. Using this information your brain, in turn, tells your Stabilizers and Movers how to respond in a coordinated and balanced manner to keep the joints moving properly. This allows for optimal pumping so that your joints are preserved as close to pain-free as possible. In this collaborative way, your nerves, muscles, and joints work together to form one of the most important systems in your body: the aforementioned Neuromusculoskeletal System. Each component is essential to this cycle. When one element works well, it helps the others do the same.