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For more information about chiropractic treatment, contact:

John Ballam, DC

201 Davis Grove Circle, #106
Cary, NC 27519
Telephone: (919) 363-2277

Chiropractic Care:
All About Recovering Balance

Dr. John Ballam of Legacy Chiropractic in Cary likens spinal issues to the tires on your car. “If your tires are wearing unevenly, it’s most likely they’re out of alignment. Think of me as the mechanic aligning the tires. I’m going to align the key areas of the spine that allow it to function better.

It’s been said that “sitting is the new smoking,” under-scoring the health hazards of working in front of a computer screen all day. Here, Dr. Ballam demonstrates the problem posture of many computer users as well as a simple exercise to restore postural balance. “It takes just a minute or two every hour,” he notes, “but it can have enormous benefits. Just stand up and reach for the sky!

“At the very least, we’ll slow down the wear and tear,” he adds. “But unlike your tires, the body has the ability to heal. If we remove the interference, the potential is there for the body to heal and repair itself.”

Dr. Ballam uses a chiropractic approach called the Gonstead method, which includes a systematic biomechanical assessment process, to address root cause imbalances rather than merely treating the symptoms of misalignment.

“For example, not every case of neck pain is a neck problem,” explains Dr. Ballam, “so that’s where our comprehensive analysis is key.” For patients with neck pain, Dr. Ballam looks at their necks, mid-back, lower-back, pelvises, and all the way to the floor—how they stand and the position of their feet. “We want to examine the whole interrelated system, not just isolated segments of their spine,” he explains.

Structural Imbalances
Pose Systemic Problems

Dr. Ballam cautions prospective patients that he doesn’t offer a “quick fix.” There are often layers to the patients’ symptoms, he notes, “so my job is to identify the source of the problem—the first ‘domino’ to fall. But we don’t always start there; often we have to reverse-engineer the problem. We work on issues structurally as they progressed—in effect, looking back through time.”

In the chiropractic world, this process is called “nerve retracing,” Dr. Ballam explains. He describes a common experience: “A patient will come in complaining of sciatica, the pain that goes down the leg. After several weeks of working with them, the sciatica will start to get better. But then they’ll come in saying: ‘I don’t know what you did last time, but now my back hurts, and it hasn’t hurt like that for 10 years.’ What that means is they’re reversing through symptoms they had from years ago. In effect, we’ve taken 10 years of stress off the spine, and we’ll keep on going. And, as patients work through these symptoms progressively, they ultimately reach a point where they feel awareness, movement, and freedom in their spines.”

Spinal Misalignment and Dizziness

Sometimes, notes Dr. Ballam, spinal misalignments can result in the ultimate imbalance—dizziness or vertigo. “This sensation of spinning can be profoundly debilitating, make it hard to walk in a straight line or even stand up,” he explains.

And he has a unique perspective on this issue—both as patient and clinician. “Four years ago,” he recalls, “my wife and I attended a birthing class for my first daughter. It was very crowded, so I gave the last seat to my wife and sat on the floor.

Free Posture Assessment

“A posture assessment,” says Dr. Ballam, “is an invaluable tool in chiropractic care. For children, even if no imbalances are detected, it provides a baseline against which to evaluate future problems. For adults, it can help identify problems and risks. This is espec-ially true for active seniors who are typically at greater risk of falling. This is why,” he says, “we offer a free digital posture assess-ment and free consultation to assess imbalances and risks.”

To schedule a free initial consultation and posture assessment, call:
(919) 363-2277.

“Because of where I was sitting, I spent the entire two-hour class twisting and looking over my shoulder. I went to bed feeling fine. But when I woke the next morning, the room was spinning. I couldn’t get upright and walk to the bathroom without staggering into a wall. I knew immediately, ‘this is vertigo.’ But—except for going on a Tilt-A-Whirl type ride—I had never felt like that before. And I knew that the first thing to do was get my spine checked.”

Fortunately, Dr. Ballam’s own chiropractor used the Gonstead method to determine that one of the bones in his neck had gotten stuck out of position. In his case, the misalignment—which stemmed from his unusual posture during the class—had affected his proprioception, which is the sense of where one’s body is in space. One adjustment quickly brought relief from vertigo and the room stopped spinning.

All the joints have proprioceptors to help sense load-bearing weight and relay messages to the brain and spinal cord, Dr. Ballam explains. Thus, an adjustment in a joint like the ankle can help improve mobility of the feet, which helps those balance receptors correctly sense movement and provide ungarbled information to the brain.

Understanding Movement Imbalances

Dr. Ballam’s goal—by focusing on isolating the source of a problem—is to identify imbalances before they snowball into bigger issues. His starting place is a full assessment including a posture evaluation and movement analysis. “I always  watch patients walk, which is one of the best ways to assess their posture and alignment issues,” he explains. “I want to make sure they are picking up their feet when they walk. Are they shuffling? Are they bringing both feet forward the same amount when they step? Such movements reveal imbalances, leaving the patient more vulnerable to a fall or an injury.”

Dr. Ballam points to our sedentary, tech-centric lifestyle as one impediment to balance and natural alignment. “For a great many people, a typical day is spent sitting in front of a computer screen, then sitting in a car, and then, at home, sitting down to dinner or in front of a laptop or TV. This is a lifestyle at odds with a body that’s designed to move, not sit!

“And the real problem,” he continues, “is that our bodies adapt to the new sitting culture. Our spines move into positions that—while more comfortable for screen viewing—aren’t comfortable when we want to move naturally. The same body that adapts to the computer screen runs into problems when we engage in normal movement such as walking or running. And it can be a real problem for the weekend athlete who’s spent the work week hunched over a computer.”

Dr. Ballam urges balance in movement throughout the day to forestall future issues. “Most people should, at the end of every hour, stand up and stretch. You’re basically just taking all the joints of your body that had been stuck in that hunched flexion pose, and you’re opening them all back up so that they don’t get stuck in that sort of posture. The goal is to extend the spine—thus telling your body that it’s okay to sit, but it’s also okay to stand, and reminding your body that correct posture—standing upright, being extended, touching the sky—that’s normal movement, too.” (see photos, above)