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Spine Health: Have You Brushed and Flossed Your Spine Today?

Dr. Jason Meagrow, PT, DPT

Physical Therapist

Robinet Physical Therapy

  I have to admit, I am not always great at brushing my teeth twice a day and I’m definitely not good at flossing every day.  I am honest with my dentist about it and I appreciate that they don’t shame me about it.  Maybe it’s because I’m blessed with good teeth and don’t generally have dental problems.  Despite being lucky with my dental genetics, I still brush, floss (sometimes), and see my dentist every 6 months.

  So why don’t we think of the rest of the body the same way we think about our teeth?  Our spine is made up of bones called vertebrae. Both bones and teeth get their strength from calcium.  Our muscles around our spine are made up of connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels just like our teeth are.  Our teeth are important to us for eating, speaking, facial expressions, and give structure to our face.  Our spine and spinal muscles are responsible for our whole body structure, posture, and every function that involves movement including arms and our legs.  Both the vertebrae, spinal muscles, and teeth are subject to degeneration, overuse, or traumatic injury. 

  In some ways, you can still function without your teeth.  In contrast, functioning without your spine causes major limitations in the body.  Without a working spine, bending, twisting, turning our head to see objects, lifting, sleeping, walking, and even remaining still can become difficult.  So why would we not give regular care to our spine?  I love to see the light bulbs go off in my patient’s heads when I present the question this way.

  There are many reasons why we don’t give regular care to our spines.  Some reasons include; insurance coverage or cost, knowledge, and education of how to care for our spine, or sometimes it’s just fear of doing the wrong thing or making things worse.  Some of us just have a hard time being proactive about our health.  Many of us have thought to ourselves “if it doesn’t hurt or if it isn’t causing a problem, then why should I spend time on my health?”.  Well, do you wait until you need to have a cavity filled or a root canal was done until you start brushing and flossing your teeth?  Without regular care for our spine, we are just waiting for an injury, or maybe even an operation to motivate attention to our spine.

  Unfortunately, most of the time when I am having this discussion, it’s with a patient who has already encountered a spine injury.  There are many conditions physical therapists treat related to spine health; degenerative disk disease, arthritis, disk herniations, disk bulges, sprains, strains, fractures, scoliosis, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, sciatica, nerve impingement, and many more.  All these things can have successful outcomes with physical therapy treatment.  I speak for most of my patients when I say, they wished someone would have told them to start brushing and flossing their spine before they got injured.  Once I teach them the signs and signals the spine needs attention, good daily spine habits, helpful movements, and spinal exercises, they then learn it’s not much harder than daily brushing and flossing.

  As physical therapists at Robinet PT, we are trained to assess the spine with almost all conditions we see.  It’s that important to the functions of the body and is often the cause behind injuries other than in the spine.  We are capable of listening to our patient’s concerns, watching someone move, testing the body and spine, treating the spinal limitations, then re-testing to look for the expected improvement.  By doing this we can identify both the root cause of your spinal limitation, even before it manifests itself as an injury.  We can teach you how to take care of your spine to recover from your injuries, decrease chances of re-injury, and learn how to prevent injury in the first place.  After learning how to “brush and floss” your spine, we can set up check-up appointments to make sure your spine stays healthy and identify areas of concern.  We can be your dentists for your spine health.

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Physical Therapy Success Stories

I came to Robinet for therapy to strengthen my pelvic floor after my hysterectomy. I received a very helpful evaluation and understanding of my condition as well as the exercises and review of my progress to put me on the path to get stronger and feel more confident in my daily activities. I couldn't be more pleased with how effective this therapy has been.
- Pelvic Health and Healing Patient Review, January 2018
Was dealing with a lingering ankle issue and Jason and his team got me back better than ever. I've tried a few other places and I highly recommend these guys.
- Facebook Review (5 Star), March 2018
Sydney was welcoming and easy to talk to. I came in with a few different issues and she quickly discovered that they were all connected, addressed the issues and gave me exercises to help improve. I feel stronger and more comfortable and more capable in my daily life.
- Patient Review, January 2018
I have been going to RobinetPT for several years for injuries, maintenance during Ironman training and post–surgical rehabilitation. I am amazed at the level of knowledge and drive to truly find the root cause of injuries rather than simply treat symptoms
- Patient Review, January 2018
My orthopedic surgeon said my only option was a shoulder replacement. Jason Robinet, Jason Meagrow and Sydney Savage found ways to retrain the muscles around my shoulder deficiencies. It continues to strengthen with exercise, even after therapy.
- Google Review (5 Star), March 2018
My daughter and I have received the most personalized, helpful care at Robinet. I had been seeing a chiropractor for a year for chronic neck pain and after a few weeks of treatments, I found relief and have felt much improved over the last year.
– Google Review (5 Star), March 2018
My daughter experienced shin pain and a sprained ankle due to sports. Jason got her back into shape as soon as possible without risking her long term health or further injury. Karen has been super helpful fitting us in and helping us with follow up visits. We highly recommend Robinet.
– Google Review (5 Star), March 2018
I suffered from pelvic floor dysfunction and recurrent SI joint pain. Prior to physical therapy with Barb I had difficulty voiding and constant pressure in my lower pelvis. Sports and physical activity were painful. But since therapy and the addition of strengthening exercises, this has all greatly improved.
- Patient Review, January 2018
Friendly therapists, all knowledgeable in the process, comfortable environment. Easy on/off highway. I drove from Hudsonville because one of the doctors I work with recommended them and goes here as well. Goals reached and discharged in approximately 10 visits, I no longer have hip pain when walking.
– Google Review (5 Star), March 2018
Great information provided at every visit.
– Google Review (5 Star), February 2018

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