ADVERTISING: Advertorial — DR. WAYNE M. FICHTER: Are you shrinking?

Print Article

Who wants to shrink? But unfortunately, itís a normal part of aging if you live long enough. Here are a few things to know about shrinkage and what you may be able to do to help it.

Of course, estimates vary, but on average we lose between a quarter to a half an inch every decade after age 40, and women generally lose more than men.

The main reason people lose height is that the discs between the vertebrae in the spine dehydrate and compress. Letís look at the anatomy and function of a vertebral disc to better understand how this happens. An intervertebral discís job is to keep the vertebrae separated and act like a shock absorber. There are 24 discs that make up the human spine. Think of a jelly donut when you think of a disc. The outer ring of the disc is made of a strong material called the annulus fibrosis. This protects a jelly-like substance inside the disc called the nucleus pulposus. The disc is about 80 percent water and as a person ages, the disc dries out. So when a disc is dehydrated, or desiccated as it is called, it losses function and height. This is called degenerative disc disease. Other factors can contribute to overall height loss, including the loss of the proper curves of our spine and compression fractures due to reduced bone density, as well as weak muscles in the abdomen.

A majority of this is out of your control but even in later years, you may be able to slow this process by taking steps that will help your bones and muscles. Proper exercise is critical. A study published in Gerontology found that people who did moderate aerobic exercise throughout their lives shrank less than those who were sedentary all their lives or who stopped exercising after age 40. Of course, consuming supplements to promote strong and healthy bones are great places to start. One of the most helpful things you can do is to not smoke cigarettes; this will increase the amount of oxygen in your body which helps your body to heal. But there are other options out there.

Luckily, we have advances in new technology to aid in this old-age problem. Non-surgical spinal decompression has been shown to increase disc height. A study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders showed that ďnon-surgical spinal decompression was associated with a reduction in pain and an increase in disc height. The correlation of these variables suggests that pain reduction may be mediated, at least in part, through a restoration of disc height.Ē

Nonsurgical spinal decompression is similar to traction, but unlike traction, decompression pulls and then releases pressure before pulling again. This change in force creates a negative pressure within the disc. This negative pressure helps promote movement of water, oxygen and nutrient-rich fluids into the disks so they can heal and rehydrate, thus restoring disc height. Another positive result is that your bulging or herniated disks may retract, taking pressure off nerves, thus relieving pain.

• ē ē

Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr. is a chiropractor at Natural Spine Solutions. The business is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur díAlene, 208-966-4425.

Print Article

Read More Healthy Community

ADVERTISING: Advertorial ó DR. WAYNE M. FICHTER: Are your thoughts causing you pain?

August 21, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press You might not realize this, but our emotional and physical health are connected. It doesnít matter what the emotion is, our bodies have a physical response to our thoughts, how we feel and act. Posit...

Comments

Read More

ADVERTISING: Advertorial ó GEORGE BALLING: Most requested part 2: Sauvignon Blanc

August 21, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press As much as any other varietal, Sauvignon Blanc has specific ďcampsĒ that consumers fall into. There are those of us who prefer the super high acid and somewhat green-noted wines from places like New ...

Comments

Read More

ADVERTISING: Advertorial ó HOLLY CARLING: Protecting Our Children Through Food

August 21, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press I donít think Iíve ever encountered a parent who wasnít concerned about their childrenís health, and more especially, that they are feeding their kids the right foods. Feeding our children the correc...

Comments

Read More

ADVERTISING: Advertorial ó GEORGE BALLING: Most requested

August 14, 2019 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Recommendation columns are always a bit tricky. Write them too often, and customers lose interest. Write them too much from our own perspective, and we risk losing part of our audience. After all, ta...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2019 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X