Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on The Edge website.
The title of this article begs the question: Do I really need to know how to stay young for 100 years?
This sounds a bit optimistic! But given the facts, it makes sense to start thinking about why longevity of health should be a goal for us all to consider.
In 1900, the average life span was 49 years old. With less comprehensive health care and fewer cures, the chances of living a long, healthy life was the exception, not the rule. By comparison, the average life span today is 77.6 years and growing.
Scientists from the University of Texas report that by the year 2050 there will be over 800,000 Americans over the age of 100 and many will be living to 150! What does that mean?
It means your kids need to know more about how to stay young in their first century of life than they need to wonder how they are going to spend their inheritance — because you are probably going to live long enough that they may be retired themselves before they inherit anything.
So, if more people are going to live for more than 100 years, don’t we want this longevity to be defined by its quality?
Because we now have a sizable group of baby boomers moving into the 60+ phase of life, it’s apparent what the effects of long life can be in large numbers. Long life reveals that we, as a country, will have some major areas of health concern after 50 if we don’t do something before 50 to prevent these problems.
These are problematic areas that we have never seen before, because we haven’t had such large numbers reaching such an advanced age. For example, we are now confronted with the devastation of mental diseases like Alzheimer’s.
This disease didn’t just start happening recently; we just see it a lot more because dementia doesn’t usually occur until a person is 70 or older. Now that we realize that the chances are much greater that we will reach this age, we need to take precautions to ensure we have our full mental faculties when we arrive at 70.
The most overlooked challenges that come with increased life span are musculoskeletal disabilities and the resulting mobility function or lack thereof.
The odds of living past age 80 have increased, but our daily activities have not decreased. How we take care of our spines is all the more important, given the fact that the most common cause of functional disabilities in older people are spinal disorders.
If your house was going to be broken into and a thief was going to steal all of your possessions — but I knew who it was and what time they were going to do it and I told you about it — would you do something to stop it?
What I can tell you is what is most likely to rob you of your functional capacities over time and when it is going to happen. Just as you would prevent someone from breaking into your home if you could, doesn’t it make sense to prevent your health and ability to function from being taken away?
Think about it: If we lose our mobility at 65 and live to 105, that is 40 years of immobility and pain.
People think of skin care as a primary antidote to aging. In fact, there has been a 465 percent increase in the number of people in the U.S. wanting to get rid of wrinkles just since 1997!
Over 12 million people had cosmetic surgeries last year to reduce facial signs of aging. But I think all of us can agree, if you can’t move, a lack of mobility will make you look a lot older than crow’s feet!
If our spine were on our face, we would take better care of it. Most people don’t wait until their teeth fall out before they go to the dentist, and similarly, we must not wait till our backs “go out” before we take care of them, too.
You take preventive steps to have pearly whites and you must take preventive steps to have good mobility, since the chances are great that you will live for 30 to 40 years past the age of 50.
Back mobility isn’t the only issue. One in three people over 50 years of age suffers with neck pain.
On a mobility scale, you reach your maximum mobility at about age 23. The average person loses 50 percent of this amount of mobility by age 50. By the time we are 60, we have about 2 percent of the mobility we had when we were 23.
Now the big question is: Can this scale be changed? Do we have to accept this as just the way it is or can we alter the results?
The good news is that with preventive care we can make a big improvement in how mobile we stay into our later years. Your mobility can actually be held at 75 percent through the age of 80 years.
You may be thinking, “This may be the perfect thing to do if you are young, but what about those of us who are already in pain? What if we are already past 50? Is it too late to start?” Absolutely not! It’s never too late to improve your health.
Taking the steps
The first thing you need to do is let go of the belief that you only take care of your spine and joints if you are in pain. Or that when you get out of pain, you no longer need medical or chiropractic treatments. If you drop out of care after pain relief, you are never going to change the results of your mobility scale.
Pain is always the last symptom to manifest and is usually the first to be alleviated. The only way you can improve your mobility rate is to follow all three phases of recommended care.
The first phase is the pain relief stage. The origin of most back pain and related health problems are subluxations, the misalignment of the vertebrae that causes nerve interference and pinching, which can impact many organs of the body.
Picture this: If you have ever hooked up a garden hose and turned on the water, it works perfectly unless there is a twist or kink in the hose. If the hose has gotten twisted, it stops the flow of water that should be going through the hose. We might call that a subluxation of the hose.
In other words, the misalignment of your spine is causing nerve interference and is stopping the flow of messages from the nerves to the other organs or body parts, causing back pain and a lot of physical ailments. When the nerve interference is removed, the nerve flow is restored and so is your health.
Such nerve interference is removed through a series of spinal adjustments. The adjustment gradually moves your spine back into alignment and away from the nerve, allowing the body to heal itself.
There is a reason why you must not stop with your care after you get out of pain. Your spine has actually been misaligned for a long time and your body has now accepted that misalignment as being correct.
Now, the body, muscles and spine must be retrained. The spine must remain in a proper position for a long enough time for the body to accept the new alignment as the norm.
This stabilization is the second step of care. Unless the spine and joints are retrained with adjustments and kept in the proper position for a longer period of time, your body will pull your spine right back into the misaligned condition.
Just as it takes time at the gym to get in shape, it is going to take some time to get your musculoskeletal system stabilized.
Once we have reached this stabilized condition, we will dismiss you from active care and move you to the third phase of your recovery: preventive or maintenance care. This is where we enable you to change that mobility scale and make a difference in the quality of your life.
This stage will not require a lot of time or money — it will be simple and affordable, but at the same time the dividends you are paid in improved health make it well worth the effort.
Preventive care is essential to maintain your mobility over time. And mobility is the first and foremost way to stay young your first 100 years.
Besides your own spinal health, what about caring for your family? You should know that it is never too soon to start such care. In fact, even a newborn child has already experienced great trauma to the spine during childbirth.
When you think about the tremendous pressure that is put on their neck and spine during the birthing process, you can see we actually start our lives with untreated subluxation problems.
It’s also never too late to start spinal care. It’s one of the best investments you can make for a parent in their retirement years so they can continue to painlessly move with ease.
— Written by Una Forde