By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
During the past school year, Dr. Ben Grams, who owns Health Source Chiropractic and Progressive Rehabilitation on West Broadway in Little Falls, has been teaching the young people of the community about spinal health.
“Over time, falls, bumps, poor posture and more takes its toll and may lead to a crisis. Those problems will get worse and worse as time goes on. The problems accumulate which will affect life,” he said.
Grams has been speaking with students at Dr. S.G. Knight and Lincoln elementary schools as well as the Little Falls Community Middle School. He is teaching them the importance of spinal health and being aware of how they sit, walk, sleep and more. The students are learning they have a spine, that it’s precious and that it must be taken care of with both good posture and nutrition.
“A healthy spine is something that must be maintained from birth. It is part of a complete wellness program,” he said. “You cannot be well with a sick spine, just like you cannot be well with a poor diet or not exercising. It is an essential part of living a wellness lifestyle.”
Grams said that cognitive development is improved when spinal joints function properly. If a child’s spine is in alignment and functioning well, it will remain as such as he or she ages. Taking care of a child’s spine now will ensure it will take care of them later.
Grams began with teaching the students that the purpose of the spine is to protect the nervous system. He explained that good posture while sitting, sleeping and walking is crucial to a healthy system.
The students were shown that they should sit with their head back, chin slightly tucked and that would help maintain the natural curve of the back, supporting the spine.
While erect, a person needs to stand upright with their shoulders back. While sleeping, lying on one’s back is the best position, with a pillow placed under the knees.
“The lifting of the leg decompresses the spinal joints,” Grams said.
If sleeping on one’s back is not an option, sleeping on one’s side is the next best position for the spine, said Grams.
“If sleeping on your side is more comfortable, put a pillow between your knees,” he said.
What impressed Grams was the open mindedness of the teachers and administration and their genuine enthusiasm for their students.
“We need to talk about the whole child and keep the students aware of their bodies,” said Supt. Stephen Jones. “People are the masters of their bodies.”
Jones learned from Grams that if spinal health is poor, it decreases the ability to learn. The district staff has also become more aware of posture and its link to better academics.
“I am interested in alleviating the problem,” Jones said.
Grams said poor spinal health puts the body in a state of stress and that stress releases hormones which reduce the ability to concentrate and learn. Proper alignment is crucial.
Grams was struck with the importance of children’s spinal hygiene when he examined a 28-year-old and found spinal decay
“I realized her spinal health problems began about 15 years prior, when she was a teen,” he said. “Teaching our children about good spinal health is crucial because what they don’t know about their bodies now can end up hurting them later.”
For more information, contact Grams at (320) 632-9224.