Preparing For War

Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.

                                                   -Sun Tsu, The Art of War


Disclaimer: The conflict in the Middle East is serious business. This post is in no way an attempt to compare or capitalize on that engagement. This post is a metaphor about the very personal challenges we can expect to see in the coming months.

Later this year, my family will be enjoying an active Halloween celebration. After that, we will probably travel with three small children to Tuscaloosa or Wetumpka for Thanksgiving, making a few extra stops to visit along the way. And once that’s done, preparations for Christmas will begin with shopping and travel (or hosting) times with loved ones. All along there will be sugary sweets, rich food, long travel times, disrupted schedules, strange beds, very little rest, and lots and lots of stress.

Maybe this sounds a bit familiar. You may travel farther or host bigger. Or perhaps you struggle with being alone. Maybe your loved ones are not getting along, which can add to your own anxiety.

Here in Alabama, we can also add nearly every Saturday in between to the list. We tend to get worked up over some college boys in ridiculous outfits trying to steal a $10 torpedo-shaped ball from another equally silly looking group. Part of this ritual includes sausage, chicken wings, cheez curlz. And of course, smack talk. Roll Tide/War Eagle.

Fall is football season, holiday season, and flu season. It’s no wonder that people struggle with their health throughout. Every year I see people start dropping like flies the week after Halloween (and the requisite sugar overload). As people get sick, they tend to turn to any and every thing they can to try to maintain some semblance of function in the midst of so much activity. To make matters worse, even if you follow the strategy revealed in this article, the sheer volume of people in your environment that are actively sick and contagious will further tax your ability to resist.

It is a war you prepare for. The battle is for your health and happiness. Fighting this war will, and I emphasize, WILL, sap your strength and ability to resist. It is not hopeless though. You have the luxury of time right now to prepare for this war, to store up reserves, and give yourself every advantage to resist, bounce back, and most importantly enjoy the festivities of life!

Here is the strategy: your immune system is a defensive system. It must be well prepared if you expect it to perform well. How do you prepare an immune system?

Do the things you would ordinarily do to bounce back from an illness. I trust you have found strategies that work for you. This can be as simple as mindful eating. When we get colds, we profit from nutrient rich foods, like chicken soup. Healthy or sick, we benefit when we ensure adequate rest and hydration. Another huge component is an attitude of hope and faith. Individually, each of these strategies will help. Together these components synergize to even greater effect.

Tying these strategies all together is the ability of your body to receive, process, and assimilate their yield effectively. All of this happens through and by the nervous system. Interference at this level (via vertebral subluxation) will handicap all of your other efforts, even if you aren’t aware of it at the time. The structural and functional relationships between the central nervous system and the spine are well established. You cannot experience optimum performance at any endeavor, including immunity and resistance with vertebral subluxation affecting your master control system. For those who want the best opportunity to survive, thrive, and enjoy this upcoming season, a chiropractic check-up is in order.


Let me touch on the flu shot for a moment. Whether you choose to get one or you choose to decline, the strategy above will benefit you. The flu shot, if it’s to be effective, relies on a healthy immune system. If you are like me, and choose to forego the shot, you will also be relying on a healthy immune system.

My hope is that everyone spends this the time between now and Halloween making sure that you’ve done all you can do to ensure a healthy, happy holiday season and set yourself up to step into the new year on a high note. Does it seem a little early to be thinking that far ahead?

Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought.

Be the victorious General. Be Your Best!



Are You Sticking Your Neck Out?

Your desk chair, steering wheel, and smart phone are trying to kill you.

Did your mom nag you about your posture like mine did? Turns out she was right! Deviations from normal posture can and will impair normal, healthy function in your body. Here’s how:

The Architect of the human body may have shared the basic design with many other creatures, but in mankind, the structure turned upright. This freed those front legs to do other things like create masterpieces of engineering, or change the TV channel with the remote. Standing upright requires the spine to support the weight of everything above the hips, roughly half your body weight.

As adults, we don’t usually think too much about the balance of standing. It took a long time to get there, though. What takes some four-legged creatures just a few minutes to learn, typically takes a human one year to accomplish and several years more to master. The neurology of standing and moving upright is many times more complicated than being on all fours.

Situated at the very top of your body is your head. It has a specific center of gravity that is easy to see. From the front, the head should rest in the middle between the shoulders. From the side, the ear hole should be located directly above the middle of the shoulder.

The most significant and common deviation I see in practice, is the head moving forward of this position. It’s called Forward Head Posture (FHP). This posture is associated with arthritic spinal degeneration, a narrowing of the spinal cord canal which is called stenosis, disc herniation, loss of spinal curves, vertebral subluxation, headache, loss of range of motion, and other issues. Additionally, as the head moves forward, the leverage to cause damage increases.


These changes aren’t limited to the biomechanical. The main trunk of the brain-body connection, better known as the spinal cord, runs right through there. Postural distortions affect neurological function both directly and indirectly. When you disturb neurological function, you necessarily disturb the body’s ability to heal and regulate.

Any activity that juts the head forward encourages this posture. Desk posture, driving posture, mobile device posture, TV watching posture, even book reading posture encourages FHP. Very few activities specifically counteract it. Look around. How many people will you see today with FHP? All of them are at increased risk for accelerated wear and tear, premature aging, and a host of health complications.

Even if we could, simply eliminating FHP promoting activities wouldn’t reverse the damage. Activities including core-strengthening and flexibility are helpful in supporting proper posture and may help reduce some of the effects. The key to it all is a properly aligned and functioning spine. Nobody is better at helping you achieve that than your friendly neighborhood chiropractor.

Is It Plugged In?

Yesterday I saw this error message on my computer.

 No VGA Cable

After a quick check of the cables, I figured 2003 had finally called and wanted its video card back. The cooling fan on the card has been acting up for a while and I really expected it to go any time. Luckily, I had a spare and took the few minutes the swap it out. Then…

No VGA Cable

*sigh of defeat* <I’m not usually this fast on the frustration trigger. Earlier, I had spent the better part of an hour coaxing a stubborn brake drum off. It’s supposed to just slide off…>

A less quick recheck showed that one cable wasn’t completely plugged into the monitor. It looked attached at a glance, but it wasn’t. The actual fix merely required one second. My three-year-old could have literally done it.

It didn’t matter how many parts I swapped out, or how many times I rebooted. What mattered was that the signal could get all the way through.

<I wonder, how many kids learn to cuss while helping dad fix stuff?>

An intact nervous system will lead to optimum function

Your body works that way too. Who’s checking your signal to make sure it’s at 100%? Maybe you should have that checked before you put stuff in you don’t need or take stuff out that works just fine. If only someone with the right perspective could make a small adjustment and restore the connection. I’m the someone.

Robert Johns is a chiropractor with a practice in Mt. Laurel, AL, serving the Greater Birmingham, AL area. Feel free to contact him for more information on how chiropractic can help you find out if you’re fully “plugged in.”