It wasn’t that long ago that I had little appreciation for how important our bite is to our posture. A little over a year and a half ago I helped a patient of a local dentist and the relationship that developed because of that first appointment forever changed how I view “occlusion”. Occlusion refers to the way in which our teeth come together when we bite down.
This particular patient had been struggling with a chronic neck problem in which her head was always turned to the right. She had been to many different healthcare practitioners, including many of the most respected local specialists. She had even travelled to the US to have a certain kind of injection procedure that wasn’t available here in Canada.
When I saw her I realized that she had a massive alignment problem with her pelvis. It was surprising how quickly and easily her pelvic position returned to a more neutral position, with a little therapeutic effort. I told her that based upon how easy it all had seemed, she would wake up the following day either feeling fantastic, or feeling as if she had been hit by a truck. Thankfully it ended up being the former, not the latter! The therapy session had taken place on a Saturday. Early the next morning I received a message from her saying that she felt fantastic! One hour later I got an email from Dr. Curtis Westersund DDS. Dr. Westersund had also received a message earlier that morning and heard about our initial success.
We exchanged excited emails and met with a mutual colleague three days later. We’ve been actively collaborating with patients ever since. As a result, I have learned a lot about bite and its impact on the rest of the body over the past year and a half. The bulk of that from Dr. Westersund. However, once again the Diers 4D Formetric scanner has recently added a whole new dimension to my education! Look at this!
These are two scans done at the beginning and end of a discovery session. No therapy was performed between the scans. The time between the scans was taken up with an interview and assessment process. The first scan was done with the patient not wearing her custom dental orthotic and the second scan was done while she was wearing her orthotic. Think about that for a second. Her spine is visibly straighter because of a piece of custom made plastic in her mouth! Not only are her teeth under less stress and her jaw in a more neutral position, but her entire spine and pelvic position are altered! Almost every single alignment metric noted on the left hand side of the scan comparison page is improved. Her pelvis is more horizontally aligned. The two sides of her pelvis are still rotated too far forward, in fact more forward that before, but more importantly the two sides are more symmetrical! The curve of her lower back is even closer to the normal range. Amazing. If that isn’t enough for you,… how about this?
This is a weightbearing scan we do simultaneously with the scan of the spine. The image on the left is without the dental orthotic and the one on the right is the one with the orthotic. We want to see 30% of her bodyweight in each heel and 20% in each forefoot. As you can see, although the spinal and pelvic alignment improved virtually across the board with the addition of the dental orthotic, the same cannot be said about her weightbearing. She is tending to be light in her left heel and the orthotic only accentuated that tendency. That may simply be due to the fact that her entire pelvis rotated further forward, shifting more of her weight onto her forefeet. This is a perfect illustration of how the body is amazingly complex and biomechanically interconnected. Nothing about the body is one dimensional and treating it that way will end in disappointment and frustration. In the words of Dr. Curtis Westersund, “connected from teeth to toes”. To win at this game you don’t need an amazing therapist, you need an amazing team of experts. Thankfully at Dakin Rehab we are part of such a team.
Contact us for your complimentary Discovery Session and find out if the Alignment First Protocol © is right for you. Let’s get you your life back!
Yours in health,
Geoff Dakin BPE RMT
Calgary Registered Massage Therapist
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