Heal your spine and heal your life

Last week, we discussed how much the position, shape and tone of our spinal cord and posture will match the tone, tension, and shape of our lives. Trauma, stress, and other life-shaping events happen, and we change. Sometimes we change for the better – we grow. Sometimes we change to survive, to protect, to stay safe – we put on armor.

Just like in battle, armor creates stability and safety.

This armored identity or spinal “sense of self” stabilizes our health by sustaining certain energy levels, certain tension levels in the muscles and ligaments, and certain emotional biochemistry (molecules of emotion, as Bruce Lipton, PhD calls them). Tight muscles and ligaments stabilize the bones, tissues, organs, and nerves at a certain level… even if it’s not in a great place, it’s better than the WORST place. We know who we are and what to expect.

This is a useful short-term strategy and a painful, energy sucking long-term strategy.

In creating this stable, certain spinal sense of self using the protective branch of our nervous system, it also prevents us from moving forward to actually heal.  Our nerve system can either protect against pain (sympathetic nervous system aka fight/flight) OR heal and grow (parasympathetic nervous system aka rest, digest, and reproduce). They are two different directions with two different outcomes. Staying stuck in Sympathetic nervous system requires a great amount of energy, and doesn't allow for natural rhythms of rest and repair.

As such, when this spinal sense of self is challenged, the protection nerves send fight (anger) or flight (fear) signals and create symptoms as we start doing something contrary to who our spine says we CAN be. “Stay within the lines. The lines are our friends. Terrrible things can happen outside of the lines!" 

Each spinal sense of self serves us for a period of time. If we get “stuck” in one, or if that part of us doesn’t function properly, it causes problems. When this happens, it starts to hurt as we outgrow an old suit of spinal armor that no longer fits.

This shows up as physical pain, anxiety, emotional reactivity, digestive challenges, sleep issues, or any of the other Secondary Conditions to an underlying NeuroSpinal Dysfunction… and usually when we’re not doing anything different than usual.

At this stage of healing, I often hear people say, “I don’t get it doc, I was just doing what I always do! Why is my body betraying me?

What we’ve always done is EXACTLY why we’re hurting. We’ve outgrown the old and MUST make room for the true.  As Donny Epstein says, “If you’re living someone else’s life, it’s supposed to hurt.”

Like a crab sheds its shell when it grows too big, we too must we shed our spinal attachment to an outdated or dysfunctional sense of self, or we risk becoming crushed by it as we continue to grow.

To do this, you must update your spine to make room.

As you progress through the process of optimizing your brain and spine through Network Spinal care, there is a point where – in order to actually heal and resolve the underlying process behind our problems – we break through those hardwired neurospinal masks, the spinal identities that no longer fit and, ultimately, were never really us in the first place.

We call this part of the process Level 2B, when a powerful “wave” of movement and energy moves through the stuck or “subluxated” regions of the spine that are anchored in to these old patterns. 

These processes invite periods of instability, when we are “off center” and thus more open to radical changes… because stepping past the illusion of our hardwired defensive identity don’t happen with a slow and gradual process. That gives it too much time to strategize and entrench itself. Rather, transformation is a thunderbolt, a radical shift, a seismic event that happens in an instant. Rather than muting the instability, we dare to dive into the waves of uncertainty.

Like a baby bird, we’re pushed from the branch… and we realize that we can fly.

In order to heal – not just manage a painful or stuck situation – we MUST break our addiction to stability and certainty, to an outdated suit of armor.

The counterintuitive part of it all is that, as we shift our function and focus from who we were, we naturally and healthily become who we are. This is one of the classic outcomes of Level 2 in Network Spinal Analysis – liberation of the Undefended Self.

A healthy spine and nervous system that have been optimized to be who you TRULY ARE, even in stressful situations, to be present, loving, and real when life turns up the volume, is a magical thing.


A healthy spinal sense of self supports knowing who you are, why you’re here, and what you’re made of. To joyfully lose yourself in service, you must have a healthy self to deliver that service.

Find your spine, find yourself.

Change your spine, change yourself.

Free your spine, free your self.


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    Dr. Sheena grew up in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota and completed her undergraduate studies in Architecture, Chemistry, and Sustainability at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.