BY EMMALY WIEDERHOLT
Dr. Stephen Pruden has been in chiropractic practice for 30 years and has offices in Manhattan and Long Island, New York. It is a family practice that features sports care, particularly for dancers, runners and golfers. The practice also uses a multi-disciplinary approach incorporating acupuncture, nutrition, naturopath and the medical arts. I contacted him to learn more about how chiropractic can provide balance and care.
Emmaly Wiederholt: What sorts of stress (both physical and psychological) do you see most often in your patients?
Dr. Stephen Pruden: The most common physical stresses are repetitive in origin in that they wear on the same body parts over and over. They tend to adversely affect posture, making every physical task more difficult than it has to be, starting with standing. For some this is a sedentary problem, which often leads to back and neck pain, and for others this may be repetitive impact on feet, legs and hips, as with a dancer or someone who stands on a sales floor all day.
The psychological stress I see most frequently seems to be from our insistence on trying to do too many tasks in a single day. This time stress leads to poor food choices and a frequent dehydrated state that taxes the adrenal glands and is worsened by a lack of quality sleep.
EW: Does chiropractic care help remedy these stresses, and, if so can you elaborate?
SP: Effective chiropractic care needs to go beyond the spinal aspect of musculoskeletal care and look at balancing the whole body. Failure to balance the feet and gait abnormalities will undermine the best efforts to correct a back or pelvic problem. Also, the doctor must realize that these imbalances have likely caused the head to tilt effecting the neck and jaw. Of course, the addition of nutritional counseling, supportive stretches and exercises, and lifestyle changes, like ergodynamics of the work place or a better sleep posture, are all essential to the alleviation of the stress.
EW: How do you personally navigate between work and care?
SP: The work has quite a bit of physical demand for which I must remain fit. I have to “walk the walk”, stretching, exercising, and getting the right nutrition so that the work is enjoyable and not creating my own repetitive injuries to the back or wrists. Fortunately, the interaction with patients and their extended families and friends is very social and I find that enjoyable, softening the demands of a long day. I also need to seek the help of other practitioners on my own behalf. Of course some fun with my family helps the balance immensely.
EW: What does well-being look like?
SP: Well-being is an ease with which one can stand and move in a balanced, almost effortless way using the least amount of energy to stand, sit or walk. It’s the ability to recover from an upsetting situation rather quickly or the ability to sleep deeply enough to awake refreshed from a physically demanding day. The physical and psychological are always entwined and they must both be looked after to create well-being.
For more information on Dr. Stephen Pruden’s practice, visit www.drpruden.com.
Drawing by Maggie Stack