This can be a touchy subject. I can only tell you the way I see things and fill you in on some of my experiences over the last 13 years and hopefully not upset too many people on either side of the issue. Here goes nothing.Although the medical/chiropractic relationship has progressed in the last 5 years, why do you think medical doctors have tended to lean away from the chiropractic profession for so many years? Is it because they're tired of us taking money from their pockets and see us as a threat? Or because they don't want us to become the top dog? I don't think that has anything to do with it at all. I think, like any profession, a few bad seeds have a tendency to spoil the whole bowl.You may not believe this, but I know some very good and, yes, very respectable attorneys. But, we're taught and told that they are ALL bad when, of course, we know they are not. Some will go the extra mile to make sure that they help you. Some build a relationship with their clients. And, yes, some even care about their clients and their well-being.I view chiropractic much in the same way. I think medical doctors have leaned away from our profession as a whole because they have had experiences with patients that told them about their chiropractor claiming that they could cure their cancer. Or that they could cure their gall bladder issues. Things of that nature. Here is where it gets touchy. I am a musculoskeletal chiropractor so you could say that I lean away from claims like that too. Add the factor that it would not be a stretch to imagine a scenario where a cancer patient puts their faith in a well-meaning chiropractor only to wait too long for conventional medical treatment to be of any effect. That patient's battle may be lost by then. That is the part that the medical field gets to see. While it is true that more medicines kill people than chiropractors ever do any amount of harm to, I don't think that's a reason to shun all medication. As with most things in life, there are risks and rewards that should be weighed, and weighed again, before a solid decision can be made. In the scenario above, why not undergo conventional therapy AND chiropractic if you have that faith in your chiropractor's ability to treat your condition? Simply put, I believe the rift between chiropractors and the medical field comes from a perception that chiropractic, as a whole, tries to treat outside of their perceived scope of practice, thus leading patient's conditions to deteriorate needlessly.You should know that is just not true. Of course, it is true with some chiropractors which goes back to the "bad seeds ruining the whole bowl" discussion. Most people who talk down chiropractors have either had a singular bad experience with one of them and assume they are all the same or they heard something bad from their uncle's friend's niece. Or they have seen too many Chuck Norris movies and somehow relate his "neck moves" to those of chiropractors. Either way, the people that denigrate chiropractors have mostly never been to a chiropractor and are repeating non factual hearsay. I am a firm believer that there have been "bad seeds" in every profession from the beginning of time. In fact, I've experienced some "bad seeds" in the medical field now that I think about it.Think about it: if you were to have a fall or simply wake up with neck pain, what would be the better option? Would it be to suffer until it goes away with no idea of what is causing it or if it ever fully resolved? Would it be to go to the medical doctor and get pain killers and muscle relaxers that just throw a blanket over the symptom and do nothing to focus on the source? Or would it be to go to a reasonable, conservative chiropractor that can usually have you cleared up fairly quickly? I may be biased but I can tell you what I would be doing.Here's an example. I had a lady come to see me several years ago with severe headaches. Debilitating headaches. She had been through the medical gambit including, but not limited to, a nuclear bone scan and injections into the base of her skull. Nothing helped. She simply could not function. Truthfully, I had my doubts as to whether I could help. But, in two weeks, she had NO headaches whatsoever after having suffered with them for over five years. Though I have confidence in my abilities, I have to admit that we were both amazed given her treatment history. This is the part the medical field does not get to see. This is the powerful part. Now, if her medical doctor had offered chiropractic as a viable option in the beginning, she could have avoided some major medical bills and severely shortened her time of suffering. On the other end of that discussion, it's fair to say that the medical field ought to be able to depend on a chiropractor to be knowledgeable enough to know when his treatments are no longer helping and then refer the patient toPlease do not assume that I am taking up for the medical field here. The American Medical Association has initiated a lawsuit against the chiropractic profession as a whole here in Texas recently and you could say I am less than happy with the AMA. I'm sure they'll be losing sleep over it. Anyway, they have constantly tried to put chiropractors in THEIR box when our profession is completely separate from their box and should remain so. I'm just going to stop there and maybe pick this up on another blog.The question is, what kind of chiropractor do you seek? What does he do to find your issues? This can be as varied as the Texas Panhandle weather. Some do some very "different" types of things to try to narrow down what they think is wrong. I prefer the chiropractors that simply put their hands on you and feel their way to finding out what is wrong. But, in the end, it all comes down to the same thing: make things move, focus on structural integrity, and concern the patient with their overall wellness. Insight Chiropractic
When to Know You Need to See the Chiropractor
Insight Chiropractic Not all Chiropractors are the same. In order to pick the one that is best equipped to handle your specific issues, you first need to understand the different kind of healing methodologies practiced by chiropractors. Below we will explore the two main methodologies you need to understand to choose the best chiropractor:1. Relief/Maintenance Care: Both mixed and straight chiropractors practice relief. However, the straight doctor offers immediate relief, whereas the mixed doctor offers long term treatment plans. You've heard of people who have suffered for decades with back pain, then go to a chiropractor, and then come home happy as a clam, free from pain, right? Well, those people went to see a straight chiropractor. The doctor was able to relieve the pressure in the back, and provide instant relief. The downfall here is that in relief care, the results are often temporary. As chiropractors, aside from reform specialists, are not traditional doctors, they cannot prescribe medicines, nor can they do invasive surgeries. Thus, they cannot physically correct all types of disorders of the spinal cord. This is where the concept of 'maintenance' comes in. When a straight chiropractor provides care for a patient, they often refer them to a mixed specialist, who can provide a long term treatment plan. These professionals provide regular office visits to help maintain the proper alignment, and keep the pain from reoccurring.2. Corrective Care: In the corrective care methodology, the goal is to completely repair the body. The therapies are meant to be long term, and the medicine used is both in the traditional and chiropractic fields. Both mixed, and reform, doctors offer this type of care. If you have a type of spinal injury that can be corrected, or suffer from skeletal issues that can be adjusted, then corrective care is probably where your doctor will send you.From diagnostic medicine, to minimally-invasive procedures (by certified Reform doctors), corrective care is perhaps the most productive, and long term results driven type of chiropractic care. This does, however come at a cost. As most corrective care specialists offer traditional medicine, as well as pharmacological care, the costs can be much higher than just relief/maintenance care. This is natural, as to FIX a problem will always cost you more, than when you use a simple 'band aid' approach. Understanding what type of healing methodology a potential Chiropractor practices will help you pick the right one for your unique needs. Knowing if you want a quick fix or a longer term result is also vitally important. All of those decisions will allow you to choose the best possible care, for the best possible price.Many people are intimidated by chiropractors because they don't really know very well what chiropractic specialists do and if they can actually fix their bulging disc. Chiropractic care was basically invented to help you eliminate or diminish back pain. But will a chiropractic specialist be able to really fix a bulging disc?The short answer is yes, a chiropractor can help fix a bulging disc, if additional treatments are employed. The big bonus that chiropractors come with is that they completely focus on your back only. A chiropractor understands nearly anything there is to comprehend concerning the back discs, the spinal cord, the nervous system structure as well as the biochemical processes going on in the back. That is actually the key motivation why many people consider chiropractic specialists not alone to obtain assistance but also for a diagnosis. Another important detail would be that chiropractors don't use any kind of medications plus they never perform any surgical procedures. They will aim to solve the condition in non invasive approaches and whenever they may discover that the ways that they employed didn't work, a good chiropractor is going to send you to someone else who they think are more suitable to fix your back problems.Most people are introduced to chiropractors because they have been involved in some kind of injury, generally a vehicle accident. More often than not a car accident that has hurt the back may bring about a painful bulging disc, and soreness in the muscles and joints that are connected to the spinal column. A chiropractor in many cases can take care of it through focusing on the right places around the spinal column. An excellent chiropractor will also continue working on your back for an extended period of time and maintain the alignment of the vertebrae so that you can keep your life quality.Despite the fact that chiropractic specialists are completely accepted as health specialists by all health care institutes and physicians it is still part of what has become known as alternative treatment and usually employed in cases where the standard medication couldn't help. You will find that numerous medical practitioners might send you to the chiropractor after they detect the condition you have and realize that the standard medications will fail to benefit. Oftentimes the hospital will have its very own chiropractor staff members who can provide you with help even at the clinic itself. Chiropractic treatment can help fix bulging discs, but it should always be utilized in addition to further effective treatment options for disc dysfunctions. Seeing that each back condition is different, this mix of therapies has to be fitted to the specific disorder of the affected individual. Alternative therapy possibilities like acupuncture, massage therapy, and physical exercise are extremely good solutions to make use of in combination with chiropractic care.
Insight Chiropractic Subluxations maybe a new word, as you probably have not heard your family physician mention this word. The first time I heard this word is when I had chiropractic treatment. Anyway, subluxation is the combination of two Latin words "sub", which means a bit or fairly and "luxare", which means "to displace". Chiropractors used the word vertebral subluxation to refer to any improper alignment in our spine. They believe that these subluxations cause diseases; however, if this will be adjusted, the spine will get to functional normally and healing will follow.What causes subluxations?Vertebral subluxations are attributed to 5 factors. The muscular factor. Keeping our spine upright are our muscles, which are controlled by our nerves. When a nerve gets pressure, muscle spasm can ensue. The vertebrae that are attached to the triggered muscle are dragged out its place and this further leads for the nerve to be irritated. When not properly diagnosed and treated, this will continue and this explains the reason why the dislocations or the subluxations stay in place.The bone factor. This is best illustrated when the vertebra is misaligned, not functioning appropriately or is starting to deteriorate. When this happens, the gaps amid our bones where the nerves pass are contracted. This leads the nerves to be irritated.The nervous factor. This pertains to the interruption of the regular energy flow down our nerve fibers leading to the distortion of the messages along our nerves. Due to the wrong signals received by our tissues, the latter will not work properly. If untreated, this can give way to other health conditions like constipation, peptic ulcers and disturbances in the organ system.The chemical factor. This pertains to the changes in our body chemistry brought about by vertebral subluxations. This happens when the body releases the chemical "kinins". These chemicals augment the soreness in the affected spot. The soft tissue factor. The nearby ligaments, tendons, blood supply and tissues are affected by the subluxations. If this is not treated immediately, it can lead to permanent spine flux.All of the above factors can lead to unceasing pain, arthritis, soreness, loss of motion, osteophyte and muscle instability and shudders.Chiropractors remove these subluxations to motivate your body to heal itself. When the nervous system is free from any subluxations, it will work properly paving your road to wellness. Chiropractors are the only health professionals who can managed subluxations via chiropractic adjustments.Before I begin, let me give you a little insight to where my perspective on the healing comes from. By training, I'm a scientist. I am really good at looking at issues critically and deciphering facts and problems based on factual evidence and sound theories. At the same time, I always had an interest in alternative medicine and while I lived in Seattle for 5 years, I had the chance to experience directly and learn various healing modalities such as naturopathic physician care, acupuncture, homeopathy, Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques (NAET). Some of my knowledge comes from being the inquisitive patient, some comes from discussions with students of Bastyr College of Naturopathic medicine who I befriended while in Seattle. While in Seattle I also took several classes on Reiki, and became a Reiki Master/Teacher and hence I have the insiders perspective on how energy healing works and what it can and can't do.I am a strong advocate of alternative therapies in conjunction with or sometimes instead of traditional medicine. However, recently, I have been really bothered by practices of chiropractors (some not all) and I feel that there are many out there that take advantage of the general lack of understanding of how the human body works in patients to keep their businesses going. I write this article with the goal to educate moms on the good, the bad, and the ugly associated with chiropractic care, especially as many chiropractors now advocate for 'maintenance care' not only for adults but also for children.As you will see below, I do believe that chiropractic adjustments can be very useful, especially when they are performed as part of the whole body healing, but unfortunately, when done in isolation, chiropractic adjustments often only set you up on a path of going, and going, and going back to your chiropractor for more treatments, rather than getting well.The work of a chiropractor is to manipulate the spine to remove misalignments. Misalignments in the spine are often referred to as subluxations. Traditional chiropractic philosophy is based on the belief that misalignments in the spine are the root cause of illness. Hence they remove the misalignments in the spine with the hope that the illness will go away as well. The idea behind this theory is that all body organs are connected to the spine through nerves. If there is misalignment in the spine, it will cause a problem with the nerves and then other organs connected to them. If you consider long term chiropractic care for yourself or your family, be sure that this theory of all illness originating from spine misalignments resonates with you. It doesn't with me. Here is why.The spine connects to joints, then to muscles and ligaments that support the spine and its structure. If there is a problem within the spine, the muscles in the close proximity to the spine misalignment (and often not only in that region) will also be affected. Typically some muscles will become overly tight and some will become weak, as muscles work in pairs. This is what's commonly referred to a muscle imbalance. In addition to the musculoskeletal system in your body, there is a biochemical system, and an emotional system. The biochemical system includes your blood chemistry, hormones, vitamins, minerals, and hence this system is vital to your well-being. Emotions, including moods and attitudes have also been shown to contribute to and to aid illnesses. The musculoskeletal, the biochemical, and the emotional systems within our body are very intimately connected to create our well-being or sickness. If we become ill, all of these systems will be affected and disease will manifest in all. I think it's naive to believe that all disease starts from the spine. For example, if you never go out in the sun and eventually become Vitamin D deficient, it is likely that you will develop problems in your spine since Vitamin D deficiency leads to muscles weakness. This in turn will likely lead to spine misalignments. Similarly, severe emotional trauma, never addressed properly, over time may lead to sickness which will likely cause some spine misalignment. I believe that it's correct to say that most illness will manifest itself in the spine, but that is not the same as saying that all illness originates in the spine. One thing to keep in mind is that the somewhat simplistic philosophy behind chiropractic and illness was developed at time when people had no choice but to eat minimally processed foods from local sources, before there were any chemicals in the environment, and at a time before drugs, vaccinations, and other environmental factors were impacting our health. In our modern society, there are other factors that contribute to creating illness, which must be addressed. In my opinion, removing the cause of the illness is the best approach for curing it. Finding the cause of the illness is often the tricky part. This is where a doctor with a broad range of expertise and education is most helpful. Ideally, the physician you pick as your doctor is familiar with how disease manifests itself in the musculoskeletal system, as well as in the biochemical and emotional system. Such a physician can best determine how to get all these systems back into balance.Chiropractic treatments have the best chance of curing problems most directly related to disturbances in the musculoskeletal system of the body. Many joint, and muscle pains can be aided by chiropractic manipulation. The question is, whether the pain will stay away. If the treatment is for an injury such as back pain due to someone lifting a heavy object in awkward manner, one to several chiropractic adjustments will usually get rid of the pain for good. The reason is that the cause of the pain was the spinal misalignment, and once removed, the patient is usually pain free.What about chronic pain though? Moms often develop neck and shoulder pain from nursing and carrying their children. Lower back pain and sciatica are also quite common. All chiropractors happily address these conditions, but how they are addressed varies greatly between chiropractors.It is a very common chiropractic practice to manipulate the spine to try to get it back to its proper alignment, and ask the patient to come back multiple times in a week, often for long periods of time. The reason for the multiple return visits is not addressing the cause of the spine misalignment. If the cause of the problem is not removed, few hours to a few days after the adjustment, the spine slowly returns to its previous state.Why? Because the muscles that are tight are pulling it in the direction of previous misalignment and the weak muscles can't support the corrected structure. So the patient goes back to the chiropractor, and the process is repeated. 5, 10, 20, 40, sometimes 60 times, usually 1 to 3 times a week over a course of weeks. Then once a week, then once a month. After all those adjustments, it is possible that the muscles over time slowly adapt into the new corrected shape from the repeated adjustments, but typically if treatment is stopped, the spine will go back to the misalignment as the cause of the problem was never addressed by the chiropractic practitioner. Many moms I know have chronic neck or lower back pain, and all feel better after visiting a chiropractor. The problem is that they need to keep seeing the chiropractor in order to feel better.The underlying reason for chronic pain is often postural patterns (such as forward rounded shoulders from computer use) and muscle imbalances (strong quadriceps and weak hamstrings in runners or after pregnancy). That's only part of the picture though. Spine misalignment can also be caused by and exacerbated by a food allergy, such as dairy intolerance, or vitamin deficiency. The misalignments due to these factors can be as severe as from chronic postural patterns. Chiropractic adjustments will keep making the patient feel better after every adjustment, however if the cause is never addressed, the problem will keep coming back. In these examples, it would make most sense to address the cause of the illness (vitamin D deficiency or dairy intolerance) rather than the symptom (spine misalignment).A good chiropractor should be able to determine what the cause of the muscle imbalance and/or spine misalignment is, whether it is purely structural or whether there is an underlying problem such as a nutrient deficiency, a food sensitivity, a toxic overload, or a hormonal imbalance. This takes not only a good chiropractor but an inquisitive mind set as well as good doctoring skills. These are not taught in all chiropractic schools, and the good chiropractors have usually had lots of other training, for example in applied kinesiology.Hence in my view, chiropractic adjustments are useful to address some musculoskeletal issues. For sure, for acute injuries to the system. When it comes to chronic pain though, the key to getting rid of the issue is addressing the cause. A practitioner who understands how the body works will use a combination of spinal manipulation with physical therapy to address tight and weak muscles, and offer a plan on removing the cause of the ailment (postural habits, etc). This would be similar to the work of a physical therapist skilled in spinal manipulation. Often however even that is not enough. A chiropractor with a firm belief that removing spine misalignments is all that is needed to treat a person will likely keep a person with a vitamin deficiency or a food allergy in treatment for months (and be unsuccessful). I think that is plain ignorant. To treat a person, all aspects of the body have to be considered and for that a holistic practitioner acknowledging the whole body approach to healing is needed. A good chiropractor will recognize the limitation of his or her work and will refer a patient to someone else if spinal manipulation is not producing lasting results. Long term Chiropractic CareMany chiropractors think that regular spinal manipulations are necessary to stay healthy. After all, in their minds, all disease originates in the spine, and hence small misalignments should be frequently removed for optimal health. It is not clear to me whether these chiropractors actually believe this or whether they simply understand that they will have clients for life, as long as the client believes that he or she should see the chiropractor once a month for optimal health. Of course, services are not limited to adults. Many chiropractors now offer a family package and start adjusting children from infancy; For maintenance: once a month for the rest of their lives.Maintenance may be a good idea a couple times a year or after accidents to prevent the problem of "as the twig is bent, so grows the tree". However, there is more to good maintenance healthcare than adjusting. The biochemical and emotional systems also need maintenance, and typically people with more balanced chemical and emotional systems will need less adjustments to stay feeling good. A good alternative to using a chiropractor for health maintenance is using a practitioner who can address the full spectrum of healthcare and preventive maintenance, such as a Naturopathic Doctor also trained in physical medicine.In summary:The good: chiropractic manipulation can be extremely helpful in reducing or removing pain, often chronic.The bad: Typical chiropractors address only the structural component of the problem. Some will often guidance on how to stretch and strengthen affected muscle groups to help the spine in alignment. Most do not tackle the chemical/hormonal aspect of the problem which are often the hidden cause of spinal misalignments. There is also an emotional aspect of spinal alignments which is rarely addressed.The ugly: Chiropractors often set up their practice with the intention of keeping the clients coming and coming and coming. It's not uncommon to see packages of 60 to 80 visits sold upfront: not only for you - but for your entire family, whether they are ill or not!Optimal Solution: Finding a practitioner who understands the relationship between the musculoskeletal, biochemical, and emotional systems in your body, and can get to the cause of your problem. This can be a holistic chiropractor, naturopathic doctor trained in spinal manipulation, or perhaps a chiropractor who's also an acupuncturist.