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. Insight Chiropractic
Chiropractors - Healing Methodologies
Insight Chiropractic Let's use the term 'subluxation.' Subluxations occur when vertebrae in the spine become misaligned or move out of place. When an individual vertebra moves out of its proper position, it can press on the nerves that pass from the spinal column out through the space either above or below it. Because nerves carry messages between your brain and your body at lightning speed (think about how fast you move your hand when you touch something hot), nerve interference caused by a spinal misalignment can cause the body to malfunction.Simply put, subluxations interrupt normal nerve function, causing a breakdown in the body's communication center, the central nervous system. How do subluxations occur? There are three main causes:o Physical causes, such as a car accident, a slip or fall, a sports injury, repetitive movements, such as lifting all day on a job, improper sleeping positions, inadequate sleep and bad posture.o Emotional causes, such as grief over the death of a loved one, anger and other negative emotions that cause too much stress in your body and result in damage to your body's immune system.o Chemical causes, that result from improper nutrition (fast food), smoking, alcohol and substance abuse and toxins in your external environment, food and water.Chiropractors receive special training to adjust the spine, which moves the misplaced vertebrae back into their proper position. It may take time for your body to "hold" an adjustment and for the vertebrae and the surrounding muscles, ligaments and tissue to [recognize] the new position as being "normal." However, once the subluxation is corrected, the nervous system becomes fully functional again, allowing your body to heal. The biggest problem with subluxations is the fact that you often don't even know that you have one until you experience symptoms, such as pain or a breakdown in the functioning of a major organ, and then it might be too late.Receiving regular chiropractic adjustments keeps your nervous system in prime working order, much the same as receiving regular dental care keeps your teeth and gums healthy. If you have any questions about subluxations or the effects that they can have on your health, please be sure to ask us at your next visit.Chiropractors are known for their abilities in helping people with neck and back pain. The most common reason why someone even considers seeing a chiropractor is for back pain, specifically low back pain. Research and studies and the general consensus is that we can help in this area. What about shoulder pain? Is there anything a chiropractor can do to help shoulder pain?You can certainly have a chiropractor take a look at and evaluate your shoulder problem. While the spine is most commonly adjusted, the chiropractic adjustment can be performed at any joint. A joint is anywhere two bones meet. In the case of the shoulder, we'll be looking at three different areas; the clavicle (collarbone), the humerus (upper arm), and the scapula (the shoulder blade). Any of these joints can move out of their normal position with extended use in the wrong way. Stress and poor posture in the upper back can lead the shoulder blade to become stuck and fixated in the wrong position. The chiropractor can adjust this area and work with the muscles to get things moving again.The same principles apply to the humerus and the clavicle. There are certain movements in which each bone will take on a more primary role. The chiropractor can feel with his hand if the right areas are moving or not. If the joint is not moving, this means it is likely not functioning correctly. This is where the chiropractor's expertise can be of most use.The first evaluation of the shoulder is really to see if any of the muscles, ligaments, or tendons have torn. Depending on the severity of the tear, you may need an immediate referral for an MRI and a visit to an orthopedic specialist. You don't want someone moving your bones around if you have a tear, and the chiropractor doesn't want to do that either. If you haven't had any trauma to the shoulder joint and the pain has just come on gradually over the years. The chiropractor can take a look and provide adjustments and work to the muscles that can make a world of difference.
What is Subluxation?
Insight Chiropractic Chiropractors are licensed Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) also known as chiropractic physicians. They are trained extensively in the biomechanics of the body as a whole and on improving the relationship between the structure and function of the body. There are many reasons to consider a career as a chiropractor and ten of them are highlighted below.1 - Rewarding work A chiropractor's work is very rewarding. Chiropractors help individuals to improve their overall health and wellness, avoid injuries, recover from injuries, and manage or eliminate pain and dysfunction.2 - Respected work Chiropractic is recognized by the National Institutes of Health as an effective healthcare practice. Researchers worldwide have published studies and continue to study and report on the many positive effects of chiropractic care. Chiropractors have helped millions of people rehabilitate from chronic and debilitating pain and dysfunction. Celebrities, professional athletes, and military veterans are among the many who have been helped by chiropractic and who act as spokespersons for The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. 3 - Accredited academic work Doctors of Chiropractic must earn an advanced degree from a nationally accredited college or university. There are 16 accredited programs in the U.S. The Doctor of Chiropractor Degree combines classroom learning, laboratory, and clinical experience.4 - Professional state license A chiropractor can only practice in the state or states where he or she is licensed. All states require a passing score on the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners test in addition to the Doctor of Chiropractic degree to be eligible for a state license. This helps to ensure the quality and integrity of the profession.5 - More than just back treatment Clinical studies have shown the effectiveness of chiropractic not only for back pain but also other pain and dysfunction throughout the body. Chiropractors are trained to address the biomechanics of the body as a whole. They regularly treat patients for leg, back, hip, neck, and shoulder pain; headaches; fibromyalgia; arthritis; digestive disorders; and many other ailments.6 - Proactive care Chiropractors are advocates for healthy lifestyles and injury prevention. They regularly treat patients for general health and fitness to prevent injury before it occurs. Many athletes see a chiropractor as part of their training regime. The health benefits received from chiropractic care can lead to a greatly improved quality of life.7 - Holistic care Chiropractic is an all-natural healing and wellness healthcare practice. It has helped millions of patients worldwide to avoid the high costs, risks, and potential side effects commonly associated with pharmaceuticals or surgery.8 - Covered by most health insurance Medicare and most health insurance companies cover chiropractic visits. Research has shown chiropractic to be an effective preventative and rehabilitative therapy. It has helped many people avoid costly and invasive surgeries. 9 - Be your own boss Most chiropractors have a solo practice, which allows them to be their own boss. A starting chiropractor will typically work for an established chiropractor in the beginning before venturing into solo practice.10 - Job outlook good According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Labor of Bureau Statistics, "employment of chiropractors is expected to increase 20 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations." 1References:U.S. Department of Labor, Labor of Bureau Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Chiropractors. Retrieved February 29, 2012 http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos071.htm.Do you suffer from painful recurring headaches? Do you have arthritis? Are you experiencing pain and discomfort? Have you been in an accident? Are you looking to increase your health? Are you suffering with breathing issues or acid reflux? Do you pain in your feet or hands? Are you pregnant and looking to increase your comfort? Are you recovering from a car collision?If you answered yes to any of the above, then you are likely going to be looking for find a chiropractor.What makes a chiropractor better than over-the-counter pain relievers and primary care physicians? They believe in natural health care.A chiropractor may use x-rays, nerve scans and MRIs to diagnose a problem, especially after a car accident. The treatment, however, is hands on, literally. It is known as a manual therapy. Chiropractors perform adjustments where precision force is used with the hands to thrust joints into their proper position, relieving pressure off of nerves. For most, this results in a reduction or elimination in pain, as well as increased mobility.If you like the sound of chiropractic care, you may be ready to schedule an appointment. First, you need to familiarize yourself with chiropractors in and around your area. But how? A standard internet search is a good way to start. Look online using a search engine for the top rated ones in your area. You will easily find sources of social proof and reviews on sites like Google, RateMDs, YellowPages and more. There are often even reviews found on social media sites such as Facebook that you may find helpful.When performing a standard internet search, search with your city and state/province. You will be linked to a number of websites. Some of those are directories, where many chiropractors are listed. These websites are similar to phone books; they provide you with just the names, address, and telephone numbers of local care providers. What you want to look for is chiropractor websites. In addition to getting the contact information, you should get in-depth information about the provider, such as specialties, background, and see pictures of the office.Once on a chiropractor's website, you should look for testimonials, either verbal or written, about the clinic. See if any of the stories relate to your condition. See if there are other people with a similar problem that have been helped.An online business directory can also be useful. Many websites serve as online business directories. From Yahoo and Google, select "Local," from the main heading. Enter in your city and state and the phrase "chiropractor." You will see local listings for nearby chiropractors. Most only include your specific city, but you can expand the search to nearby communities. Some online business directories link to you to provider websites, if they exist. Many also enable ratings and reviews.The most trustworthy source may just be recommendations from those you know. Since many North Americans, insurance providers, and employers are now embracing chiropractic care and realizing the many benefits, its popularity continues to increase. You may know someone who has seen or uses the services of a chiropractor. Ask those that you know, such as friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors. Ask for the name, address, and phone number. Be sure to ask for feedback too. Call the office that you are interested in. Ask to see if they are a proactive clinic that uses some of the more advanced diagnostic equipment. Does the doctor simply feel for the problem with his hands, or does he use x-ray, nerve scanners, MRIs or other to help decipher the underlying cause of the problem before starting treatment.In addition, ask them if they are equipped to adjust according to your special needs, if they exist. Are they wheelchair accessible? Do they offer low-force treatments for those that require it or prefer? Do they have any advanced education in pediatrics or pregnancy if this is for a mom or a child? Do they have any equipment specifically designed to help seniors who have difficulty maneuvering? There are many good questions to ask, before deciding if that chiropractor is right for you.There are many ways to find chiropractic care providers in or around your community. Once you familiarize yourself with your options, the next step is to choose a care provider. When doing so, consider reputation, feedback, costs, and the wait until you can get a first appointment.