Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Premis #2: The Body is One Smart Fellar!

OK, so we are on part 2 of this 4 part series. Let's review what we've gone over so far shall we. First, the whole reason I am taking time out of my busy schedule to write these blogs is to enhance your understanding of chiropractic and why it is vitally important that you and everyone you know be under some form of regular care. I am not just saying that because I am a chiropractor. I tell everyone that. I don't care if you come see me or not, but please go see someone. Living your life without chiropractic is worse than living your life without a toothbrush and/or dentist. The only reason we don't feel it's that important is because we don't see on the outside the damage we are doing to our spine and nervous system on a daily basis. I love the old anti-smoking poster with the picture of the person and half of their chest looks like black, decaying tissue with the headliner, "If what happened on the inside actually happened on the outside, would you still smoke?". It's amazing the amount of compensation our body can endure for all the crud we put into it and do to it. I have come to view it as a double edged sword more and more. By that I mean, most of us, including myself, ignore taking care of it because we "feel fine." However, I will now get off my soapbox and get on with what I came here to do.

Second, we talked about premise #1, which is our bodies were created to be self-healing, self-regulating organisms. I think that statement is pretty self-explanatory. I promise I will try not to use anymore words hyphenated with "self." I also think this premise is a no brainer. If it were not true, then we would have died very early in our existence. Take a course in microbiology and you will quickly learn that you are walking around with dozens of bacteria that have the ability to kill you if not kept in check by your body. Take a cell biology course and you will learn that your body literally kills thousands of cancer cells everyday. If only one got by your body's defense and allowed to divide, then you would end up with a tumor.

So, now we are on to premise #2. Simply put, our body is created with a vital force that has an innate intelligence. This means your body was made with the ability to know what to do and when to do it without you having to tell it what to do. Have you ever stopped to ponder why you don't have to direct nutrients where to go, or when to start pumping adrenaline, or how tissues heal when we do dumb things like standing on top of a stool, on top of the toilet, to finish painting in a corner of the bathroom only to have it flip out from under you and land on your backside leaving a hefty bruise? That's totally hypothetical and I'll deny it if anyone accuses me of doing that.

How many times have you taken off your jeans or shirt to find a scrape that is in the end stages of healing and you didn't ever remember cutting yourself? I can't count the number of times that has happened to me. As soon as your skin is cut, your body immediately begins taking steps to heal that wound without your knowledge. In fact, even if you knew you cut yourself, you couldn't stop the healing process from taking place.

What about the food we eat? You don't have to choose which digestive enzymes to release to break down the food that you consume. You don't have to tell your body which cells have damage from the Aspirin you took last night so we'll send some extra vitamin C and whatever else it needs for tissue repair. And thank goodness we don't have to concentrate on making the waste products left over from what we put in our body. Could you imagine a friend calling you to go to the mall or play golf and you have to say, "Sorry but I can't. My lunch just entered the large intestine and it was a hefty meal so it's gonna take a while to turn it into poop." It's funny but it's the honest truth.

I am so glad that my body has the smarts and the "know how" to take care of all that stuff for me. Even in all my schooling and all the biology classes I've taken, I am definitely not smart enough to handle all those processes all at the same time. I am so thankful that our body is built with an inner intelligence to take care of all that for me. I would much rather spend my time hanging out with my family or one of several other pass times then worry about that stuff.

I hope you enjoyed this installment. The next premise we will be going over on "What is Chiropractic?" is the nervous system is the master system through which our innate intelligence is expressed. Now we will really be getting down to the nitty gritty of chiropractic. Have a blessed day, and feel free to leave any comments!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Are muscles the secret cause of pain?

I received an email this morning from a patient who requested a free health report on the secret cause of pain and how to get rid of it. He forwarded it to me and asked for my thoughts on the subject matter. In answering his email, it gave me the thought that he is probably just one of many people looking for any possible answer to fix problems we experience. After thinking about it for a few minutes, it occured to me that sometimes we get so wrapped up in our problems and looking under every stone for some answer that we forget to just take a step back and look at how the body works and what health really is and then approach our problems. Pardon the cliche but we tend to not see the forest for all the trees. This has motivated me to write a brief reminder of what health really is and then we can go from there. Some of the information will put the cart before the horse in my explanation of chiropractic, but I don't see why repeating important points will cause anyone harm.

Another reason for this entry has to do with those people I hear say there problem is only muscular. I won't get into the explanation here, but have patience my young grasshopper and we shall get there. The health report focused on muscle imbalance and all the negative things that muscle imbalance causes and it also listed 4 popular chronic degenerative problems in the body and very loosely tied them to muscles. What I will do is combine why it's not just "muscular" and what health is.

So here we go....

Our body's health is directly proportional to how well it is functioning. Notice I said functioning and not feeling; we will address that point later, so tuck it in your pocket and hang onto it. The article talked about how exercising muscles that weren't working properly or "out of shape" would fix all your worries with back pain. First, let me make it clear that I am saying exercising does nothing for you. Exercising is good. My disagreement why muscles are the secret cause of pain are as follows. If your body is functioning well, then all is happy. However, If an area of the body loses its ability to function normally, then it begins to break down and leads to sickness or dysfunction.

Muscles by themselves do nothing. They sit and wait until a message from the nervous system tells them to contract and then relax when the nervous system tells them to stop. Muscles are also dependent upon the joints they are connected to in their ability to function. Muscle imbalance or poor performance is more like a symptom of either bad/wrong messages carried through the nervous system or bad joint mechanics (the way the joint moves). The exception to this is a traumatic event, which damages the muscles and the joints they are attached to. However, the report is focusing on problems of the chronic nature which is what most people suffer from.

Another important point is that symptoms, such as pain, numbness, allergies, etc., are only signals to us that there is a loss of function somewhere in the body. Hopefully at this point we can all agree that tissues cannot become sick or diseased if they are functioning at 100%. These signals are given once a threshhold is crossed and your body knows it is losing its ability to compensate. In fact, research has shown that your body can lose 60% of normal function before the line is crossed and gives you the first symptom. This means you can be walking around at 45-50% functioning and never even know it. Clearly a heart functioning at 50% capacity is not nearly as healthy as one functioning close to 100%.

I hear people all the time say they "feel fine" or never had any problems before or think because there is an absense of symptoms then they are healthy. This is a fatal error in judgement because we know the body just isn't set up to give you symptoms the second you do something bad to it. If it did, most of us would never be able to get out of bed because the day before we either had a lot of emotional stress, or ate unhealthy, processed foods, or banged our knee on the ground when we fell. Living your life according to how you feel is very dangerous and will leave you in the nursing home on 15 different medications to the tune of $700 per month if you're lucky to even live that long.

So can exercising muscles help get you out of pain? Absolutely because exercising is a part of the healthy lifestyle which can elevate the functioning of the body. If you get it evelated above that line, then your body quits giving you signals that it's not happy. Is the muscle exercised the cause of the pain? I find it hard to believe in a chronic condition because of the previous two points mentioned. You can exercise a muscle all day long and if it's not connected to properly working joints and/or getting bad/wrong messages through the nervous system, then it will always break down at some point. You must get joints moving correctly, clear messages, and muscles loose for the most effective results.

Remember the key is restoring normal function to the body so it can take care of itself the way it was designed to do. Your nervous system is the master system in the body and has the biggest piece in the pie of normal function. If you and/or your children are not being checked regularly, you are robbing yourself and them of reaching a maximum health potential. It's like filling your car with oil when it's first built and never changing it or checking it. You know eventually the car will break down; it's just a matter of when not if.

I hope I have put another wrinkle in your brain. Have a very merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Premise #1

Alright, so today we will be going over the basic underlying premise of chiropractic which is....

Our body is designed to be a self-healing, self-regulating organism.

This is a very basic principle but it is often overlooked. Notice the beginning of the sentence says that our bodies are designed. There is no accident that everything in the body works together. Whether you believe in God as I do or not, science and statistics make it more sensible to think there is an intelligent design behind all that is.

Self-healing means that your body is built to heal itself. Did you know that the part of your immune system that makes antibodies knows how to do so for several trillions of different bacteria and viruses. That doesn't include the possibility of a mutation happening along the way. When those are factored in, it makes it almost infinite. Your immune system can code for more antibodies than your DNA can, which is why it was set up that way. Your body is ready to fight bacteria and viruses that haven't even been discovered.

As soon as you cut your finger your body immediately begins taking measures to heal that wound. The healing process within acts independently of you and doesn't care what you think. What I mean is if you cut your finger and you concentrated on that cut and told your self and thought to yourself, "Don't heal, don't heal," it still would regardless. You can't stop your body from trying to heal itself. We can do things to slow the process down but your body will still try and heal itself.

Your body is also self-regulating. That means it was also built to take care of itself. Do you have to tell your heart how many times to beat per minute or when to speed up when you start exercising? Do you have to tell your body how to digest the food you eat and which cells, tissues, and organs need what nutrients? How about the thousands of cancer cells your body kills everyday; did you tell it where they were and to go kill them? Of course not. If we had to do all of this, we wouldn't be able to live.

Our body carries out millions of processes everyday. The majority of these are not under our control. It's amazing how harmonic all the different things in our body work together just to make it through one day. It is like a symphony orchestra with trillions of members coming together to make beautiful music.

So that's it for the first premise of chiropractic. Hopefully as we go through this I will be able to teach you more about you and that you alone are responsible for your health. Your health is a lot like your retirement. I always hear financial planners say that people don't plan to fail in their later years but that they fail to plan. Your health is the exact same way, especially in this high stress, low nutrition, and low exercise environment we live in. If you don't plan to be healthy, then you won't be healthy when you need it the most.

The next premise we will be going over is the innate intelligence that your body has. Until then, have an excellent day!

Monday, December 15, 2008

What is chiropractic?

So that is the million dollar question. I wish there was 1 simple explanation to cover all of chiropractic, but the fact is that there is not. Chiropractic is a science, a philosophy, and an art, which is why all chiropractors will give you a different definition when asked. The general goal of chiropractic is to detect and correct misalignments in the spine that may be causing problems in the body. I don't think I would find too many to disagree with that basic premise. If you are currently searching for a chiropractor or are currently a patient of mine, it really only matters if you agree with my philosophy or view of what chiropractic is and not the whole profession. If my goals for your health are in line with your goals for your health, then I should say we are a good match. With that in mind, here we go...

There are 4 basic principals to understand. First, we were designed to be self-healing, self-regulating organisms. Second, we have an innate intelligence within us. The nervous system is the master system that is used to express our innate intelligence. Interference of the nervous system leads to dis-ease in the body and a diminished expression of life.

My plan is to take each premise, and over the course of the next few weeks, explain the meaning of each. Hopefully once I am done with all 4 you will have a much better understanding of what chiropractic is and some confusion will be removed. The reason I'm not going to do it all in one sit down is because I don't like to cause eyeballs to glaze over and I want to make sure you can fully digest each morsel I give and taste it and appreciate it for what it is worth.

I look forward to hearing comments or suggestions on future topics, as well.