Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We are all insane!!!

I was thinking this morning about how often I hear people complaining about how the medicine they take causes other problems in their body, or how it seems like taking medications only lead to taking more medications, or how the medicines they take don't really fix any problems but just address symptoms. Then it hit me - we are all insane.

Why do I say this? What could I possibly be talking about?

A definition of "insane" is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. This means you cannot take the same approach with a situation and expect anything other than the same end result.

So what does this have to do with medicine?

I had a patient tell me that they were tired of taking their child to the doctor every time they got sick because all they did was talk for a couple of minutes, look in their nose, look in their ear, and write a prescription for an antibiotic. So I immediately respond with "Well what did you expect him to do?" I think this kind of surprised them because they looked surprised. I wasn't trying to be rude, but I did want to raise their awareness to their approach. Even though this parent did not want more meds for their child, they still sought the advice from someone who is only trained to give more meds.

Medical doctors are trained in sickness and how to treat conditions with medications. That's it. They aren't trained in nutrition, they aren't trained in vitamins and herbs, and they aren't trained to strengthen immune systems or improve wellness. A few doctors do take the initiative to learn independently on these topics, but as a whole they are not taught this in school.
So, back to the question I asked before. Why do we expect something different when we visit the MD? If your back hurts or you have headaches, why would you go to see an MD if you really don't want to take drugs or have surgery? That is all they have to offer. If a conservative approach is what you seek, then a conservative practitioner is where you must go.

I get it all the time when someone says they have been having back problems and it's really starting to get worse. They don't want drugs or surgery but they want to go see their MD before they do anything else. Guess what I find out next time I talk to them? They were only offered the solution of drugs or surgery and occasionally physical therapy.

Now I am not telling you that your family physician is the devil and you should run away from him/her. MDs are very important when they are needed. Medicine is very important when it is used properly. For the general population however, most problems we experience can be handled conservatively. And by that, I mean without drugs and surgery.

Take my nutritional counseling program I offer for instance. I use blood tests to see exactly what is out of balance in your body nutritionally. The panel I run is more comprehensive than anything I have seen brought in by my patients that their MD ran. The reason is because, as a chiropractor, I know that everything is connected, which means problems in one area can cause problems in another or just because one area looks good doesn't mean the whole is good. I want to see pretty much the entire picture of your body. Based on the findings, we come up with a specific regimen of supplements for about 2 months, then we retest and compare. You wouldn't believe the results we see when we just give the body what it needs and see what it can do with it. I encourage you to check out some of the case studies on my website at http://www.back2healthwellness.com/.

If you live in the Dallas area, then I would love to be your portal to more conservative treatment. If not, I am willing to at least help you find someone in your area that can help you. More than likely you are going to have to take the initiative to go a conservative route because MDs aren't trained conservatively so they simply don't know how to refer you properly.

Sorry, I got off track there for a second.

I think part of the problem is that we have been brainwashed to think that most of the body's normal immune responses to sickness or infections are bad. If you get a fever, you better kill it. If you start coughing, you better stop it. If your nose starts making a bunch of snot, you better dry it up. These are all normal healthy responses to fighting, killing, and removing infections from your body. It drives me up the wall how some parents stop their child's immune system from killing an infection normally and then wonder why they are sick all the time.

For this I use the analogy of a weight lifter. When a child is born, his/her immune system is a scrawny, weak little thing. In order for it to get stronger, it has to work out (fight infections). Which leads to a very crazy thought that IT'S OK FOR YOUR KIDS TO GET SICK! That is the only way for their immune system to get stronger so they don't keep getting sick. Back to the analogy. Let's say you are going to start working out to get stronger. You start with very light weights to warm up. Now it's time to start adding more weight to build those muscles. As soon as the weight feels a little bit heavy, Mr. Universe comes running in and grabs the weight and does the reps for you. Every single time it even gets the least bit heavy, he comes running in.

Now how strong do you think you are going to get if your muscles never get stressed? If someone is always lifting the bar for you, don't you see how this does nothing for building stronger muscles. They have to be stressed and broken down in order to build more muscle and get stronger. The exact same thing is true for your immune system. If every time your immune system is stressed you start drinking NyQuil or popping pills to break fevers, then you are not allowing your immune system to complete its workout. You are preventing it from getting stronger, or at least delaying its ability to get stronger.

I say all this to raise your awareness. I am guilty of all the same things as you. I have to fight the same tendencies as you. Most of us consider ourselves "healthy" because we minimize our problems probably as a natural coping mechanism. Use a little sanity next time your health is stressed. At minimum, don't tell yourself you don't want to take medicine or have surgery and only consult a physician who can offer those solutions.

I look forward to reading your comments....

Monday, February 2, 2009

Part 4: This is the big finally!

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! I know you have been eagerly awaiting my final installment on "What is Chiropractic?" and why it is so important for you. So here we are. I must admit I have really enjoyed writing on this subject. I think it's always good to refresh yourself on why you do what you do and how you are able to impact others. So without further delay, here we go!

A very quick recap on what we have already talked about:
1. We were designed to be self-healing and self-regulating organisms
2. We have an innate intelligence within our body to tell it what to do and when to do it
3. The nervous system is the master system within the body through which our life is expressed

This brings us all the way down to 4 which is there is a condition known as a subluxation, or misalignment, which puts pressure on the nerves and interferes with your nervous system diminishing your body's ability to express life. So what does that mean?

As I explained in an earlier post, every single cell, tissue, and organ within the body is hooked up to the nervous system in some form or fashion. Your brain is in constant communication with these areas or at least it should be. I like to think of the nerves as telephone lines or computer wires used to transfer information back and forth. Some of you may have heard it described as the brain/body connection. It is absolutely essential for this connection to be maintained in order for you to live a normal healthy life.

Now before I go on, I feel I need to restate that the definition of health is NOT the absence of sickness. If you are assuming you are healthy because you are not sick right now, then you are on a very slippery slope down that will lead to bigger problems later on. Not doing anything to always improve your health is like a couple who never communicates or does things to improve their marriage and assume things are OK because no one is complaining right now. How long will that relationship last, and how good do you think that marriage would be? Your health is the exact same way. The definition of health is your body functioning at its optimal level physically, nutritionally, and psychologically/emotionally and not the absence of symptoms or sickness. That means health is trying to reach as close to 100% function in all 3 of those areas.
Your health is equal to how well your body/organs/tissues/cells are functioning. Your symptoms are merely a warning sign that things have gotten so bad your body wants to bring it to your attention.

So back to the subluxation....

How do we get these subluxations? Well, there are 3 stressors that can cause a subluxation within the body. These are physical, chemical, and emotional stressors. Most people only focus on the physical aspect with regards to chiropractic but the other two are equally important as well. This falls in line with the "everything is connected" concept. Nothing in your body is in its own little box so if something bad happens to it, no other part of the body is affected. Any stress in any part of the body causes stress in another part of the body.

The most common physical stresses we think of is car accidents or major sports injuries. Yes these are very stressful to the body but I think they are less than the years of small physical stresses built up over time. Things like sitting in front of a computer all day, everyday, sleeping on your stomach, carrying a backpack full of books or a purse on one shoulder, or poor posture. It's the little things that we do everyday that we don't think about that add up over time that get most of us. Sure some people have been in major car accidents or whatever but most people have not.

I find it funny when patients come in the office because probably 70% of the time the space for previous car accidents is left blank. In my consultation, about 90% of those people have been in car accidents they just didn't think it was a big deal. According to research, a 5 mph fender bender can be enough of an impact to cause problems in the spine. Just think about two 2500 pound vehicles colliding. Your body has to absorb some of that impact because of inertia if nothing else. Research has also shown that it only takes pressure equal to the weight of a dime to impede neurological impulses, or messages being sent through the nerves. It doesn't take much.

I've also been told, "Well, I went to the hospital, they took X-rays, and they said I was fine." First off, they aren't looking for alignment at the hospital. The "you're fine" can be translated into "We didn't see any broken bones or tumors." Secondly, X-rays can only show bones and not soft tissue damage. Lastly, the rad techs and even doctors at the hospital are not trained in chiropractic and assessing alignment of the spine and its importance.

A very important physical stressor that is almost always overlooked is the birthing process. Yes being forced through the birth canal is stressful on the baby and not just the mommy. Not only is the process stressful, but you have some guy waiting to pull and twist your head and neck as soon as it's visible. This is done to an infant that doesn't even have the strength to hold up its own head. The big reason we don't think about this is because the baby doesn't come out yelling "I hate you!" or "See what you've done to me!" or "Let me pull and twist your neck around doc and see how you like it!" To help you make the connection here, yes I do suggest children get checked for misalignments regularly.

So let's move on to chemical stressors. This can mean a lot of things. How about not drinking enough water and too much of everything else. When I say drinking water, I mean only water and not tea, Propel, or whatever else you substitute for water. In Texas, you should be drinking about a quart for every 50 pounds everyday. Water is required for cells to carry out their normal functions and dehydration causes them to be sick and eventually die. Eating processed foods is another in the negative column. If you read the ingredients and can't pronounce the words, then it's probably synthetic and not good for your body.

Another poison for our body is medicine. This includes both perscription and OTC meds. Yep, that's right. None of it is good for your body. That is why they are taken in dosages and come with a very long list of side effects. There is NO such thing as safe medication. Do a little digging and you'll find out that more people die from adverse reactions to Tylenol than AIDS each year in the US. We're talking thousands of people taking Tylenol the way it is meant to be taken and end up dead. We don't get headaches because God didn't put enough aspirin in us when we were created, and we don't get acid reflux because we were born with a deficiency in the purple pill.

The last stressor I would like to talk about is psychological or emotional stressors. As you are sitting there reading this take a second and think of someone or something that ticks you off for a second. Just thinking about it you can start to feel your blood pressure rise and your muscles tense up. Now I want you to stop and think of something that makes you very happy. Almost immediately you can feel your body start to calm down and relax. This very quick exercise is a very good method to see how what you think about can affect your overall body. In fact, one of the newest areas of research is called psychoneuroimmunology. That is a fancy word that means your immune system is intertwined with your ability to function neurologically (brain & nerves) and psychologically. So that means if something negative is hurting one area, then the other areas are affected negatively as well.

Sometimes you hear chiros claiming to heal or cure everything under the sun. This simply is not true. We don't heal or cure anything. Only your body can heal itself the way God designed it to. However, chiropractic adjustments do promote healing because we improve the body's ability to function neurologically. The adjustments act as a facilitator. Again, I am not claiming to cure anything. All I'm saying is we help the body function better which allows it to take care of itself the better the way it was designed to. There are special circumstances where too much damage has been done and the body requires help. A sneeze or cough does not fall under that category by the way.

Anywho. I hope you have learned something from my 4 part series and understand a little better what we chiropractors are about. If you're wondering whether or not you and your whole family need to see a chiropractor, then the answer is "Yes!" Taking care of your spine is more important than brushing your teeth because teeth can be replaced. It's also just as important as eating healthy or exercising regularly.