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.