Tuesday, July 22, 2014
I do not want to be “SOLD” some big package.
A man has noticed over a number of years that some of the doors in his house have to be given a little nudge to get them to shut, and that if he spills water on the kitchen floor it tends to collect in one spot, and the windows seem to be a little drafty. When he walks around the outside of his house he sees spots where the brick exterior has cracks running vertically from the ground to the roof. Likely, you have concluded the same thing as him. There is a foundation problem with his house. As you would expect, he called a foundation company that a friend in church recommended. They sent their inspector out to determine the extent of the problem and give the man an estimate. After a thorough inspection of the property it was determined the problems were extensive and the house would have to be raised and supported in a number of locations. The inspector explained the foundation problem to the home owner. This particular inspector even went to the extent of showing the owner each problem area and explained the process required to fix the problem to avoid the likely future damage that would occur to the house if nothing was done. Because of the extent of the problem and how long it had been allowed to go without attention the repair was not going to be cheap. Even still, the man was very impressed with how thorough the inspector was and the obvious knowledge and experience he possessed. The home owner said, “Well, let’s get it fixed”. Personally, I would have said the same thing. It’s the foundation. There really isn’t much of a choice. The foundation is essential to the integrity of the entire house. From walls, to roof, to pluming, to overall value of the house. The foundation affects it all.
What is often overlooked by people is the parallel this story has to your health. Your health affects your ability to enjoy work, time with your spouse, time with children, social activities, physical activity, hobbies, vacations, and travel. Your health affects your productivity at work, your mood, your relationships, and your impact in this world. Like the home owner in this story, if there is a problem with your health, you want it fixed. Right? Just as you were not surprised that the foundation crew had a plan to fully address the problems at hand for our home owner, you should expect, in fact, demand, the same from your chiropractor. Chiropractors are not in the business of symptom relief, but rather in addressing the foundation of your health.
So why would it be that some may feel that they are being “sold” when it comes to a chiropractor recommending a “fix” (similar to how the foundation inspector did for our home owner)? There are a number of reasons that come to mind and they have to do with a misconception about health and also about chiropractic. First, most people assume that if they have no pain, aka symptoms, then there is no problem and they are healthy. When they do have pain (symptom) and it goes away, they again assume the problem is fixed or no longer present. That is why some people assume that after 2 or 3 chiropractic adjustments when their pain is dramatically reduced that the problem is fixed. This is like a home owner assuming his foundation is fixed because he put caulking around the windows and cement in the crack of the brick so he can no longer see the symptoms of the foundation problem. Symptoms are a warning sign and just because we can cover them with pills or creams or a few adjustments doesn’t me the problem is fixed. Furthermore, health is not just the absence of pain or symptoms. Anybody can just pop a pill to get rid of pain or other symptoms, but does that truly fix anything or make them healthy? Health is the full expression of the body’s ability to heal. And disease is the lack of that full expression of innate healing. We all know it is possible to be diagnosed with cancer tomorrow, but never have a symptom. It is likely that you know or have heard of someone who has experience that scenario. It is just as possible that an untrained eye may have never seen anything wrong with that man’s foundation, just assuming that the changes in the house were normal with age. But just being unaware or blinded doesn’t mean the foundation problem didn’t exist. Most likely it was getting worse each year. We all know if a problem is not truly fixed it will get worse. This is why the recommendations were made to fully fix the foundation, just as a chiropractor will make recommendations to fully address and correct spinal injuries. Do you think pain or lack of symptoms should be our only indicator of health? Should we just receive enough chiropractic care to get out of pain?
The perception about what chiropractic is and what the chiropractic adjustment does, is a second source of misunderstanding. Chiropractic is intended to promote whole body health through its ability to impact the health of the spine. Your spine is designed to protect your brain, spinal cord, and nerves, which make up your nervous system. Stress and trauma to the spine cause misalingments. Chiropractors call these misalingments, subluxations. A subluxations in the spine puts stress on the nerves and interferes with nerve function. Nerves control literally everything. If nerves are not working properly, then neither will your body. Chiropractic is least effective when used as emergency pain relief. Chiropractic therefore is not about pain, but about removing stress on the spine and nerves so that the body can work properly and heal itself. The Chiropractic adjustment works to remove that stress by improving spinal alignment and spinal health. The number of chiropractic adjustments is never judged solely on pain, but rather on a thorough evaluation, similar to the thorough evaluation done by the foundation inspector. Each chiropractic adjustment builds upon the next. Creating change in the body takes time. Think about exercising to change your appearance. It takes multiple workouts per week and months of consistency. Think about braces used to straighten teeth. It takes months to several years of wearing those braces every single day. While after a couple chiropractic adjustment most people feel dramatically better, their problem is only beginning to be addressed. It takes time and repetition to retrain and stabilize spinal subluxations. Think about hammering a nail into a board. It takes numerous hits to drive that nail in. Likely when the foundation crew was working on that man’s house they had to step back and take measurements repeatedly followed by numerous correction to get that house all level. And also very likely they will have to revisit that house from time to time to make correction throughout the years. It is true of chiropractic that regular checkups are required as maintenance once the initial phases of care have ended.
Just as you were not surprised that the foundation crew had a plan to fully address the problems at hand, you should expect the same from your chiropractor. Chiropractors are not in the business of symptom relief, but rather addressing the foundation of your health.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Chiropractic is Not for Pain
Chiropractic has helped millions of people throughout the history of the profession with spinal injuries that cause debilitation pain and disability. Many patients of chiropractic say they love going to the chiropractor because they just feel so good after getting adjusted. The amazing success stories of crawling into the chiropractic office and walking out pain free have created a huge misunderstanding for the average person about what chiropractic is actually for. Even despite the great testimonials of patients who love their chiropractor because of how much they have helped them, chiropractic is dramatically more effective in there scenarios where individuals use chiropractic for optimal function and therefore, prevention of future problems. Most people are aware of the famous truism stated quoted by Benjamin Franklin when he said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This means the longer you wait the more it will cost you. So, is it less expensive to change the oil in your car or to change the engine in your car? Is it less expensive to exercise daily or have heart surgery? Is it less expensive to buy organic when necessary or pay for cancer treatment? It all boils down to the ultimate truth that prevention, or being proactive, is much more effective and much less expensive than being reactive. The same is true of the effectiveness of chiropractic. Chiropractic is awesome at promoting amazing health, but is rarely used as such, it is instead used as an emergency band-aid for chronic aches and pains. There are a number of reasons for this currently reality, including the medical professions continual attempts to unlawfully discredit chiropractors, but let’s direct our focus back on establishing the truth of what chiropractic is designed for and where it is most effective.
Wellness is by definition, the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort. I would add to this definition, just for clarity, not just “deliberate effort”, rather deliberate preventative effort. The definition of health is in the word itself. Heal-th is the state of the body healing itself. So the question is how does chiropractic prevent? Chiropractors first recognize what controls all healing in the body is the brain through the spinal cord and nerves. Chiropractors look to correct interference in that pathway of healing. Interference in the form of spinal misalignments cause stress on the nerves. This creates a state of dis-ease on the nervous system. Since your nervous system control everything in your body, if it is not at ease then neither is your body. If this interference is left uncorrected the problem and your health just becomes worse with time. If the misalignment is corrected, the stress is removed and your brain is again able to restore normal health to the body. As we established previously, this is always much more effective and much less expensive when used preventatively. In the common scenario where the misalignment is undetected or just flat out ignored for weeks, months, and in most cases years, the possibility of complete correction is dramatically diminished. This is because the problem has progressively worsened right under your nose. Therefore chiropractic treatment at this point will need to be much more aggressive, but have only a fraction of the results as compared to if it was used to detect and prevent misalignment early on.
My hope and mission is that our office can help as many people and their entire families change their legacy of health by following the recommendation of Benjamin Franklin, and using chiropractic as a wellness tool to prevent di-ease and actively promote heal-th.