THE SPINAL COLUMN
ALPHA CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER
You've all heard it before, "Once you go to one of those chiropractors, you'll have to go for the rest of your life...". The concept of continued chiropractic care for a lifetime of good health is one that is often misunderstood and rarely even addressed. The idea of committing to a lifetime of care of anything we value is not unique to us. Here are a few questions to get us on the same track:
When was the last time you brushed your teeth? Will you ever brush them again? Why?
When was the last time you ate healthy food? Will you ever eat again? Why?
When was the last time you slept, exercised, showered, or changed the oil in your car? Will you do these things again? Why?
These questions require little if any thought to answer. They may even seem absurd, yet the fact remains that good spinal health is just as important (if not more so). Everyone's spine has been compromised due to trauma, consistent improper posture such as prolonged sitting at a desk, bending incorrectly at a job, a sports injury, emotional stresses, or chemical stresses. For that reason, it is most likely going to require attention - for the rest of your life!
Let's look at things from a purely physical/structural model for a moment. Vertebral subluxations, misalignments of the bones of the spine, have devastating effects not only on the nerves and organs but also on the bones and ligaments. Ligaments are the 'rubber bandlike' structures that hold two or more bones together. Many sports fans are familiar with the term 'ligament damage'. This condition usually implies a lengthy recovery time with a layoff from the sport. In order to have a vertebral subluxation in your spine, their MUST be ligament damage. The ligaments are designed to hold the spinal bones in proper position. It takes approximately four to eight weeks for a ligament to begin to heal. During this time you will begin to 'feel' better but the ligament is still extremely unstable. It takes an additional nine to fifteen months for the ligament to fully heal.
Some people mistakenly think that once the vertebrae is restored to its proper position it should stay there and the body should be able to function properly. Unfortunately, it does not work that way, especially if the subluxation has been present for a long time.
The proper relationship between a vertebrae and the one above and below is dependent upon a number of other factors. First is the shape of the adjacent bones, especially the parts of bones that come in contact with each other. They are called "articular facets," a technical word meaning joint. Besides the ligaments, the muscles surrounding the vertebrae are also important in maintaining the bone in place. When the vertebrae subluxates, the articular facets begin to change shape. An analogy may be helpful. If you were to take a piece of molding clay and mold it over your closed fist, it would fit perfectly. However, if you were to remove your hand from the clay and turn your hand slightly, keeping the clay in the same position, the clay would not fit properly. You would have to remold the clay for a proper fit. When the vertebra subluxates, the articular facets begin to change shape immediately! Hard solid bone actually changes shape! After a number of years the "comfortable" position for the bone is the wrong position, and even after an adjustment the vertebrae has a tendency to slip back into its incorrect "groove". Continually adjusting the bone back into the proper position over a long period of time will enable the body to change the shape of the bone so that the correct position once again becomes the position the vertebrae easily assumes. This can take a long time and until this reconstruction takes place, the individual is dependent on regular adjustments and the muscles compensating for the tendency of the bone to slip into the subluxated position. If the muscles are weak because of a subluxation that has interfered with their nerve supply, or because of a lack of exercise or being overworked (stress), they will not be able to compensate for the vertebra's predisposition to subluxate.
The key principle to understand is that it takes regular adjustments over a long period of time to enable the bone to change shape in order that its normal position is also the "comfortable" position. A very similar process takes place in orthodontic work. The orthodontist is not really straightening the teeth. He is attempting to straighten the bony sockets into which the teeth fit. Constant pressure with metal bands will cause the bone to change shape allowing the teeth to sit straight in their socket rather than sitting crooked. But as anyone who has worn braces knows it takes a considerable amount of time. If the braces are removed before the process is completed, the teeth will eventually misalign back to their incorrect position.
It is important to understand this concept in order to realize the need for long term, regular chiropractic care. Many times when the vertebrae is back in place for a few hours or a few days and the innate intelligence of the body is free to express itself, a tremendous amount of healing takes place. Patients feel better and assume their bodies have healed themselves. If they discontinue care, that vertebrae, without doubt, will re-subluxate the next day, week, or month and they will begin a downward process again.
I recommend at least one full year of care in order to do the job correctly. Anything short of a one year commitment insures that the problem will return time and time again. This condition will become chronic, causing further decay to the bones, the nerves, the organs, and the ligaments. If the chronic condition isn't addressed and fully corrected then the condition is known as permanent. As the name implies, permanent is extremely difficult if at all possible to correct.
Since in chiropractic we are dealing with subluxations, everyone must realize that they occur throughout your life or as my college president used to say "from the womb to the tomb". If we know that they are a detriment to health and every level of human performance and potential, does it not make sense to have them adjusted throughout your life? Is there a time in your life when a good functioning nervous system, proper body chemistry, and good health and performance are not important? Obviously not!
The frequency of chiropractic visits required is dependent upon the individuals' lifestyle, work habits and stress levels. Even when world class athletes injure themselves, they receive two to four hours of daily care to strengthen and remodel ligaments. They often receive care seven days a week for months. Many times, however, they get back to the game only to reinjure the same ligament again in a few weeks. That is why care must be ongoing and recommendations regarding frequency must be strictly adhered.
It is vitally important that the subluxation be fully corrected and maintained over time. We certainly wouldn't wait for tooth decay to set in before tending to our teeth, we wouldn't look for signs of malnourishment before we eat our next meal, we wouldn't wait until our engine seizes before changing the oil, etc. I'm sure you get the point by now.
The bottom line is that anything related to health: eating right, exercising, proper rest, a good attitude, proper hygiene, and a good nerve supply must be done or kept up regularly to experience the true benefits. Proper maintenance of anything precious takes time. As the saying goes, "If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing right."
It is taking the path of least resistance that makes rivers and men crooked.
Make your decision for what is right, not expedient, and wash your mind of all compromise.
Prescription Drug Fiascos
All right everyone, for all of you out there with concerns about the health of your parents and grandparents, this is your opportunity to zing both major presidential candidates.
How many of you have had to speed to a hospital emergency room because Mom, Dad, or Grandma, or Grandpa ended up either bleeding internally or suffering some other serious prescription drug side effect, such as confusion, depression, strong heart palpitations or kidney failure?
How many of you have opened a kitchen or bathroom medicine cabinet at your parents' or grandparents' home -- only to discover a veritable pharmacy? I'm certain that many of you have worried about whether doctors, egged on by drug company "educational" hype, are poisoning the folks who brought you into this world.
One-Fifth Inappropriately Prescribed
Indeed, the federal government's own statistics, among other drug utilization reviews and studies in recent years, indicate at least one-fifth of older patients are prescribed inappropriate drugs. Seniors are also hospitalized for drug side effects at a rate at least five times greater than the general population.
There are about 30 million people over the age of 65 living in this country, roughly 12 percent of the total. On average, a senior uses at least five medications concurrently and several over-the-counter products. That intake represents about 30 percent of all prescription drugs and about 20 to 25 percent of those available over the counter.
If that is not bad enough look at these statistics from Public Citizens Health Research Group:
-70% of doctors who treat Medicare patients flunked an exam on prescribing to the elderly.
-over 32,000 hip fractures per year are attributed to prescribing drugs that leaves the elderly sedated or unbalanced.
-Among older patients given three or more prescriptions upon leaving a hospital, 88% had one or more problems. Of those 22% suffered potentially life-threatening problems.
Are you getting the picture of the magnitude of what can -- and often does -- go wrong? And this is no flash-in-the-pan issue. This appalling medical abuse of seniors has been going on for decades.
Quality as Important as Payment
Sure, access to very costly prescription drugs (which run twice as much as those in most other "civilized" nations) is now a vital battleground for Al Gore and George W. Bush. Each has his specific plan to ease the financial burden of seniors who need medications. Yes, entitlement programs are a good first step -- because something major has to be done to protect seniors from the drug industry price gouging which has become as American as apple pie.
But neither candidate appears to have the guts to take the important extra step and take on the bad prescribing habits that have become entrenched in this culture, thanks to the marketing genius of the large multinationals and the doctors who too easily dispense the drugs. Nor are the candidates addressing the squandering of tax dollars because overmedicated seniors need additional medical care to set them straight.
According to a Food and Drug Administration estimate, about $20 billion is spent annually in hospitals to deal with the results of inappropriate use of prescription drugs. Some estimates run as high as $70 billion. Seniors undoubtedly account for much of these costs.
Anti-inflammatory Drugs Misprescribed
One of the ongoing classic examples of dumb prescribing is with the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, for arthritis pain.
About 70 million prescriptions are written for this class of drugs each year in the United States. In addition to other forms of these drugs, such as Aleve, Advil and Motrin, that are available over the counter. One 1997 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that for a standard case of early osteoarthritis (arthritis that involves cartilage and bone degeneration), 42 percent of doctors inappropriately prescribed NSAIDS or other medications.
With joint/arthritic pain, NSAIDS are primarily meant to fight inflammation. When there is no evidence of inflammation, why prescribe an NSAIDS, particularly to someone who is elderly? Editorials in medical literature have warned doctors since the mid-1980s to try to avoid prescribing NSAIDS to elderly patients and to people with a history of peptic ulcers. Two of NSAIDS side effects include gastrointestinal bleeding and severe ulcers. Each year among seniors on these drugs for arthritis only, there are at least 40,000 hospitalizations and over 16,500 deaths. These figures are likely to be very conservative, given the pathetic side-effect reporting practices of doctors and hospitals. On top of that, NSAIDS eat away at the cartilage surrounding the joints, which as you can guess makes the problems worse. Sadly, seniors are rarely told about modifications in exercise, lifestyle, or nutrition (such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplementation) that could help alleviate the majority of arthritic problems. Not to mention chiropractic care, which is extremely beneficial to the elderly.
All Drugs Have Side Effects
Too many of you have watched your elderly parents and grandparents go through prescription drug hell because of snappy medical decisions.
Maybe Gore and Bush need to be reminded that, as things stand, their desire to cut costs to seniors for prescription drugs is only a tiny first step in what must be done to reverse a health-care nightmare. What they need to realize is that doing more of a wrong thing will not make it right.
Each human being with a diagnosed disease, an undiagnosed disease, or with no disease needs to have his or her body functioning
with a good nerve supply. That is essential to health and is reason enough for seeking chiropractic.
In this office money is NEVER a reason to deny your children the chiropractic care that they need.
Chiropractic today for stronger minds and bodies tomorrow.
Are there 'acceptable'losses?
Recently, many health care professionals and advocates have started wondering if the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is too quick to let new drugs into the marketplace.
Several newly approved drugs -- which, it turns out, are killing a lot of people -- spurred the concern. In just the last three years, mumerous drugs have been pulled from the market or severely restricted because they were dangerous.
In March, the heartburn drug Propulsid was pulled off the shelf after 80 people died from it. Then, the diabetes drug troglitazone (Rezulin) was yanked because it caused between 90 - 300 deaths.
Sadly, the drugs were withdrawn from the market only after millions of prescriptions had been written. The pharmaceutical companies shrug off such problems since they feel a few hundred, or sometimes thousands, of deaths represents an "acceptable loss."
A spokesman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America defended his industry by pointing out that, since 1980, just two to four percent of all drugs have had to be withdrawn. He called this proof that drugs are safe.
But two to four percent isn't an insignificant number. If an estimated two billion people are taking prescription drugs today, that two to four percent would equal 40-80 million people. Forty to eighty million people at risk because of unsafe drugs which should never have been approved in the first place.
He also didn't point out that, in the 1990s, the FDA went on a "rush it through" campaign, partly to placate members of congress who were receiving huge campaign contributions from the drug industry.
Even David Kessler, who was serving as the FDA Commissioner while this accelerated schedule was in place, is now noticeably cautionary in his comments regarding the process. "We have to be mindful that the pendulum has not swung too far. We tend to want to see the upside of pharmaceuticals and tend to forget they all have risks, something we see with the drugs that have been withdrawn," he said recently.
That might qualify as the understatement of the decade.
Keep in mind:
-the FDA does NOT test any drug, but merely reviews the results submitted to it by the drug maker;
-the FDA receives much of its revenue as "user fees" from drug companies;
-80% of FDA board members who decide whether products can be marketed have ties to the drug industry;
-many drugs or devices are approved in less than a year -- with one being granted approval in just six days;
-most drugs are tested on small groups of carefully chosen subjects and are approved without any research on how they might affect the general population over time;
-there is mounting evidence that FDA examiners are "harassed" and pressured into approving drugs even though they know they may be unsafe.
If that wasn't bad enough, a few weeks ago, USA Today discovered some more disturbing information:
-Federal law generally prohibits the FDA from using experts with financial conflicts of interest, but the FDA has waived the restriction more that 800 times since 1998.
-an analysis of 159 FDA meetings (from 1/1/98-6/30/00) revealed that:
-at 92% of the meetings, at least one member had a conflict of interest.
-At 55% of meetings half or more than half of the FDA advisors had conflicts of interest.
-at 102 meetings dealing with the fate of a specific drug, 33% of the experts had a financial conflict.
Now, we find out that, according to Anderson Consulting research, the leading drug companies are planning to QUADRUPLE the number of new medicines launched annually!
Keep in mind these experts are hired to advise the FDA on which medicines should be approved for sale, what the warning labels should say, and how studies of drugs should be designed. They are supposed to be independent workers looking at these drugs objectively. How can that be done when they stand to profit from their approval and use? Does anyone else get chills down their spine when they realize that the branch of the government that is supposed to look out for our safety is so corrupt? Can you ever look at pill without wondering if it is truly safe or if it was passed through so that someone could make an extra couple of dollars? Sadly, there are many people who really do require medication either to keep them alive or to somewhat try and improve their quality of life. They have exceeded their bodies ability to heal. Who is going to look out for them?
I think that it is time the American people demanded that the FDA stop worrying about the financial health of the drug industry and start working toward safeguarding the public. In the meantime, everyone must take responsibility for their own health and do all things necessary to be healthy at all times. (It has shown repeatedly that people under regular chiropractic care do not need to take anywhere near as many medications as those who are not.) In the event that a situation arises when you absolutely need to take drugs, do all the research that you can do, trust no one, carefully monitor side effects that you can monitor, and pray that too internal damage is not being done. I will leave you with two very insightful quotes from a very wise pediatrician:
"Don't trust your doctor. Assume that if he prescribes a drug it's dangerous. There is no safe drug."
"If you rush to take it (a new drug), do so with the full knowledge that you are being used as a guinea pig. The longer a drug is on the market, the more will be known about the side effects."
PS. Next months newsletter will include an article entitled "How Not To Become A Statistic" You didn't think I would dump this on you without giving you some hope, did you?
One of the most important philosophical concepts in chiropractic is that chiropractic sets an individual
Symptoms are not the first stage of disease. They're the last. Don't wait for symptoms to appear before getting
The Power of Chiropractic
Chiropractic is my life. It is my mission, my path to serve. Its principle is my road map for life. Its practice is my purest way to express love. Through chiropractic I have experienced my connection to God. I have witnessed "miracles", which were simply Universal Intelligence expressing itself from above down, inside out. I have seen lives changed, hearts opened, prayers answered, bodies and minds healed, simply through the act of releasing the Law of Life within. Through chiropractic, I have become a shepherd, a steward, a warrior, a servant.
What chiropractic has and what we do is so magnificent. So big. By allowing innate intelligence to express with less interference we help reconnect the spirit and the flesh. We help reconnect that individual with the source of all good and allow the greatest doctor in the Universe, who specializes in that individual, to do its works. With each adjustment delivered with that little something extra, love, we restore a bit more balance and harmony to the Universe. The word "universe" means one song, and you can't alter a bar or a note without affecting the whole deal. By spreading the knowledge and truth of chiropractic you and I can help make the song a little sweeter. Together we can help smooth out some sour notes in the song. Or tune some loose strings.
Each person that comes into our office is a unique expression of God, a personification of Universal Intelligence. That individual is essentially an assortment of subatomic particles arranged into recycled atoms that is reorganizing itself so fast you can't even see it. Somehow this mass of atoms is capable of doing quadrillions of things simultaneously, including healing itself. There is a design for that individual, a plan. And we don't know the plan and we can't improve on the plan. But we can remove interference so that the plan can manifest. Is that big? Can you picture a world in which all individuals are manifesting their plans, fulfilling their purposes, serving all others with their unique gifts and talents? Can chiropractic help change the world?
Perhaps this brings up a little fear, or maybe a lot. Perhaps it brings up doubt, or even laughter. It really doesn't matter. But if it resonates with you or fires a spark in your consciousness, then take heart. I've seen the possibilities. I've gained the knowledge of how powerful chiropractic and I are when I use chiropractic in its purest form, without any strings attached. And again, I've witnessed the miracles that inevitably resulted.
These same possibilities exist everywhere. But first, we must accept our Power. We must learn to hold it. We must grow, expand, and evolve. We must overcome our fears. We must become tuned so innate intelligence can express our highest potential. We must stand up and reclaim our principles of health and life and then offer it to a world that desperately awaits it.
Millions of people are literally dying for what we have in our hearts and our minds. They are separated, subluxated. They seek the answers in a place from which they will never come: outside themselves. They are brainwashed, programmed to believe their problems are coming from a lack of something from the outside. They are convinced that they are weak, deficient, vulnerable, separate, created incorrectly. But all this is changing, ever so slowly. The world seems to be waking up. When they do, where will they find us? Will we be sitting back in apathy letting our loved ones cling to the dead paradigm of "health" called medicine? Or will we be part of the awakening, helping to lead more and more people from the darkness? Can we, will we love ourselves enough to work at becoming clearer expressions of our innate intelligence? Can we, will we love people enough to share our knowledge with them and serve them without attachments, expectations, or any desire for the fruit it might bear? Can we, will we tell the chiropractic story and message to all? Can we, will we get everyone we love adjusted? Can we, will we love God enough to become as powerful as we can be and to fulfill our purpose to our greatest potential? I know one thing for sure, the world is ready.
According to the philosopher Voltaire:
-The hottest place in hell will be reserved for good people who see evil being done, and stand idly by.
-Have you told anyone about chiropractic lately?