THE SPINAL COLUMN
ALPHA CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER
Immunity and Chiropractic
Skeptics of chiropractic question how chiropractic can help the immune system in the absence of many scientific studies. One could also question how physicians for the last 100 years could say to drink fluids and rest if you have the flu. Does fluid drown bacteria? Does lying down cause a virus to die? Of course not. Clearly rest and fluids do not affect the microorganisms. They are intended to help the sick person's body, specifically his or her immune system. This helps the body fight the microorganisms and their effect. Doctors have found through common sense and experience that the ability to fight off microorganism is improved by resting and drinking fluids. No one had to do studies. It is a self-evident fact. (Actually when you are sick you really do not feel like doing anything else but lying down. That is the innate intelligence of your body saying "rest"). No one is about to suggest that doctors stop making that recommendation until a Harvard Medical School research program can be completed in which 1,000 people with the flu will be allowed to drink fluids and rest and 1,000 others with the flu will be made to walk around while deprived of fluids.
Chiropractic is based upon the same logic. If there is an interference in the nerve system, the immune system, which is intricately linked to the nerve system and controlled by it, will not function properly or at least not as well as it should. If you shut down the nerve system completely (death), the immune system will not work at all. Therefore, if you interfere with its function, the immune system will work at less then 100%. It is not necessary to do studies, but we will discuss the results of just two studies below. One study done by Ronald Pero, Ph.D., chief of cancer prevention research at New York's Preventive Medicine Institute and professor of medicine in Environmental Health at New York University, showed that people under chiropractic care had a 200% stronger immune system than 'healthy' (asymptomatic) people who were not. The chiropractic patients had a 400% stronger immune system than people with cancer or other serious disease. He further went on to conclude that chiropractic care may optimize ones ability to fully resist serious disease. In another study, upper cervical (neck) adjustments were performed on HIV patients to see what impact this would have on their health. When the results were reviewed, the HIV patients showed a 48% increase in their CD4 cells (a type of immune system cells that HIV depletes) over the six-month duration of the study. There is not a drug out there that can increase immune function like this. Neither study made the cover on the N.Y. Times though.
A point that I am trying to make is that it would be ridiculous to demand that physicians do the study outlined above to prove the validity of rest and fluids for the flu. It is just as ridiculous to have to do research to prove that chiropractic helps the immune system work better before you go get adjusted. It is a self-evident fact. If the nerve system works better, every system in the body works better, including the immune system. Notice that chiropractors do not claim that chiropractic cures the flu, the common cold or anything else. We just maintain that if there is an interference in the nerve system, the immune system will not work as well as it should and if that interference is removed, the immune system will work better. How much better? Well, despite what all the studies have shown, we still do not know for sure. But we really do not know how much benefit fluid and rest are for the immune system. All these individually or together could be the difference between getting well from the flu or not. There are many things about health, the human body, proper function and human potential that we do not know. In fact, there is probably more we do not know than what we do know.
One of the beautiful things about chiropractic is that we do not need proven data from research studies. We can know that chiropractic is good based on logic, common sense, and self-evident facts. That is how physicians knew that rest and liquids help people fight the flu. That is how we know chiropractic will enable the immune system and every other system in the body, for that matter, to work better.
Personally, I am aware of around 20 studies done on chiropractic and immunity. The results of every study have been nothing short of remarkable. So maybe more should be done, if nothing else to shut-up the skeptics. But, how many will be enough? Will 30 be enough, 50, how about 100? How many people will suffer from cancer and other diseases because these studies did not make it to the front of the newspaper, or because they are waiting for another study, or because they do not have back pain? How many diseases may have been averted if people's immune systems were functioning better? The bottom line is that getting adjusted produces no adverse side effects. Waiting for symptoms to get adjusted does not make good sense. Is there anyone that cannot benefit from an improved and better functioning immune system? Didn't think so.
Save The Children
"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can." - Helen Keller
The world needs our help. Children are at risk. Parents and children would benefit from learning about chiropractic. Every child deserves to be under chiropractic care.
A recent study reports that potentially harmful medication errors occur three times more often among hospitalized children than adults. These errors reportedly kill over 100,000 hospitalized adults per year. While I hope that there are fewer children hospitalized than adults, I shudder to think what numbers they would produce if someone bothered to count how many children die every year due to medication errors. I'm not surprised considering that less than 25% of all drugs given to children have even been tested to see if it is safe to give to them.
A six-week study at Children's Hospital Boston and Massachusetts General Hospital for Children found 616 medication errors out of 10,778 orders written (1 in 18 prescriptions). Six hundred and sixteen errors in 6 weeks, that is 100 errors per week, while they knew that they were being tested! Can you imagine what happens other times?
The other day while standing in line an 8 year old in front of me was wearing a T-shirt that said WHERE THE F*@K IS MY MEDICATION? As the child stepped away I asked the adult about the T-shirt. She said that he has ADD and he bought that T-shirt with his own money because he could relate to it. This was shocking, disgusting, sad, angers me, and confirms how big our job is.
"A good clinician will not commit a child to a life sentence on medicine," reads a quote from a doctor interviewed for a recent article published recently in the Washington Post. According to the article, a good clinician will work to stop medication after a child has had a chance to "regroup." The same individual recommended that parents work with a clinician who is working to get your child off of any medication they may be taking. Sadly, the opposite is happening in this country.
Are children who are shy, afraid to go to school, or sleep alone, benefiting from taking psychiatric drugs? Who knows? Are these problems caused because their bodies ran out of medication?
Another recent study focused on a drug called Luvox, which is widely prescribed for adults who suffer from depression, social phobias, and some other mentally related disorders.
According to the study, psychiatric illnesses effect as many as 1 in 10 U.S. children. Why?!? Data from the article suggests that an estimated 575,000 children nationwide were diagnosed with anxiety disorders in the past 12 months (last reported in March). Those children included 136,000 under the age of 10. Medical doctors recommended 390,000 children be put on medicine such as Zoloft, Paxil and Prozac. Of those children, 89,000 were under the age of 10, according to a company that tracks pharmaceutical industry prescription activities.
Here's a thought: 390,000 children is enough to sell out a 19.5 consecutive day live performance of Barney the Purple Dinosaur at New York's Madison Square Garden. Can you visualize crowds of children filling an arena of that size more than 19 times, and all on drugs? That is a lot of children taking a lot of mind-altering medications.
It is not until the last paragraph of the article that a doctor suggests it looks as though the drug study was put together by an old boys drug-pushing network that was trying to promote Luvox. Duh!! The study was partly funded by the pharmaceutical manufacturer that makes the drug and according to the article; Luvox sales in the United States were more than $2 billion last year. Two billion dollars, I'll bet Barney didn't earn that last year.
If that is not scary enough, since 1994 Prozac has been given to about 3,000 children per year under the age of 1. Also, 1-1.5% of all children between 2-4 years of age are receiving stimulants, antidepressants, or antipsychotics. There has been a 3-fold increase in Ritalin use in Canada and a 10-fold increase in Prozac-like drug use for kids ages 5 years old and younger in the United States. Hello!?! Has anyone realized that these drugs were not tested to see if they were safe to give to children, let alone for long periods of time!! Let me say it again, there have been NO studies or tests done to see if they are effective or safe. In fact, Ritalin carries a warning against its use in children under 6. And of course, side effects are much worse the younger the child is.
So, let's review:
-575,000 children diagnosed with anxiety disorders
-136,000 children under the age of 10 diagnosed with anxiety disorders
-390,000 children medicated with drugs such as Prozac and Paxil
-89,000 children under the age of 10 were medicated
-3,000 children per year under the age of 1 are being given Prozac.
-1-1.5% of all children between 2-4 years of age are receiving stimulants, antidepressants, or antipsychotics.
-There has been a 3-fold increase in Ritalin use in Canada and a 10-fold increase in Prozac-like drug use for kids ages 5 years old and younger in the United States.
Last month's newsletter included an article on kids on drugs for conditions like ADD/ADHD and an article on addiction that contained remarkable results with people who were also depressed and had anxiety. Do you think these children may benefit from what chiropractic has to offer? Do you know any child on these medications? Have you said anything? Every time you feel inhibited about speaking the truth about your experience with chiropractic and telling others the chiropractic story think of the children and what these drugs will do to them. They need you to tell them and their parents to get adjusted. What if their body chemistry is altered due to a subluxation, and by you saying something you can positively alter a child's life? How would that make you feel? Now please re-read the quote at the beginning of this article.
What Fools We Mortals Be
We blame sickness and disease on the most stupid of things. We look down upon the ignorant people of the Middle Ages who blamed sickness and disease on the night air and the demons that inhabited the darkness. They slept with their windows closed, even in the summer! As foolish as that seems, I dare say we have progressed little. We take an "uneducated" savage who believes that ground-up monkey claws will prevent disease and teach him that injecting the pus from a sick cow into his body will keep him healthy. The difference is that the ground-up monkey claws don't hurt going in and there are probably fewer toxic side effects. (Although somebody will probably claim that monkey claws are high in cholesterol!)
What is worse than medical science passing this nonsense off on us as truth is that many actually believe it. We have become so blind to truth that any kind of lie, no matter how far-fetched it is, seems reasonable and acceptable. In no way is this more evident than by the fact that drug commercials on TV are absolutely idiotic. I saw one the other day that was so foolish it was laughable until I realized that people are believing that garbage. A male voice talks over scenes of a middle-aged man with obvious stomach problems at a physician's office. "I thought there was something seriously wrong with me and then I went to my physician. He told me there was nothing wrong except that my antacid was not strong enough." Can you believe that! Pains in your stomach are only an indication that your Tums are not doing the job and that you should switch to Mylanta.
This tells me that the average person does not realize that if he or she has stomach pains there IS something wrong. The body is not working properly. The body may be producing too much stomach acid or not enough of the natural protective lining (which is not pink in color!), or something life threatening may be wrong. Whatever the case, merely taking an antacid, even if it is the strongest on the market, is not the answer. We simply have to get away from the mentality that says "ignore it until the pain is unbearable, then take something progressively stronger and stronger. If that does not work, then go for surgery." That mind-set is not the proper approach to health; in fact it is not an approach to good health at all. You cannot ignore your health, treat your symptoms and expect to experience maximum health. There is only one approach to health. You must do all those things necessary to be healthy. That may mean you need to eat better rather than relieve the symptoms of poor eating with an antacid. It definitely means having your spine checked on a regular basis so the stomach and every other organ of the body can be assured of a good nerve supply. There are no easy roads to good health. There is only one road to health and it includes not just a proper diet and exercise but regular chiropractic care as well.
Disease And DIS-EASE
Part of the ADIO life and world view point series.
There is considerable confusion over the two terms, disease and DIS-EASE. Some people tend to interchange the terms. Some think that since DIS-EASE is a chiropractic term and disease a medical term, that chiropractors should always use the term DIS-EASE. Consequently, it is used in places where the term "disease" legitimately belongs. While chiropractors do not relate to disease, treat disease, or diagnose disease, it is necessary to recognize its existence.
R. W. Stephenson (a chiropractor and author) says, "Disease is a medical term for sickness. It is an entity worthy of a name. To be driven out, purged, fought or destroyed." It is important that we, when discussing disease, always use it in its proper context. While we may question the efficacy of treating disease, it is the business of the largest branch of the healing arts and therefore should be acknowledged. Disease is a state in which certain physical signs and symptoms appear and are categorized for the purpose of effective treatment. There are around three thousand known diseases, each one having a set of signs and symptoms. Many of the signs and symptoms are similar. The art of medicine is the differentiation between these signs and symptoms (diagnosis) for the purpose of categorizing and then instituting proper treatment. It is only necessary to acknowledge the existence of disease, categorize it, and name it if you are going to treat it, or in some way address it (even if it is addressing its cause). Obviously, the treatment or alleviation of the unpleasantness of a disease is the objective of medicine; therefore, its diagnosis is only of value to determine what is the most effective method of treatment. Disease is a term that we recognize and must place in its proper perspective.
DIS-EASE, on the other hand, is a chiropractic term. It means, "not having ease." The matter is lacking something. Stephenson says, "The body lacks ease, health, coordination, transmission, adaptation, well-being, 100% quality, soundness, sanity, etc." Of all the terms synonymous with DIS-EASE perhaps "incoordination" is the best. "Dysfunction" and "dis-order" are also acceptable synonyms. However, like DIS-EASE, they can be confused with medical terminology. Incoordination does not seem to be one that can be easily confused. The word DIS-EASE itself is so similar to the term disease, while it aptly describes the state we are talking about, it is too easily confused. (Often the word DIS-EASE is at the end of a line of type and the reader does not know whether the hyphenation is due to proper punctuation or is technical in nature). The words are vastly different in their meaning. In fact, they are, to a degree, opposites. Disease is the presence of something. DIS-EASE is the absence of something.
A third related term is trauma. Trauma is injury to the cells due to accident or poisoning. Trauma, like disease, is a condition of the tissue cells. It is a condition of the matter. Both, then, are within the realm of the physician. DIS-EASE is not a condition of the matter but a state of matter. It is more properly described as a state of the body. So, in effect, we have an organism (in our case the human body) that is either in a state of ease or DIS-EASE. We do not say that the person has a DIS-EASE of the kidney or stomach or gall bladder, but that the entire body is in a state of DIS-EASE. Disease occurs in organs, tissues, or parts of the body, but DIS-EASE is a state in which the entire body is functioning. Either the body is in a state of DIS-EASE, lacking coordinated function, or it is functioning in a coordinated manner. We do not use the term DIS-EASE in the plural. There is no such thing as "DIS-EASES". Either the entire body is in a state of ease or the entire body is in a state of DIS-EASE.
One of the fundamental concepts of chiropractic philosophy is the fact that the human body is not a group of unrelated parts, but an interdependent, coordinated organism. When one part is affected, the entire organism suffers. That is why the chiropractor relates only to DIS-EASE. He relates to the whole, not to individual, diseased parts like the physician. If it were possible for just one cell in the body to be deprived of its full complement of mental impulses from the innate intelligence of the body, we would still say that the body is in a state of DIS-EASE. It should be understood that while the tissue cell is lacking coordinated function causing the cell to act in a selfish manner not as the innate intelligence of the cell, it is still alive and doing something. Hence, the term "incoordination" rather than "death" is used. The cell still functions, but in an incoordinated manner. Perhaps the human organism would be better off if it would just 'lie down and die." Unfortunately, many times it does not, but instead functions in an incoordinated manner. That state is what we call DIS-EASE. This underscores the importance of restoring coordination to the body and the role of the chiropractor. A bunch of cells running around acting in a selfish, self-serving manner is a rather frightening thought. Cancer anyone?
The question asked then is, "Can DIS-EASE occur without disease?" Can you have incoordinated function without the presence of a medical entity? Obviously, the answer is yes. We call vertebral subluxation "the silent killer." While not the greatest description, the fact remains that the vast majority of the time subluxations cause no symptoms and may exist for years in the absence of any disease process. Any chiropractor that has checked any amount of spines has found subluxations in totally asymptomatic people.
The opposite idea is not as easy a question to answer. "Can disease exist without DIS-EASE?" In theory, the answer is yes. A patient who has been cleared of interference by being adjusted is in a state of ease - no incoordination. However, the condition of the cells may manifest disease. We must constantly fall back upon our definitions and, just as importantly, medicine's definitions. A patient manifesting symptoms has a disease condition. He may be unsubluxated, having just received an adjustment. He may also demonstrate the presence of disease never having been in a state of DIS-EASE in the first place. Disease is a medical term. We must recognize it as such. However, we do not have to concede that disease is always bad, as the physician does. For example, watery eyes, slightly elevated temperature, sneezing, nasal discharge are all symptoms of a disease known as coryza or the common cold. They may be, however, a manifestation of a perfectly coordinated body, in a state of ease, fighting off an invasive organism -- no dysfunction, no incoordination, no DIS-EASE.
The question that is invariably asked then is, "When does cellular dysfunction become disease?" That is a very difficult question to answer. Is a disease a disease if no one has diagnosed it? Probably the physician would say "Yes, as soon as it is able to be diagnosed." Then we ask, "is it not a disease until it is able to be diagnosed?" If there are no visible signs or symptoms (only cellular changes), is a disease present? Frankly, I am not sure that anyone has the answer. The Figure below does not give the answer, it only clarifies the problem.
A B C D
Point A is when the incoordination occurs. The cells due to vertebral subluxation, are not receiving a full complement of mental impulses.
Point B is when those cells begin to function in an incoordinated manner. One of the 33 chiropractic principles states that there is no process that does not take time. Therefore, we conclude that there is a period of time between points A and B. It may be a second, or two minutes, or hours.
Point C is the time when demonstrable cellular changes begin to take place. It may also be seconds, minutes or hours from point B.
Point D is the time when those demonstrable changes manifest enough signs and symptoms for the physician to be able to make a diagnosis of a particular disease. It seems conceivable that as medicine advances in its diagnostic skills, the period of time between C and D may be shortened. However, it will be a long time before medical science is able to explore the depths and the activities of the human cell, to be able to determine incoordination and demonstrate its coincidence with a disease condition. Chiropractic, on the other hand, does not wait for point C or D to be reached. The objective of the chiropractor is to restore coordinated function somewhere between point A and point C. Regular chiropractic maintenance care will insure that it is as close to point A as possible, thereby reducing the length of time the body spends in a state of DIS-EASE.
Genius At Work
Did you ever stop to think that you are a genius? You may not have always viewed yourself as a genius, but you really are one!
Everyday you do things that the smartest scientists cannot do. Do you realize that, on average, your heart pumps 2,100 gallons of blood through 62,000 miles of blood vessels everyday? Every second 8,000,000 red blood cells are produced. Forty-five miles of nerves send impulses as rapidly as 325 miles per hour. You breathe one pint of air 17 times a minute; about 78 million gallons are taken in during an average life span, enough to fill the Hindenburgh airship one and half time. The brain, a three-pound organ, stores 100 trillion bits of information over the course of 70 years, equal to 500,000 sets of the Encyclopedia Britannica, which if stacked up would reach 442 miles high.
You do these things and millions of other things because there is a genius inside of you, and everyone you know. This genius is called the innate intelligence of your body. This incredible creative wisdom that is inside of you is on the job 24 hours a day, it never sleeps even though you are sleeping. Can you imagine having to mentally control all of the functions of your body at any given moment? You could never manage all the functions that your body naturally knows how to keep balanced. The body does everything that the innate intelligence tells it to do, but how does it get these messages from one part of your body to another? --The brain and spinal cord.
In order for our bodies to function at their optimum and constantly heal and regenerate new cells, our brains have to be sending messages throughout the internal telephone lines of our bodies (our nerves) and those messages must properly reach all of our tissues and cells. The brain uses the nervous system as its vehicle to communicate to all the parts of our body, and the body then continues that conversation by sending messages back to the brain.
This delicate internal nerve network in the body is protected by bone. The spine and its movable vertebrae protect the nerves in the body, and the spine protects the spinal cord, which is the main message delivery center for the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. It is essential that we keep our spines healthy and flexible so that our bodies can adapt to stress, and so that the messages of our brains can reach our bodies. A happy and healthier spine contributes to a happier, healthier, more energetic, and successful life! No matter what kind of exercise you do, diet you eat, or restful activity you take part, if the messages from your brain do not properly reach each and every cell of your body, then you will never be all you can be in your lifetime. Any interference in your spine directly interferes with the life energy and information channels in the body. Interference results in a less flexible spine and nervous system, and blocks your ability to be happy and healthy. People of all ages and all positions in life have interference in their spines at one time or another.
Chiropractors are the only health-care professionals who are dedicated to the detection of these spinal interferences called subluxations and who correct them gently and with ease, so that you can experience more living in your life, and more energy in your living! It is of vital importance to get your spine checked on a regular basis, so that the genius within you can let you experience a greater body and life!