THE SPINAL COLUMN
ALPHA CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER
We Must Not Be Doing Enough . . .
Americans Take More Drugs
From the January 16, 2001 PRnewswire is a story that reveals some startling numbers. According to a survey conducted for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), 51% of American adults take two or more medications per day, which include over-the-counter drugs.
The study also showed that 46% take at least one prescription medication daily and 28% take multiple prescription drugs per day. These figures show that an alarming rate of the adult population in the United States uses drugs of some kind. As expected the elderly have the highest rate of medication usage with 79% of those over 65 reported to be taking at least one medication daily. Americans who are over 65 and take medications take an average of 4 medications per day per person.
One of the concerns expressed by the ASHP president, Mick L. Hunt, M.S., was that medications could have bad interactions when mixed. Hunt said, "We want all patients to be aware of the potential for drug interactions that occur when mixing all of these remedies, especially when taking multiple medications each day."
Health Care In United States Reaches One Trillion Mark
On February 7, 2001 the US Census Bureau released figures that show just how expensive treating sickness in the US really is. According to a Census Bureau report, health care industry revenues hit $1.01 trillion in 1999, up 4.3 percent from the previous year. This amount is more than the whole economy of many nations. According to the July 26th 2000 online issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and in the Aug. 28, 2000 issue of the American Medical News, the United States spends 13.7% of its gross domestic product on medical care. The amount of money listed above would make you think that we should have the best health care system, and the healthiest nation in the world. However, according to the recently released report from the World Health Organization, the US ranked 37th!!! in overall health system performance on the WHO list of 191 member nations. This is one instance when doing more of the wrong thing will continue to give us such poor results. You see, medical care is not health care, but sick care. And when you apply sick care to a society and call it health care you end up with a sick society.
Chiropractors are a very small financial part of the total health care costs, 0.75% (less than 1%). I find this pathetic since chiropractic is true health care. We need to greatly increase our efforts and let people know what we have to offer - improved health and an increase potential in all areas of life. Help me to spread the message and have this country take its rightful place as the healthiest country in the world.
The Connections of Health
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes
To be healthy you must be connected... The goal of chiropractic is to help you reconnect...
You are born to express radiant physical, mental and spiritual health; to radiate vitality, harmony, peace, joy, optimism, strength, love and healing at any age. It is your natural state.
But it rarely seems that way. Disharmony, illness, disease, depression, fatigue, emotional and spiritual disconnection and isolation touch so many lives. Too many of us walk this earth with our bodies, hearts and souls in pain.
Yet no baby is born bored or depressed. Infants are full of wonder and awe. They breathe deeply, relax completely, radiate energy, and sparkle with the light of life in their eyes. They are closer to their natural state, more connected to it, with a clearer conduit to the wisdom, intelligence and energies that percolate up from their source.
Chiropractic and many other natural health disciplines recognize that to be truly healthy and alive you must be a clear conduit to your inner wisdom (also referred to as your "source," the "wisdom of the body", your "inner doctor", your innate (inborn) intelligence and other terms).
The goal of chiropractic is to help you better connect to your source so your inner doctor may work its miracles. A complete disconnection from your source results in death; a partial disconnection results in dis-ease or disharmony. Many people are in this state; with less than 100% connection they are less than fully alive.
Our very word health derives from the old English word hale meaning whole. You are healthy when you are whole, unified, integrated and complete - not fragmented, disintegrated, disconnected or incomplete. Let's explore health from this perspective.
The Connections of Physical Health
When a living system is suffering from ill health, the remedy is to connect it with more of itself.-Francisco Varella
When you are physically healthy all your body parts are in their proper places, fitting precisely, so they can communicate with one another and are not interfering with the function of other body parts or the flow of energy that bubbles up from your source to direct your body. Your body is in a state of exquisite coordination and balance.
In this state you have abundant vitality, sensitivity, strength and joy. You have a flexible, balanced body, breathe deeply and sleep deeply - refreshed and invigorated. You have high resistance to disease and the energy to adapt to life's stresses and challenges.
A physically disconnected person's parts are not fitting exactly right. The result is lack of balance, interruption of the energies that flow through you under the directives of your innate intelligence and weakened connection to your source. This results in dis-ease - a lack of wholeness, coordination and harmony. When you are dis-eased stress can overwhelm you and disease, illness, exhaustion, accelerated aging and shortened life results.
Interestingly, a person with dis-ease who feels fatigue may have tremendous energy, but it's often trapped in their muscles, joints and other body tissues and is not flowing freely. That's why people often have sensitive spots in their muscles or tendons called, "trigger points," and may jump when these points are even lightly touched.
The Connections of Emotional Health
Dwell as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows.- Henry David Thoreau
Emotional health is also dependent on being connected - to yourself and others. The more connected you are to yourself the more you can connect with others and the more fulfilling your connections (relationships). The more relationships in your life the more happiness, joy, hope, optimism and vitality you will have; the healthier and longer you will live and the quicker you will recover from physical and emotional traumas and illness.
An emotionally disconnected person holds pockets of unresolved anger, fear, resentment, pain or other emotions locked up within their body and mind. Whatever the cause (abuse, conflict etc.), trapped emotional energy prevents us from living fully in the present because some of our energies are still living in the past. Past traumas and fears cause chronic physical tension and emotional stress that disconnects us from our deeper selves. This can lead to disease. In this state intuition is clouded; life's purpose is confused, and there are difficulties forming healthy relationships.
The Connections of Spiritual Health
If the body is sick, the mind worries and the spirit grieves; if the mind is sick, the body and spirit will suffer from its confusion; if the spirit is sick, there will be no will to care for the body or mind.-J.R. Worsley
The more spiritually connected you are, the closer you are to the love, energy, joy, vitality and wisdom of your source. The goal of all spiritual and/or religious practices is to teach you to commune with, be in the presence of, or connected to your soul, God, the universe or whatever term you wish to use. When you are spiritually healthy you are connected to the depths within you and the universe without.
A spiritually connected person is in harmony with their life's purpose and meaning. They are following their heart, trusting their instincts and are sensitive to the laws and powers that create and recreate reality at every moment. There is more sensitivity, inspiration, empathy, compassion and intuition. There is more intuition, synchronicity (meaningful coincidences) and meaning unfolding in your life. Such people speak of having "peak experiences," of feeling connected, or of communing with those around them, humanity, a loving nature, God or a loving presence. They feel joy, happiness and peace in these states.
The spiritually disconnected person is separated from the love, energy, joy and vitality of their source. Out of touch with their deepest needs and desires a sense of isolation, loneliness, confusion and fear permeate and harm both mind and body. One's will to live is weakened and life lacks vision and meaning. One's purpose in life is clouded.
Chiropractic has discovered a powerful "disconnection" in your body called the vertebral subluxation (subluxation). This is a physical condition that interferes with the flow of energy and information from your source and can affect physical, emotional and spiritual health. The result is dis-ease, a communications disease, where you are less than whole, slightly dis-integrated, slightly fragmented. Chiropractors are especially trained to locate and correct or remove subluxations.
In addition to the older goal of helping the patients to solve their particular psychological problems and overcome their pain, of "curing" them, we have the added goal of helping them sing their own unique song in life, to beat out their special music in being, relating, creating. This is the goal of "healing."-Lawrence LeShan, Ph.D.
Reconnecting to your inner healer is chiropractic's goal. Chiropractic care permits your body/mind to gently release old stress so your powerful natural healing ability may flow from your source and begin a process of reconnection.
The process of reconnecting and healing is a fascinating adventure. Sometimes this process appears effortless; sometimes it seems difficult and painful. Often it is both. As we reconnect, locked energies may be released, painful memories revived, stored toxins stirred, hurtful experiences re-experienced. This process of reawakening is called retracing.
As old energies dissipate you become sensitive to the deeper layers of your being. As your spine and nervous system release stress you begin to tune into the deeper laws of life that guide you and you become more sensitive to the unseen hand that is always directing you to greater wholeness, awareness, growth and wisdom.
What Do Chiropractors Do?
*Part of the ADIO life and world view point series
It is important to us that you not only understand what we are doing for you at this chiropractic office but why we are doing it. One of the biggest reasons why people do not refer others for care is because they are not exactly sure what we do. Either they misunderstand or they are simply unable to communicate it. The basic principles of chiropractic are actually quite simple, so simple in fact, that anyone should be able to explain them to family, friends and associates.
A few of the basic concepts taught to chiropractic students are so important that everyone under chiropractic care should have an understanding of them. One such concept is called the "Safety Pin Cycle." This is a simple illustration of how the body works (note its resemblance to its name).
The brain sends out messages to all of the cells of the body (i.e., tissue cells) via the efferent (EFF) pathway (that is the part of the nervous system that carries messages leaving the brain). The cells report back to the brain about their condition and needs via the afferent (AFF) pathway. In this way, the brain controls all of the functions of our bodies. While this drawing is not exactly physiologically or anatomically correct, it is adequate to describe the transmission of the nervous impulse throughout the body.
If there is interference in this communication, it reduces the body's ability to act and react. The tissue cell cannot remain in perfect organization if there is an alteration in the communication in the efferent system. This is exactly what occurs in the case of a subluxation. Misalignment of one of the bones of the spine (subluxation) can interfere with and alter the message from the brain to the cells of the body. This ultimately changes the function of the cells, and over time, the condition of the entire body.
Of course, we would not expect that our practice members would discuss efferent and afferent pathways with their friends and family, but they could describe what a chiropractor does in a fashion similar to the following:
"It's important for everyone to be under chiropractic care because small misalignments in the bones of the spine, called subluxations, can cause interference in the nervous system and keep your body from working as effectively as it should or could. Everyone knows that the brain controls the entire functioning of the body. It does this by sending messages from the brain down the spinal cord and out along all of the nerves to every cell in your body. Spinal misalignments (subluxations) can interfere with this communication and keep your body from working the way it should." (To see why vertebral subluxations are bad read next article).
It is important to share what you know about chiropractic with the people around you so their bodies can work as effectively as possible. Let them know how you have benefited from care. You do not need to give them some lengthy, technical explanation about how the nervous system works, just that the body will always work better without interference. That's not only what chiropractors do, but why we do it.
So Really, How Bad Is A Vertebral Subluxation?
One of the most difficult concepts to get across to the public is the devastating effects of vertebral subluxation. We could show you all kinds of diseases and say vertebral subluxation causes those diseases. But that would not be quite honest. That would be like saying that being a couch potato and not exercising regularly causes heart disease. It is undoubtedly a factor but there are other factors also. No one can possibly say what is the major factor or the cause. In addition to that, chiropractors do not want to focus on a negative like disease. We would rather be proactive, to talk about getting adjusted regularly to maintain your health and reach your full potential in every area of life. But unfortunately, some of us are only motivated by fear, the fear of being sick or dying from some horrible disease. So for those people let's take a minute to talk about just how bad this thing called a vertebral subluxation really is.
When there is a subluxation in your spine, your digestive system will not work at its full potential. Your body cannot produce the exact quantity and quality of chemicals necessary to digest the food that you eat. The food will not be absorbed into your body as it should because the cells involved in absorption are not working as they should because the food was not digested and broken down properly. Those organs, tissues, and cells involved with changing absorbed foods into flesh and blood will not work properly without a good nerve supply. When there is a subluxation in your spine, your immune system is not working as it should. The organs and cells involved in keeping you resistant to viruses and bacteria are working at less than their potential, making you more susceptible to sickness and disease. When you are subluxated you cannot think, learn, concentrate, remember, or create as well. The ability to handle all types of stress is decreased, your emotional balance is off, relationships are altered, your coordination at work and in sports is lessened, and energy levels are decreased. With so many chemicals, toxins and poisons in our food, air, water, not to mention those we purposely put in our bodies because we "enjoy" them we must keep our elimination system working as close to perfect as possible. The bowels, the kidneys, and other organs of elimination cannot work properly with an interference in the nerve system, decreasing your ability to deal with toxins and poisons. The list can go on and on. Just know that a vertebral subluxation affects every part of your body because every part of your body in one way or another is dependent upon a properly functioning nerve system.
A vertebral subluxation affects the entire body. In this day and age when there are so many stresses upon the body (chemical, physical, and mental) we cannot afford to have an improperly functioning nerve system. We cannot be sure about the quality of the water that we drink or the air that we breathe. We cannot know for sure that our body is getting all the nutrients that we need from our food sources. We cannot help being exposed to microorganism, many of which are more powerful than ever because of their ability to adapt to attempts to destroy them with drugs. We can do nothing about the genetics weaknesses that we inherited from our parents. But by keeping our nerve system free of vertebral subluxation, we can be sure that any potential that we have will be expressed as well as possible.
Hopefully by now you realize how devastating vertebral subluxation is. It may not be the most dramatic negative effect on the body. Surely, getting hit by a truck is worse. But there is probably no other single entity that can have such widespread negative effects on your body. Keep it free of subluxations by getting adjusted regularly.
Life or Death Postulates
Man is either alive, or he's dead.
If he's alive, there's a reason.
If he's dead, there's a reason.
Man is either healthy, or he's sick.
If he's healthy, there's a reason.
If he's sick, there's a reason.
If he's healthy, there's a logical,
reasonable, and consistent explanation.
-B.J. Palmer, D.C.
The above statement is the essence of chiropractic philosophy. Chiropractic bases its practice on clear, logical reasoning. While there must be a reason, or perhaps many reasons for disease, it is more important to find the logical, reasonable and consistent reason for health. Addressing health is far more important than addressing disease. If you get rid of a disease but do not restore health, a void remains. Into that void will come another disease or perhaps the same one will return. You must have health; it is prerequisite to getting well and to the prevention of disease.
The logical reason for a lack of health is that the body is not functioning as it should. In fact, that may very well be the true definition of health, a state in which each and every cell in the body is working as it should. If we follow the logic of this thinking, it would make sense to examine the body and determine if the body is working properly and if it is not, why it is not. We in the chiropractic profession believe that we have found a cause. We admit that we have not looked further for other reasons why the body may work at less than perfect efficiency. There may be others; we just have not looked for them. The reason is that the cause we in chiropractic have found involves the nerve system, the master system of the body, which is concerned with the organization of every activity, the production of every chemical, and the running of every cell. Further, we have found that interference in this nervous system occurs in just about everybody and occur at the level of the vertebral column. This is enough to keep us busy.
What is the reason for sickness? That is the job of the medical doctor to determine that reason or reasons. It may be that one of the reasons for a disease, a major one, is a lack of health. The problem is that medicine is not looking for a lack of health, which is inside the person. They are looking for outside causes, bacteria, viruses, the environment, the weather, stress, as well as things you put into your body. It may be that there is some importance to those things but a lack of health, a body not working properly, is present in every situation. The medical doctor does not look for that. He cannot be expected to. He was not trained to do that. That is the role of the chiropractor, to find that one cause, an interference in the nerve system at the vertebral level. In correcting those subluxations, the body will work better in all situations under all circumstances. That is a prerequisite to a healthy body.
How's Your Body Chemistry?
When was the last time somebody asked you that? Probably never. People may ask you how you feel or how is your headache or how is your leg doing, but they never ask about your body's chemistry. Yet that may be the most important factor in your life and health. They do not ask because you cannot tell them, and you cannot tell them because you just do not know. In fact, no one can really know what his or her body chemistry should be. You see everyone is different and only your body knows what your own chemistry should be. What are your normal blood sugar, histamine, adrenaline, cortisone, and serotonin levels at this very moment? You don't know, you can't know nor can you know what it should be. No one does and there are thousands of other chemicals that are vital to your life and health. Science is not even able to guess what is the average for many of these chemicals, let alone what is normal for any particular person. There are, more than likely, some that have not even been discovered yet. Everyone's body chemistry is different and everyone reacts differently to changes in body chemistry.
You need look no further than your local bar to prove this point. The consumption of alcohol changes your body chemistry and changes in your body chemistry effect how you react and perform. When some people drink alcohol, changes in their body chemistry makes them belligerent, while others may become mellow. Some become withdrawn, others are the life of a party. Some become somber, almost morose and others laugh and have a good time. Some get sick or have a hangover the next day and others seem to experience no after effects. One thing we do know about alcohol, it affects your judgment, your reflexes, your reaction time and your eye-hand coordination. That is why the law will not allow you to drive a motor vehicle when your blood alcohol level reaches a certain point. But who established that point? Like every chemical, and alcohol is a chemical, the proper level is probably different for everyone. Some people, well within the legal limits for blood alcohol, may still be functioning so poorly that driving an automobile could be fatal. This is but one chemical. There are literally hundreds, maybe thousands of chemicals in the body all of which affect your body's performance in one way or another.
There is another aspect of body chemistry that is important to your chiropractor. You see the millions of glands and cells that produce all the chemicals in your body are controlled by the nerve system. You cannot perform any function in life without the production of chemicals. Everything from laughing to sleeping, to digesting food depends upon the production of chemicals and doing those things at your best depends upon having just the right chemicals produced in just the right amounts. If there is an interference in your nerve system due to what chiropractors call a vertebral subluxation, then your body chemistry is going to be altered and your body will not work as it should. Chiropractors do not know what your body chemistry should be. As we said before, no one but the inner wisdom of your body knows what your body chemistry should be, what chemicals need to be produced, when they are needed and in what amounts. But one thing your chiropractor does know. He or she knows when there is a vertebra out of place in your spine, when there is interference in your nerve system that is altering the message from the brain to the millions of little chemical factories in your body and upsetting your body chemistry. What is more, the chiropractor can correct that nerve-interfering subluxation quickly and efficiently so that your body has the greatest opportunity of normalizing your body chemistry and keeping it normal. Regular visits to your chiropractor are vital to every aspect of your life and your health, including your body chemistry.