THE SPINAL COLUMN
ALPHA CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER
There is an old saying, success is a two-edged sword. It is especially true in the entertainment industry. Many an actor has lamented over being "type cast." As much
as he or she might want to play more serious roles, if the public sees the person as a comedian, well a serious part might be pretty hard to get. Some actors are okay with that. They resign
themselves to play the part that the public expects of them, and if they do it well they will probably make a good living. Yet, I cannot help but think that deep down inside, they suffer some feeling
of frustration or unfulfillment.
When it comes down to it, there are probably millions of people in all walks of life in the same situation. The person who is a successful corporate executive who yearns to have his own business. There are many stories of people who give up successful careers because all their life they wanted to be an artist, a musician, or a farmer or to drive an 18-wheeler across the country.
There is no doubt that chiropractic has achieved a level of success. There are over 50,000 chiropractors in the United States alone. It has been estimated that as many as 68% of the public have been to a chiropractor. The medical profession has begun to acknowledge the value of chiropractic. We have "arrived" as part of mainstream health care. But you know what? Many chiropractors feel unfulfilled.
You see chiropractic has been "type cast" as a treatment for bad backs and stiff necks. The public, for the most part, thinks chiropractors are doctors who take care of musculoskeletal problems and there is good reason for that perception. Millions of people with those types of problems have been helped by chiropractic many of whom were unable to receive relief anywhere else. Chiropractic can help musculoskeletal conditions.
Consequently, the medical community and even some in our own profession want us to fill that niche. They figure the public knows us in that role, and we have achieved success in that role. Why disturb the status quo. Many in our profession, however, are not satisfied with that role. It is not that we think we can do more and it is not that there is anything demeaning about helping people with bad backs. It is just that chiropractic is so much more.
Chiropractic is not about your back it is about your life. The correction of vertebral subluxation to restore the integrity of the nerve system is a service vital to every man woman and child on the planet. Every function, every activity, every aspect of one's life is improved and enhanced by having regular chiropractic adjustments, keeping the nerve channels open to all parts of the body.
A chiropractor who understands that and the importance of that service, would feel unfulfilled even as the most successful back doctor in the world.
Chiropractic, like the "type cast" comedian is a victim of its success. But more important, the public is a victim of that success. The only way to change that is to change people's perception. That will take an effort by the profession and by people who know chiropractic is not about your bad back, its about getting more out of life and expressing more of life. Help your chiropractor by telling someone the truth about chiropractic.
What can chiropractic do for your child? Why do millions of parents bring their children to a Chiropractor every year? Is it only for highly dramatic health conditions? Is it only for when my child is hurting? Not at all!!
Chiropractic's purpose is to remove interferences to the natural healing power running through the body. When that power is unleashed the healing that results may be profound.
Chiropractors Do Not Treat Disease
It's most important to understand that chiropractic is not a treatment for disease. Its purpose is to remove vertebral subluxations. Subluxations interfere with the proper functioning of the nervous system, can weaken internal organs and organ systems, lower resistance, reduce healing potential and set the stage for sickness and disorders of all kinds.
When a chiropractor frees the nervous system from subluxations, the healing power of the body is unleashed: the immune system functions more efficiently, resistance to disease increases, and your child's body functions more efficiently. Your child can respond to internal and external environmental stresses such as germs, changes in temperature, humidity, toxins, pollen and all the other stresses he/she comes in contact with more efficiently.
So although children with diseases are often brought to the chiropractor, the chiropractor is not treating their diseases but is instead freeing them of subluxations, thus permitting their body's natural healing potential to function at its best.
What Exactly Are Subluxations?
Subluxations are misalignment or distortion of the spinal column, that irritate, stretch, impinge or otherwise interfere with the proper function of the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, spinal nerves and outlying or peripheral nerves). Since the nervous system controls the function of the body, any interference to it can have wide-ranging effects.
How Is A Subluxation Caused?
Subluxations can be caused by physical, chemical and/or emotional stress. Physical stress may start in the womb, with the baby lying in a distorted or twisted manner. Subluxations in newborns are more common than previously realized. This may be caused by a traumatic or difficult birth which can introduce great stress to the infant's skull, spinal column and pelvis. Even an easy birth causes subluxations more often than not.
Throughout childhood, the normal childhood traumas every child experiences can be a source of spinal and cranial trauma. Most of the time, the pain from the initial injury "goes away" however the damage incurred continues to affect the future function of the child's nerve system.
How Does the Chiropractor Correct Subluxations in Children?
This is accomplished first by analyzing the spinal column and related structures for balance and proper function. Where the spinal column is found to be functioning improperly, precise corrective adjustments are performed, gently and specifically to correct those abnormal areas. The spine regains its intended state of balance and the nerve system is freed from stress.
It's All About Function!
Today's parents are more concerned than ever about the adverse effects drugs have on their children. Parents are increasingly asking, when handed a prescription for a child's recurrent problem, "Is this really all I can do for my child? Is there a safer option? Can I do something to promote health?"
Parents are hesitant to merely mask symptoms with drugs and are worried about side effects. Their desire to achieve a state of true health - has led parents to seek health care options which support their children's own natural ability to be healthy.
Chiropractic care is one such option. All children function better with 100% nerve function. All children deserve the right to express their fullest potential. Chiropractic care for children is safe, gentle and effective. It allows for the opportunity for maximum potential for well-being.
It is difficult for some of us to realize that we live in a throw-away society. We shake our heads at people who want to throw things out when they do not work and who look at us incredulously when we suggest they try to get them repaired. Yet these people, in many ways, have kept up with the times. Things are no longer meant to be repaired. If something breaks down, you might as well replace it.
A few months ago, my computer's printer was in need of repair. When I bought it the cost was around $200. I use my computer constantly, so the thought of having it repaired made me anxious. I was surprised to find that the parts to repair were about $80. However, for about the same amount I could buy a whole new printer!
Today, the cost of one hour of labor to have an electric typewriter serviced would actually be more than the cost of a new electric typewriter. From talking with people that own photocopy machines, I learned that the manufacturer of their photocopy machine just stopped making parts to repair it. I am not sure whether this was done to force people to buy new ones because they no longer make parts or if they no longer make parts because everyone just buys a new one.
This trend is especially true in business where the costs of new machines can be written off as an expense but it is also true in the home. It does not pay to repair a broken VCR or most small appliances. Added to that is the fact that we have more electric appliances now than we ever had, including: bread machines, power screw drivers, blenders, fax machines, answering machines, on and on, etc.
This phenomenon extends even to automobiles. Of course, we still have auto mechanics but look how many people lease cars rather than buy them. Very few people buy a car with the idea of keeping it 10 or 15 years. Authorities say it is almost always less expensive to repair a car until it rusts away than it is to buy a new one, but we are programmed to get rid of it rather than repair it.
This change in our thinking creates a number of problems. In a time when we are concerned about recycling newspapers, glass containers and plastic and the ever-increasing number of landfills, we are simultaneously throwing out appliances and electronic equipment sometimes for the sake of a two-dollar part.
The result is yet another problem, a decreasing number of technical jobs. When foreign labor can make a VCR or a television cheaper than an American worker can repair it, the latter job is no longer necessary. This has tremendous economic repercussions both in jobs lost and in the balance of trade.
Perhaps the greatest problem, however, is the attitude that develops about how we care for things. Why bother taking care of an appliance or piece of equipment if you can just buy a new one. It really does not pay to maintain things or have them periodically checked.
Unfortunately, this same attitude often carries over into taking care of ourselves. Even though we realize that they make very few replacement parts that can be made for the human body, we are nevertheless, not accustomed to taking care of things and we neglect ourselves. The fact that we are constantly bombarded with medical ads for quick fixes (actually, not fixes, just quick suppression of obvious symptoms while the body continues to function abnormally) for everything from sinus headaches to indigestion only adds to our neglect. Many people do not change their lifestyle after angioplasty or even heart by-pass surgery. They know they can have it done again.
We must realize that there are certain natural laws that have consequences when violated. When a vertebra is subluxated, it interferes with the function of the nerve system and that impacts upon every aspect of one's life. You cannot reach or maintain your potential for health; performance at work and/or play is lessened and life's little problems often become magnified when your spine is subluxated. You just cannot get the most out of life.
It is nice to know that we are not relegated to the trash pile when something goes wrong in our body, but it is more important to realize that we must care for ourselves in order to have a full and productive life.
Depression is one of the most devastating and common diseases on the planet. It exacts a toll far more significant in pain and suffering than just about any other disease. It can impact many aspects of a person's health, especially their immune system.
The numbers are quite compelling. Treating depression with drugs is becoming quite common. The number of people treated over the ten-year period increased by over 300%.
New prescriptions written for six of the most widely prescribed antidepressants during 2000 include:
Sertraline (Zoloft) 10.7 million
Paroxetine (Paxil) 10.49 million
Fluoxetine (Prozac) 10 million
Citalopram (Celexa) 5.29 million
Venlafaxine (Effexor) 4.2 million
Nefazodone (Serzone) 2.34 million
Source: IMS Health
If you do the math, this totals to over 43 million people. This was before 9/11 so I can't imagine what the numbers must be up to now. The number of people being treated for depression has increased dramatically in the United States in the past decade, marking a profound shift in how Americans cope with the common emotional disorder, the most comprehensive study to date shows.
Drugs such as Prozac have become the mainstay for the vast majority of those being treated, even as doctors spend less time with patients and offer comparatively less psychotherapy. Psychiatrists say that most depression -- including major depression, in which patients may find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning or are suicidal -- still goes untreated.
An Article in USA TODAY last month stated that Antidepressants work only slightly better than a placebo (sugar pill), and the Food and Drug Administration has not informed physicians of how little benefit most of these drugs offer.
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, two psychologists obtained 47 studies used by the FDA for approval of the six antidepressants prescribed most widely between 1987-99.
Overall, antidepressant pills worked 18% better than placebos, a statistically significant difference, "but not meaningful for people in clinical settings," says University of Connecticut psychologist Irving Kirsch.
More than half of the 47 studies found that patients on antidepressants improved no more than those on placebos, Kirsch says. "They should have told the American public about this. The drugs have been touted as much more effective than they are." He says studies finding no benefit have been mentioned only on labeling for Celexa, the most recently approved drug. The others included in his evaluation: Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor and Serzone.
As if things weren't bad enough, a lawsuit has been filed in Florida after drug pushers (what would you call them?) began sending samples of Prozac in the mail to unsuspecting folks. It is still not clear how many people were sent the unsolicited drugs but the situation came to light when very concerned recipient filed an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against her doctors, her pharmacy, and Prozac maker Eli Lilly & Co.
According to news reports, this is the first time a powerful prescription drug sample has been sent via direct mailings. Some medical experts warned that unsolicited drug mailings are dangerous and may be illegal. You think?! Who checks the mail in your household, is it ever your kids?
Apparently the sender was a Walgreen's pharmacy that had "coupons" from the drug manufacturer for reimbursement. Some news sources are reporting that the case may likely be a violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. It is suspected that medical doctors acted as shills for the pharmaceutical companies and that patient trust and confidence was violated.
I find it interesting that while at the same time druggists are pushing Prozac by mail (for FREE) news is coming out that suggests antidepressants work only slightly better than placebos.
While these drugs seem to work well for some people; in not one single case did they solve the underlying foundational reason as to why the person was depressed.
I do not know enough about depression to make any bold statement as to what should be done medically for it. I have not lived a person's life and cannot judge them if they decide to use medication to deal with this problem. I hope that those taking these medications are completely aware of everything there is to know about these medications. The fact that you can download all the drug information you want off the Internet has to be very helpful. That being said, you have to wonder how many people are not seeing any "real" benefit from these drugs, yet still having to deal with the side effects seen or unseen.
You also have to be scratching your head when you see studies showing that a half hour of mild exercise like walking and being involved with religion show a quicker and better response in decreasing depression than drugs do. Were these things an option before drugs were given? Far from causing any adverse effects, these things do much to benefit a person.
Ok, so by now you are probably asking yourself, what's the connection with chiropractic? Only this. A subluxated spine produces nerve interference. One aspect of nerve interference is a change in body chemistry. This change causes an interruption of a precise sequence of chemical changes in your brain called the "brain reward cascade". If this cascade is not interrupted, you can feel a sense of well-being and pleasure. If this sequence is interrupted, it results in what is known as "reward deficiency syndrome". The brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters must be released in the right sequence, like falling dominoes, for you to be able to feel good.
Your sense of well-being, biomechanically, is seated in a part of the nervous system called the limbic system. It was originally thought to only be located in the brain, but Candace Pert, PhD discovered that it has outposts throughout the spinal cord. This means that if you have subluxations anywhere along the length of the spine, it can interfere with the proper operation of the limbic system and the flow of reward chemicals in your brain. This interference has led many people to seek mood-altering substances or activities and can be a factor in depression, anxiety, and other conditions.
In fact in a research study utilizing chiropractic adjustments to help drug addicts (see May 2001 Newsletter) there was an improvement in depression in four weeks of chiropractic care that would normally take over a year with the best medications we have for this condition (assuming the drugs actually worked). What was also found was an improvement in anxiety in four weeks that normally takes six months with the best medications out there for this condition. Now mind you these were hardcore drug addicts and they were able to obtain such incredible results. To say that these results were amazing would be a huge understatement. Especially since chiropractic is not a treatment for these or any other kind of condition. This is just a testament to what a properly functioning body can overcome.
I'm sure that there may be people who may always require some medication no matter what else is done for them. But imagine how many could be helped with chiropractic.
How We Rest
Rest is part of the cycle of life. The body needs time to repair itself and recoup energy. During your rest cycle, your energies are "turned inward" to allow cells to regenerate and your body to gather debris for elimination. Therefore, proper rest is vital to health.
So, what is proper rest? It is a state of complete relaxation, a state many of my patients haven't experienced in a long time. They think they rest, but they don't. They tell me, "I sleep 10 or 11 hours a night and I wake up just as tired as I was when I went to bed. How can this be?"
Well, thoughts and attitudes get in the way of healthful, restorative rest. Let's remember that by far the most common causes (although many time the least obvious) of subluxations are emotional stresses. These patients are as tense when they sleep as they are when they're awake. That's sleeping, not resting. Now compound this with subluxations. Subluxations disrupt the function of the nervous system, producing all the negative aspects related to this. One of those aspects is that it keeps the nervous system "tense" and drains you of energy - energy that could be used for repair, healing, or other recuperative functions.
When disturbing anxiety-provoking thoughts run rampant through your conscious mind as you finally fall asleep, you program patterns into your subconscious mind that dictate defense physiology. Falling asleep while you're in defense physiology "saves" that physiology on your mental "hard drive." You won't even need to think directly about the original thought to bring it up again.
All it takes to call up the whole defense physiology pattern again is to meander into a nearby thought neighborhood. Get close to the original thought with an associated thought in your mental musings and you hit the "restore" command for the original thought physiology: defend. You're designed to survive conscious physical threats. Responding to subconscious memory threats is physiology abuse.
Your body can't rebuild and repair when you crawl into bed at night exhausted, then lie there and re-live all of the frustrations, hurts, injustices, indignities, and general negativities of the day and the past. While having subluxations that further deplete your body of energy.
To solve the restless sleep problem, make conscious choices. When you go to bed, exercise your freedom of choice over your thoughts and refuse to allow negativity to creep into your consciousness. Always finish your day with positive thought. To help you keep negativity at bay at bedtime, don't watch the late night news on TV. That's nothing but negativity. If you must rehash the day's events, find favorable or positive aspects to think about.
Once you get to sleep, how much sleep is enough? This varies with each individual. Some of us require eight or nine hours each night. Others are ready to bounce out of bed and greet the world with only five or six hours of pillow time.
One way to find out how much sleep you need is to not set an alarm to wake you. When you allow yourself to wake naturally, your body reaches its own level of sleep-need. If you need an alarm to wake you in order to get to work on time, go to bed earlier. You were designed to go to sleep naturally for regular periods of relaxing, restful sleep and to awaken feeling refreshed. You weren't designed to need a pill to go to sleep, an alarm clock to wake up, and another pill to face the day.
If you usually wake up tired and draggy, try this exercise for a week. When you go to bed at night, concentrate on thinking positive thoughts. Focus on a positive aspect of each experience of the day, and on what you learned from each experience. Even if an experience appeared to be negative, find something positive about it. Concentrate on that positive. When you concentrate on positive thoughts and feeling, your conscious mind feeds "no-threat" signals to your subconscious mind and your body responds with relaxation. Very likely you will be surprised at how much better you feel not only when you get up in the morning but also throughout the day.
The essential area of rest is so important because during restful sleep, your body repairs and maintains itself. Internal "housekeeping," such as healing processes and preparing debris for elimination, takes place during restful sleep. Insufficient or ineffective rest interferes with these processes, and interference leads to exhaustion and paves the way for pain, symptoms, and disease. Regular restful sleep is a boon to performance of body, mind, and daily tasks. A well-rounded life of rest and work provides positive stimulation to body and mind. Paying attention to the essential choice of "rest" is vital to health, happiness, and success. Therefore, make sure your spine is free from subluxations so your body can make the most of its rest.
The spinal column or backbone is made up of 24 movable segments or vertebrae and the sacrum and coccyx. Among other functions, the spine protects the spinal cord. In openings between bones it allows for the passage of nerve trunks or spinal nerves. As they branch out, the nervous system makes a connection with just about every tissue cell of the body.
Over the nervous system pass the impulses which are literally the "spark of life." With proper impulse supply, health is present. Without normal impulse supply, proper function does not take place. This latter condition is termed DIS-EASE and may manifest itself in sickness or disease depending on the organ or organs affected.
Through accidents, bones of the spine may be forced out of normal position. This may cause pressure on the nerve or nerves and in so doing interfere with the normal function of carrying impulse supply. This is termed a vertebral subluxation. Organs and tissues cannot function normally.
The chiropractor locates the vertebrae that are out of position causing a pressure on the nerves.
By spinal adjustment, the vertebrae are replaced to normal position. This releases pressure from the nerves and allows for coordination or health to again be present in the body.
The spinal column is literally the switchboard controlling the nervous system. Its importance cannot be overlooked in either prevention of sickness or disease or the restoration of body function in the return to health.
A thorough spinal analysis and checkup should be made on every individual at regular intervals. In this way the nervous system could be kept free of pressures, thus assuring that within the body a coordinated control can be maintained at all times.
They May Depend on You
Chiropractic is a relatively new member of the healing arts. Having been discovered in 1895 and even with a growth that seems almost impossible, it nevertheless has had obstacles to overcome, barriers to breakdown, prejudice to tackle, biased opinions to eradicate and actually to meet the "dare" of some who would say "nothing else can help".
In spite of the brief years of its existence and the marvelous results obtained by literally millions who have been under chiropractic care, there are yet many who have never heard the story. Others have a partial knowledge which does not bear the basic principle upon which chiropractic is based. For instance, we have had people tell us, "If I get a crick in my neck, I'll go see a chiropractor", or "If I had a strained back, I'd go seek out a chiropractor."
There is no question that chiropractic is extremely beneficial for such cases, but it must be remembered that chiropractic is based on the premise that the brain is a human dynamo and in the brain all energy is created and to reach all areas of the body this energy, this life force, these impulses, must travel over the nervous system. If the kidneys do not get full and proper supply of nerve energy, then the kidneys cannot possibly function normally. The same is true of the stomach, the liver, the heart, etc. The chiropractor finds where the nerves are not "getting the messages through" as they should and sets out to "free" the trouble that exists and by so doing, normal expression of this energy is again restored and, all things being equal, health returns.
Countless people are today suffering and have unhealthy bodies caused by nerve interference when they could be enjoying good health if the subluxation were corrected. How will they know unless we who know tell them?
A crick in the neck? Sure, chiropractic may be just what is needed. A strained back? Possibly nothing else would be more helpful than chiropractic.
Let us remind you, however, to tell others how chiropractic works and why the nervous system is so important in maintaining good health. It is not our responsibility to convince but it should be our privilege to convey the facts as we know them and as we learn more and more we should tell more and more. They who are subluxated depend upon you. Do not fail them.