THE SPINAL COLUMN
ALPHA CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER
One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters. -- English Proverb
Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad. -- Anonymous
I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.
-- Sigmond Freud
A father is a man who expects his children to be as good as he meant to be. -- Carol Coats
To her the name of father was another name for love. -- Fanny Fern
Fathers are a child's protector and a hero in their eyes.
They are a child's best coach and fan.
A father clears the path so the child can discover all about life.
He gives us smiles of hope and holds us tenderly.
He is a teacher by example of what a man can be.
"With great power comes great responsibility." Co-creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko first wrote this classic line in a Spiderman comic book back in 1962. As a comic book collector since the age of 12, I was very happy to see a comic book story break box office records last month. While not a big Spiderman fan, I found the movie to be very motivating and entertaining. Ok, I loved it. Anyway, it inspired me to write this article. I just love that first sentence.
There is another saying that says, "Knowledge is power." Now, if "knowledge is power" and "with great power comes great responsibility," would it make sense to say the following? With the acquisition of a vast knowledge comes a required vast responsibility. And so it is with Chiropractic. It is our knowledge, not our belief, that the universe is a purposeful place with an intelligent design. That knowledge sets us apart from other healthcare professions and people in general. This is the reason why some people look at you the way they do when you are telling them something about Chiropractic.
We know something that others do not know or choose not to accept. We know when others just believe. We see what others, at this time, cannot see. We see, taste, smell, touch, and hear the simplicities of the universe where others merely perceive complexities. We are a ribbon of change, of simplicity, of love, that is unfolding in the universe right now. Millions are awakening to this simplicity, this knowledge every year. Our adjustments to their spine and way of thinking are what these people are receiving. Their own observation of the changes in their body, their attitude, and their life, after the adjustments, starts them on this journey of understanding.
The adjustment is truly a powerful thing. It is NOT, however where the true power resides. The adjustment is merely the medium, the key that chiropractors utilize to unlock the patient's inner power. The true power resides within each and every one of us. Within chiropractic the true power resides in our knowledge, our knowledge of the Science, of the Art, and the important glue that holds it all together, the Philosophy. They also say in those antismoking commercials "Knowledge is contagious. Infect truth." If there is anything that you want loved ones to "catch" it should be knowledge.
I know that it is hard sometimes to talk to someone about chiropractic, and I have trouble too at times. It is especially difficult explaining it to your family. They are sometimes the most difficult ones to reach for that awakening that you are trying so desperately to achieve. Keep on them and they will come around. Hopefully, when they do, it will not be too late. At first they may only believe. This is a critical stage for them. In this stage they are relying on your knowledge, your power, for most belief is done blindly. Your power will be tested to the extremes during this stage and for some people they will forever remain in this stage. Talk with me if you ever need help discussing any aspects of chiropractic.
The first stage of a patient consists typically of fear, then faith, and finally knowledge. Each step involves a different type of awakening and realization about themselves, about life, and about the universe. Each time the understanding becomes simpler and more obvious that at times it can be frustrating when others don't understand what you understand. Believe me. I've been there.
Remember our Knowledge is our Power and with this tremendous power comes a great responsibility. The responsibility that we have is to "infect" truth / knowledge. This calling for Chiropractic is both a gift and a curse and at different times you may see it in these different lights. Hold strong and let the knowledge flow, and watch a life, a community, a country, and/or the world change for the better because you took the time to talk to someone about chiropractic. Remember, "With great power (knowledge) comes great responsibility."
Just because something is advertised as "natural" does not mean it is good for you. "All-natural" is a marketing ploy utilized by many in the food industry today to attract baby-boomers with their ever-increasing health consciousness. This is certainly true for products like some oat-bran cereals (which can be loaded with sugar) and no- or low-fat snacks (which usually have chemicals and other additives to improve taste and/or consistency), but it is also true for things like vitamins and minerals. Just because vitamins are "naturally-occurring" does not mean they can be taken with reckless abandon and we have to be careful not to fall for the common consumer trap.
For example, a recent one-page ad in a women's magazine stating the importance of calcium consisted mostly of a beautiful young child (probably just a few months old). The ad was black and white except for four tablets in pretty pastel colors, which ran along the bottom of the page and cast shadows shaped like hearts (also in pretty pale pastels) and a medicine bottle with a bright yellow label. The ad read, "Somebody loves you, please take your Tums." While it is true that you are important, you are loved, and you should make sure to have adequate calcium (as the ad further states), none of these have anything to do with taking an over-the-counter antacid. I understand that some women have trouble getting enough calcium in their diets, whether it be because they have trouble digesting certain foods or because of their poor diets. But does it make sense to fulfill that requirement by taking a drug - a drug whose primary mechanism of action is counteracting the naturally-occurring chemistry of the stomach? Another interesting fact is that proper calcium absorption is best done in an acidic environment, so using an antacid really defeats the whole purpose. I know some people who say they have to take an antacid anyway so they choose Tums for the calcium. What will it take for these people to reevaluate the food they are ingesting? The food they eat is not only not providing them with proper nourishment (if they lack calcium), but it is actually making them sick!!! Or, maybe the food is not the issue, but a subluxation that is affecting their body chemistry and digestion may be the issue.
On another note, just because something is good for you does not mean that more of it is better for you. For example, exercise is good for you but running a marathon clearly does more damage to your health than it does good. Similarly, vitamin C, has been lauded since the early 1900's when it was discovered that British sailors who went for months on ships without fresh fruits developed scurvy, a disease caused by a vitamin C deficiency. Since then, and especially recently, vitamin C has been found to have antioxidant properties and researchers now believe it may lower your risk of cancer. But wait-before you go buy stock in Sunkist-too much of certain vitamin C can clearly be harmful to DNA, and may contribute to cancer, heart problems, and other conditions. So again, you need to determine what type and amount will be the balance you need.
Oddly enough, people have a similar reaction to chiropractic. They think if it is natural they should be able to do it themselves and/or that more is better. The fact is unless someone checks your spine for subluxations (and the only people qualified to do that are chiropractors); there is no way to know if you even need an adjustment. A specific chiropractic adjustment is given for the purpose of removing interference in the nerve system caused by a vertebral subluxation (misalignment of one of the spinal bones causing nerve interference). Regarding the issue of frequency, the only right time to give an adjustment is when there is a subluxation. So if there are no subluxations, an adjustment is neither required nor given. Whether subluxations are found in your spine once a month, once a week, or even once a day, the best time to remove the interference is immediately. The only way to know if you need an adjustment is to have your spine checked on a regular basis. There is no substitute or supplement for a chiropractic adjustment. Adjustments are safe and effective at removing interference in the nerve system due to vertebral subluxation and promote health by allowing your body to function better naturally - no gimmicks.
Patients often ask what position is best for sleeping. This is a complicated issue for which there are no definitive answers, but there are several general recommendations for a healthy night's sleep. My suggestion would be for you to experiment and see what works best for you.
If you have a healthy spine, the best position for you to sleep in is whatever position allows you to fall asleep the fastest. Your spine will be able to adapt to almost any reasonable position. Some of the positions I've seen my son sleep in look bizarre and painful, but because he's been under care since birth, they do not cause him any problems. Most people toss and turn at night, but some tend to spend the longest time in the first position they fall asleep in.
Unfortunately, people who ask me this question do not usually have healthy spines (at least not until they have been under care for a while). From an anatomical standpoint, it is recommended that you should avoid sleeping on your stomach. Stomach sleeping puts your spinal joints in a very unwanted position. It will jam them together and can cause irritation of the joints and structures around them. Stomach sleeping can be a contributing factor in acute torticollis (stiff neck), headaches, and dizziness. When a person lies on his stomach with his head turned sharply to the side to breathe, a vertebra will be in a better position to become subluxated in that rotated position. Upon awakening, a stiff neck, dizziness or a headache may be present. Often, the case of patient awakening with a painful, stiff neck has been traced back to stomach sleeping. The stiff neck was there when he awakened. He didn't go to bed with it and it didn't just develop later in the day.
It is also important to sleep with the right kind of pillow. A pillow that is too thick or too thin can cause subluxations that can also contribute to neck problems or headaches. Many times, this is evidenced when people sleep on a thick pillow in a motel while on vacation. They will often arrive home with a stiff neck and seek out an adjustment as soon as possible. Ideally, you should sleep with a pillow that helps to maintain your spinal curves.
A person with a sway back or too much arch in the lower back, will tend to awaken with a low backache if he sleeps lying on his back or on his stomach. If you have a sway back, it has been suggested that you'll find it more comfortable to lie on your side while sleeping with your knees bent slightly.
If you choose to use the traditional two-piece innerspring mattress, it is important that you have a good quality, reasonably firm mattress so your back can have some good support. Just because a mattress carries a guarantee of fifteen or twenty years, don't expect it to give you good support for that amount of time. Even a good quality mattress will not render good support for the average sized person for more than five to ten years. If your mattress is older than that, and you're waking up with the "morning back-ache", it would be wise to purchase a new mattress and see your chiropractor about the subluxations that the old, worn out mattress may have caused.
People also ask me if I would advise them to sleep on an innerspring mattress or if a waterbed is better for them. This generally is a matter of personal preference. Certain health professionals agree that some people's backs respond best on the traditional mattress while others do better on the type of support offered them by a waterbed.
Regular adjustment by your chiropractor will help to give you a healthy spine that will allow you to adapt to many different positions and greatly enhance your ability to get a good night's sleep. While some people may never reach complete spinal health, they can minimize subluxations and sleep related problems by maintaining the proper sleeping posture, using the right kind of pillow and good mattress support. While these suggestions may not be the answer for everyone, they will better assure you of a restful night's sleep and the best possible chance to awaken prepared for the next day's adventure.
If It's Not Broke, Don't Fix It!?!
This saying may be a humorous one but there is a good deal of insightful truth behind it. Many of us laughed at the antics of Tim, "the Tool Man" Taylor on the television sitcom, Home Improvement, who was always trying to improve upon some appliance that was already working perfectly. His disastrous results should be a lesson to us of the danger of trying to make something that is already working just fine, work better. Fortunately for us, we rarely think we have the expertise to fool around with a complicated piece of machinery. We would be afraid to try to improve upon the inner workings of an electric dishwasher. Yet that very situation happens all the time relative to the human body.
Our body has a built-in mechanism to heal itself, factory installed, if you will. The human body is more complex, more intricately and more perfectly designed than anything built by Hoover, Panasonic, or General Electric. Despite knowing that, we are constantly trying to improve upon it. We believe that a drug can make it work better, heal faster or function properly.
The chiropractic idea is not to do any of the above but simply to remove an interference to the body performing its function in a perfect and timely manner. The sad part is that we are often able to make the body work faster or perform functions better by the use of drugs, but we also suffer the consequences of that approach just as the Tool Man causes vacuum cleaners and food processors to explode by trying to give them "more power."
Sadder and closer to home, we have all seen and read of the damage that the "bigger, faster, better" drugs can have on people, sometimes even death. For example, athletes take steroids to build muscles faster and bigger to increase their performance but suffer complications with their hearts because it too is a muscle. Our bodies build muscle at their own pace. We are all different, some have the natural ability to build muscle faster and some slower. If we try to exceed that ability, harmful effects will be the result.
There is another aspect to this "If it's not broke, don't fix it" philosophy. Often people will use this as an excuse for not being adjusted on a regular basis. This is another way of saying, "There is nothing wrong with me, I feel fine." The fact is that if there is a subluxated vertebra in your spine interfering with the proper function of the nerve system, you are NOT fine. There is something "broke." In fact, the most important system in the body, the nerve system, is "broken." The inborn wisdom of your body, which controls and coordinates the function of every cell in the body, is not free to do its job. Your body is simply not working as it should. The results of that will eventually be disastrous.
Just because it is not noticeable at first does not mean that dysfunction is not occurring or that the damage is not accumulating within the body. Let's remember that almost all diseases in the body occur over a long period of time. The symptoms are almost always the last "sign" that something is wrong. In many diseases like heart disease or cancer, symptoms are often felt too late. Many people have had a deadly heart attack as their first sign of heart disease. For others, cancer has taken large portions of body before they experience symptoms.
To use an analogy, when your car just begins to burn or leak oil, you do not notice it. Further, if the warning system is not working properly, you may continue driving the car, completely unaware, until your car is permanently damaged. That is why it is smart to have the oil level in your car checked regularly. Luckily, you can always replace your car, but you are stuck with your nervous system for the rest of your life. For that reason, it is in the best interest of your health and life to have your spine checked regularly for vertebral subluxations even if it does not appear to be "broke!"
Inductive and Deductive Reasoning
If you were to measure 20 carrots, and found that they were all between six and eight inches long, you might conclude that all carrots were in that size range. The manner of logic you used to draw your conclusion is called inductive reasoning. According to the philosopher John Stuart Mill, one of its chief proponents, we are using inductive reasoning when we conclude "that what is true of certain individuals of a class, is true of the whole class, or what is true at a certain time will be true in similar circumstances at all times."
He argued that this logic is possible because there is a certain "uniformity" in nature which allows for such conclusions to be made. The classical example used to illustrate inductive reasoning is the "fact" that all human beings are mortal. To prove this "fact" however, all human beings would have to be dead already. Obviously, some of us are still around! How can we be sure that one of us won't live forever? We can't. However, through inductive reasoning, we can conclude that there is an extremely high probability that all human beings are mortal.
Many scientific "laws" are a result of inductive reasoning - -even though it is, a matter of probability. Astronomer Johannes Kepler, for instance, noted the position of the planet Mars during several points of its orbit. Working on the assumption that natural orbits maintain a uniform geometry, he induced that the orbit had to be in the shape of an ellipse. In fact, if you were to actually calculate the planet's position during ALL of the points of orbit, it would in fact, trace an almost perfect ellipse. No one has ever discovered a planet that didn't follow his principle, which has become known as "Kepler's Law" of planetary orbit.
No one has discovered an exception, so far that is. As the study of the universe expands, we cannot know with certainty what we will encounter. Other scientific "facts" drawn from inductive logic, have crumbled as a new price of evidence was found. The weakness with inductive reasoning, then, is that it relies on partial knowledge to draw conclusions about "truth". In the case of medical science this weakness can be harmful if not tragic. When medical researchers draw their own conclusions on what is right for ALL people based on what they have observed to be right for SOME people, they run the risk of doing irreparable harm to many people. Hundreds of people die each day from the use of medications or medical procedures that worked fine when tested on select individuals in a study, but when unleashed on the public wreaks havoc with health. Most of the side effects of medications will not be known until the general public has used them for a while. Hopefully, they are not so horrendous that they kill or seriously harm too many people
Another example is appendectomies. Medical doctors had studied this curious organ for a long time and never found a useful purpose for it. They concluded that therefore, it had no useful purpose. When it became inflamed or otherwise troublesome, they removed it. It took years for the medical profession to admit that its reasoning was incorrect, and to seek other means of treating appendicitis. Now some researchers believe that it may function in some part of our immune response.
Medical science still stands by most of its other conclusions, however, even though they were arrived at by the same reliance on inductive reasoning. Moreover, it adheres to the "rules" with a rigidity that often doesn't allow for individual differences. Scientists discovered that the average temperature for a human being is 98.6° Fahrenheit. If you have at 99.3° temperature, you're said to be "running a fever " and you're given medications to bring the temperature back to "normal".
The problem with this type of reasoning is obvious. No one perfectly fits the profile of the "average" human being- -not in height, weight, or even body temperature. It is incorrect to conclude that the correct temperature for all members of the human race is the same as the "average" temperature of a sample of individual members. There can be severe health risks when things are don to place people in those "average" ranges.
Long ago clothing manufacturers realized that all people are different. They would love it if all size 12 people were exactly the same. They wouldn't have to produce a size 12 petite as well as a size 12 tall, medium, and large. Even so, it seems impossible at times to find something that fits right! The only way to get a really good fit is to have the item custom-made.
If you go to a tailor and order a new outfit, someone takes your exact measurements. Can you imagine the tailor saying, "The average human being is 5' 7" tall, 180 pounds, with a 34" inseam. I'll use those measurements to make your wardrobe?" You would no doubt, look for a new tailor. Yet, because of the total reliance on inductive reasoning, science - - particularly medical science - - uses "off the rack" diagnoses, remedies, and medications. They routinely begin to stitch a wardrobe together using only "average" measurements. Is it any wonder, then, that their "suits" seldom fit right?
Inductive Reasoning goes from the small to the large, from the part to the whole, from one to all.
As we saw, inductive reasoning goes from the small to the large. That is, it makes observations about individual parts and, based on that knowledge draws conclusions about the whole. Deductive reasoning turns that thinking around. It starts with the major premises and, based on those ideas, deduces the truth about each individual part of the whole.
For example, let's assume that we accept, as our major premise, that telling a lie is wrong. Once we decide that this premise is "true", it automatically follows, by deductive reasoning, that it is wrong if you lie, if the man down the street lies, if a leader of a foreign country lies, if anyone lies. The basic premise applies to everything, everywhere at every time - - without exception.
Many of the premises upon which we base our deductive reasoning are universally accepted because they are considered "self-evident truths". These are the axioms which must merely be taken for granted because they cannot or need not be proved.
One of my favorite stories concerning the use of deductive reasoning involved B.J. Palmer (the developer of chiropractic) and a medical doctor. A medical doctor sat next to B.J. on a train leaving from Davenport, Iowa, which was the town where Palmer Chiropractic College was located. The MD struck up a conversation with B.J. and wanted to know if he knew anything about those "crazy" chiropractors. B.J. had stated that he did know a lot about those crazy chiropractors, since he was from Davenport at which point the MD was starting to get interested.
B.J. said that chiropractors believe that if you cut off a person's head that they will die. The MD said that's not crazy, anyone can see that.
B.J. said that those crazy chiropractors also believe that if you were to violently snap a person's neck as with a hanging, they would die. Again the MD said that that wasn't bizarre.
B.J. also said that those chiropractors believe that if a vertebrae severely bruises the spinal cord through some type of severe injury, you can cause paralysis. Again the MD said that that wasn't so outrageous.
B.J. said that these chiropractors also believe that if one of those spinal bones misaligns it can cause an irritation to the spinal cord and spinal nerve to the extent that it can cause the body to function at less than it is capable of functioning. This can lead to all types of health problems and a decreased quality of life for that person. The MD was stunned by this logic and completely silenced for the rest of the trip.
Other premises are arrived at through long, careful, analysis and study. For instance, scientists formulated a theory about "black holes" based on basic premises regarding gravity and mass. For many years, they never found a single example of such a phenomena, but that did not lessen their belief in the premise. If the over-riding principles were correct, then the premise had to be correct. Finally, they were able to find the physical evidence which verified the premise.
The single most important premise of chiropractic philosophy is that there is an intelligent order to the universe, which gives to matter its properties and actions, thus maintaining its existence. It is becoming equally accepted by the "new" quantum physics, astronomy, biology, and many other sciences. No longer can anyone study the universe and believe it, and each part of it, is random. There is an order which organizes it and allows it to survive and continue.
Once we accept this major premise - - that the universe as a whole is guided by an intelligent order - - we may logically conclude that each part of the universe is also guided by that intelligence. This applies to everything, everywhere, at every time. We will discuss the implications of this major premise in upcoming newsletters.
Just as there are weaknesses with inductive reasoning, there can be flaws in deductive reasoning. The most obvious danger comes in formulating and accepting the major premises. The assumptions must either be so self-evident that no reasonable person could possibly object, or one which can be proven by clinical studies or physical observations. These premises cannot be adopted merely as matters of blind faith, which fly in the face of all evidence (the earth is flat--a premise which once was considered a known "fact").
To arrive at truth, it is best to use a combination of both deductive and inductive logic. Starting with deductive reasoning, we can formulate a basic premise upon which all else can follow. Then, through clinical studies and inductive reasoning, we can verify the accuracy of that premise.
Unlike much of modern medicine, chiropractic uses this ideal combination. It starts with the major premise that there is order to the universe. Spreading out from that point, we can assume that each part of the universe, including the human body, is also organized in an orderly intelligent fashion.
Based on this premise, chiropractic was developed as a way to minimize the interference to this natural order in the human body. But chiropractic does not stop there. It also uses the inductive method to study individuals and relate those specific cases to the "bigger" picture. Its extensive clinical and survey research has helped to prove, in concrete and scientifically-acceptable terms, both the efficacy of chiropractic and the truth behind chiropractic philosophy.
But for chiropractors, the emphasis is on the "The Big Idea", the major premise in which all knowledge and conclusions are rooted. For it is only when we see that big idea clearly that the truths about each one of us, and every living thing in the universe, can be better understood.
Deductive Reasoning: the sum of the parts is
MORE than just some of its parts!