THE SPINAL COLUMN
ALPHA CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER
Happy Mother's Day
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.
- William M. Thackeray
There was never a great man who had not a great mother. - Olive Schreiner
God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers. -Jewish Proverb
Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins, but only one mother in the whole world. - Kate Douglas Wiggins
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household. And eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. -Proverbs 31:26-28
An Honor To Mothers
Mother, you know that you are dear to my heart, and because of that we will never part.
Through childhood days of gladness, sorrow, laughter and tears, you where always there with knowledge to share.
Now that I am grown and able to reflect. I have chosen those qualities which you exude best. Be it a winning smile, a kind word, or a helping hand, on you everyone can depend.
So on this special day mother, I am proud to say, that it is because of you these virtues shine through.
Understanding What We Do
One of the major differences between the practice of chiropractic and that of a therapeutic approach such as medicine is the desire to have knowledgeable, understanding patients. The physician often neither wants nor cares for the patient to know everything that he is doing. This is not a criticism; it just reflects the two different approaches. It is not necessary for the patient to understand the medical approach. They are totally uninvolved with the process. The patient does not participate in the surgery; he or she just lies there. The patient merely swallows the medication. Everything is done by the doctor. The practice of medicine is performed on the patient or done on the patient. Chiropractic is different.
Chiropractic is based upon the principle that the patient's body does the healing. The body maintains health and it actually makes the adjustment, using the force introduced into the spine by the chiropractor's hands. Second, chiropractic is directed toward health and increasing one's potential for an improved quality of life in all areas. Obviously, this takes cooperation on the part of the patient. We will adjust you so that you can get the maximum benefit from your exercise. But you still must do the exercise. We correct your subluxations so that your body, free of nerve interference, can get the maximum benefit from the food you eat. But we cannot eat the food for you. Chiropractic care is a cooperative effort, from the actual adjustment to the patient taking responsibility for being regular in his or her care.
The medical doctor thinks he is smarter than his patients so the patients should just do as they are told. The chiropractor works with your body's innate intelligence which is smarter than all the chiropractors and medical doctors in the world put together. As a result, it is the chiropractor's desire that you, the patient, learn more and more about the chiropractic way of life so that you can take a more active role in maintaining your health and directing your life and the chiropractor can step back and do the one thing he or she does best, which is correcting these subluxations whenever they occur.
To be a participant in chiropractic, it is imperative that you, the patient, understand as much as you can about chiropractic and the "above-down, inside-out" approach to health care. If this term is unfamiliar to you, please ask your chiropractor to explain its meaning. We also have educational material for you to utilize. We hope that you will avail yourself of these materials. You see, we believe that people truly want to be knowledgeable about their life and health and not just be a bystander to what's being done to them. We believe that you can see by now that the therapeutic approach has made us a drug-dependent, disease-fearful society and while it may have limited success in the treatment of disease, it has very little to do with health. We hope you will read our materials, listen to our tapes and ask us questions. Health comes from first knowing and understanding both your body and certain principles and then making the effort to apply those principles.
Understanding our own health, what health is, and where health comes from enables us to understand the process of regaining lost heath. It is our hope that you will make it your personal mission to discover your true health potential, and strive to create in your life, your fullest potential.
Have you ever noticed how some words just have a negative or bad sound to them? "Disintegration" is one. Even though it means, simply, to break into small bits, we rarely see it used in a positive way. Sometimes it is used to describe an organization, company, or even a relationship that is "falling apart." Even in science fiction movies, we have seen aliens shot with a gun that breaks it up into bits and leaves nothing but a small pile of dust.
Did you ever think about the fact that our bodies are really nothing more than that small pile of dust? What makes them appear like and act like more than dust? The fact is that they are INTEGRATED. All those molecules are forming cells, tissues, organs and systems. The body is acting as a whole. When the body stops acting as a whole, it loses its integrity. We even use terms to describe this situation like, "I feel like I'm falling apart" or "my body's falling apart." The body in actuality is not falling apart as much as it is breaking apart.
What is it that keeps us whole and maintains our physical integrity? It is what chiropractors call the "innate intelligence" of the body. This principle controls, integrates and coordinates the function of billions of cells every minute. Thousands of chemical reactions occur simultaneously at just the right instant to carry on every function of the body. All these functions are integrated without any thought on our part. To accomplish this task a complex coordinating system is needed.
In the human organism this system is the nervous system. It integrates all these functions and probably many others about which we currently know nothing. However, for the nervous system to function, as it should, its integrity needs to be maintained. When a vertebra in the spine becomes subluxated, the integrity of the nervous system is compromised. The result of this is that the cells that the nerves supply can no longer work in an integrated manner.
The entire body is affected by this because every cell is dependent upon every other cell for the well-being of the whole. That's what integration is. It is 25-30 quadrillion cells working together in harmony for a single goal, to keep you alive and healthy. That was the weakness of the attempts at racial integration in this country. We tried to integrate the races without replacing the hatred, animosity and resentment with love, respect and a desire to work together for the good of the whole.
The human body is integrated, each cell working for the good of the whole under the direction of the body's innate intelligence, which utilizes the nervous system to control and coordinate all of the parts. Vertebral subluxation interferes with the function of the nervous system and thereby causes the body to begin to disintegrate.
Unfortunately, we do not often notice this disintegration right away. Just like in companies, organizations or relationships, the disintegration may not be obvious at first. If it were, perhaps we would be more likely to address it. That is the purpose of regular chiropractic adjustments, to maintain the integrity of the nervous system so that all the cells of the body will be integrated thereby successfully preventing any disintegration.
Scary Movies and Rush Hour Traffic
It seems most people are well aware of the fact that physical forces can create subluxations in their spines. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that car accidents, falls, improper posture, heavy lifting and repeated use of particular muscles-whether it be at work (think letter carrier with a bag always on the same side) or at play (think golf, tennis, softball-always swinging from the same side)-can create these misalignments that cause interference in your nerve system.
Many people, however, grossly underestimate the affect of emotional forces on the spine and consequently on their expression of life. Some of you may be saying "Oh no, not me! I know that the stress at work gives me a terrible headache!" But emotional forces bombard us above and beyond our sentiments for our bosses and our fellow employees.
Picture this; you're sifting in a dimly lit room when all of a sudden a woman is stabbed. She screams but no one hears her. Your body immediately goes on alert. Your heart pounds your muscles tighten. You begin to sweat. Your mouth goes dry. However, the victim in this case is just an actress in a suspense film and the only real threat to you is the popcorn with double butter that your nervously shoving down your throat.
Fear, real or perceived, isn't the only emotion that evokes this kind of full-body response. Anger, worry, sadness, even excitement, anticipation and hope can and do have a significant effect on our entire body. They can effect our heart (cardiovascular system), our ability to fight off a cold (immune system) or even to conceive a child (reproductive system). So it should come as no surprise that they also affect our muscles and consequently, the bones of our spines (musculoskeletal system).
A researcher at Georgetown University Medical Center recently suggested that ALL bodily functions are under the control of our emotions. This isn't so difficult to understand really. Merely recalling a silly joke or a ridiculous situation can result in laughter or reminiscing of a loved one who has died can bring us to tears.
Clearly then, our thoughts and emotions have a physical effect.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh showed in a 1998 study that women who were hostile, held in their anger or felt anxious in public had measurably greater thickness in the carotid arteries. This condition is currently associated with the development of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University demonstrated last year that we are 5-times more likely to "catch" a cold or flu when we're stressed. After all, we're exposed to germs and viruses all the time but they only occasionally "make us sick."
And no one needs research (although it has been done as well) to show that you're less likely to get pregnant if you're all-consumed with the timing and the planning and the worrying of actually getting pregnant.
Similarly, emotions of all kinds force our bodies to adapt-chemically and physically, Changes in muscle tension can easily pull on the bones of the spine and cause subluxation, especially under sustained or chronic emotional states. What is more, as long as subluxation exists in the spine, the body will be less able to normalize itself even when our emotions return to normal.
Unfortunately, there's not a lot we can do about people who cut us off in traffic and I for one refuse to give up my scary movies. But we can ensure that emotions don't wreak havoc with our nerve systems by having our spines checked regularly by a chiropractor. By keeping our nerve systems clear of interference we gain the added benefit of controlling our emotions as well as possible and who knows maybe one day we'll just wave and smile at the guy who's just got to be in front of us in traffic.
Recognizing Your Potential
What major league pitcher in 1916 won 23 games while only losing 12? He had an American league leading earned run average of only 1.75 and led the league in shutouts (9). During the second game of the World Series that year he pitched 14 innings of Game 2, giving up only one run and six hits. With a season like that you would expect that this pitcher would be one of the great pitchers in the history of baseball. If you had to guess, you might say it was Walter Johnson, Christey Mattheson, Cy Young, or Grover Cleveland Alexander. Whoever it was, you would conclude that he must have had a great pitching career. Yet while his career lasted 19 years, despite those 23 wins in 1916(and 24 wins in 1917), he only won 94 games. The reason his total was so low was that from 1920 to 1933 he only pitched in five games (winning them all). Had he pitched more, he may have been one of the all-time greats. But in 1920 the New York Yankees changed Babe Ruth's position from pitcher to outfielder. One thing is certain, playing in thirty or forty games a year as a pitcher, Babe Ruth would not have become associated with hitting homeruns. He would never have reached his potential as a hitter. He had to focus on hitting rather than pitching, to be all that he could in the game. Had Babe Ruth begun his career in today's American League, he never would have recognized his potential due to the designated hitter rule.
How many other people, for one reason or another, never recognize their potential? Not necessarily as a baseball player but in other areas of life. How many potential concert pianists never sit down at a piano? How many great statesmen never enter politics? We could conjecture forever about lost opportunities. But the one I would like to address is the person who does not recognize his or her potential because of a physical problem. Wilma Rudolph, who passed away sometime ago, was an Olympic track champion. But she had to overcome a physical problem, polio, as a child. She had to recognize her potential despite her childhood disease and then have the wherewithal to pursue that goal. It is not enough to recognize it; you also have to realize it. There are so many factors in both of these areas, factors such as inspiration, willpower, desire, motivation, and natural ability. There are many gifted people who recognize their potential but because of lack of motivation, desire, or willpower, they never realize their potential.
Chiropractic plays a unique role in this entire concept. The chiropractic adjustment removes interference in the nervous system and allows the entire body to work better. The individual's mental processes work better, allowing greater recognition of potential. The individual's physical processes work better, energy level is improved, coordination is better and stamina is increased. Everything works better with a good nerve supply. All of us will not be great athletes or concert pianists. But we all have the potential to be great at something. Whether it is a business executive, an employee, a house painter or a portrait painter, a college professor or a college student, a housewife or an auto mechanic. Whatever your role in life is, be excellent at it. Whatever else it takes, it starts with a properly functioning nervous system, free of vertebral subluxations.
Chiropractic doesn't have all the answers but it has something to offer everyone. You must recognize chiropractic's potential for you before you can reach your potential for yourself.
Almost without fail, when people who have just learned about chiropractic are asked if they know what a subluxation is, the response is, "Yeah, yeah, uh-huh." Just to be sure, I may say, "Well, what do you think it is" or "What exactly is your understanding?" Then it starts, like a reoccurring nightmare, "Well, a subjugation is..." or "A substantiation is..." We would like to set the record straight but sometimes get the feeling that may never happen, so for the purposes of review, we present the following.
"Sub-lux-a-tion" is a difficult word. It has an x in it and many people do not like "x words". But we as a society have managed to incorporate a lot of words into our vocabulary that are equally difficult, few of which are as important to our well-being. We have learned cholesterol, triglycerides and lipoproteins. We have learned beta-carotene, gingivitis and angioplasty. And who has not learned Gorbachev, fahrvergnugen or supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?
Subluxation is an important word and there is simply no other word that accurately describes exactly what it is a chiropractor addresses. We do not address the "it hurts right here doc, when I go like this." We do not address the "man, it feels good when you do that, doc." And we definitely do not address the "I gotta pinched nerve, slipped disc, headache, sinus problem, this problem or that pain... doc."
We address the subluxation, specifically the vertebral (i.e., the big word for the little bones that make up the spine) subluxation. Subluxation is defined as the misalignment of one of the vertebrae, and not just any misalignment but one that impinges the structures (i.e., nerves as well as blood and lymph vessels) that pass through the holes between the vertebrae and consequently impair their ability to function. It can even impinge on the spinal cord. With respect to the nerves, this means that the conduction of mental impulses from the brain to all the cells, tissues and organs of the body is impaired and consequently, the parts do not work as they should. It is worth noting that the nervous system controls all the other systems of the body, including the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, endocrine and reproductive systems. That means that interference in the nervous system could keep any of the many different parts of the body from working the way they should.
Our sole purpose in this office is to find subluxations in the spine and adjust them to restore the proper nerve flow from the brain to all the parts of your body so they can work as well as they possibly can. Actually the concept is really very simple. I do not know, maybe we are just having trouble warming up to the word. Maybe for practice we could all try using it a little more. Instead of telling the chiropractor where your back hurts on your next visit, why not ask him to check your spine for subluxations.
Why Talk Chiropractic Philosophy?
When chiropractors get together, they often discuss philosophy. Yet, you will seldom hear them mentioning Plato and Aristotle, or comparing notes on Nietzsche or Emerson. The philosophy they are most interested in is chiropractic philosophy, the fundamental beliefs and underlying precepts of the entire profession.
Many people find it odd that chiropractic has its own philosophy. After all, other professions don't have one. Have you ever heard of an accounting philosophy ...or legal philosophy? Why, then, does chiropractic have a philosophy?
Actually, it is somewhat misleading to say that chiropractic has a philosophy. According to Dr. B.J. Palmer, the developer of chiropractic (whose father, D.D. Palmer, is credited with its actual "discovery" in 1895) chiropractic IS a philosophy--as well as a science and an art.
That is, chiropractic is not merely a method of adjusting a person's spine or correct subluxations. It is a set of beliefs about the human body and the natural order of the universe.
These beliefs - - this philosophy - - are the WHY of chiropractic. The science and art of chiropractic (such as the specific adjusting techniques) were developed, and are used, in accordance with the philosophy.
Chiropractic is unique in this respect. Other professions are not based on a set of unchangeable principles. The legal profession, for example, deals with a system of laws and statues that change rapidly. A few years ago, it was legal to cruise 75 MPH on most highways. Today, it's against the law in some areas.
Even a single action can be viewed differently depending on the circumstances surrounding it. Taking another person's life, for instance, can be murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, or justifiable homicide. There is no single, universal principle by which to judge the action. Lawyers, then must deal with rules and laws that fluctuate with time, location, and society's preferences.
The same is true of accounting. Try to convince a tax accountant that tax laws are consistent. Even the field of medicine changes according to the latest research results or prescription trends. Not long ago, for example, M.D.'s were routinely taking out tonsils as a preventative measure. Today it is a rare procedure.
In chiropractic, the basic underlying precepts remain unchanged and unchangeable. Understanding of those beliefs may deepen, and the techniques may improve, but the elemental doctrines will be constant. The importance of philosophy to the chiropractic profession cannot be stressed enough, for it is the basis of everything a principled chiropractor does.
According to one of the profession's early philosophers, Ralph W. Stephenson, D.C., "It is the explanation of everything chiropractic. . . the difference between a good chiropractor and a poor one is, that the good one has an ample supply of abstract principles in his head and the poor one only a few ... Poor chiropractors are apt to substitute machinery for knowledge."
Although there are many principles that comprise chiropractic philosophy, a few of the key ones include:
· There exists a Universal Intelligence that brings organization to all matter, and maintains its existence
· All living things have an inborn, or Innate Intelligence which adapts universal forces and matter for use in the body;
· Every living thing has ALL the Innate Intelligence it requires to maintain its life and optimal health;
· Health is the expression of the Innate Intelligence through Matter, via Force (Energy);
· When there is interference with the transmission of Force (energy), the result is a decrease in the expression of Innate Intelligence, which chiropractors call DIS-EASE (incoordination - not to be confused with disease!)
Because these terms and concepts are so important to chiropractors - - and their patients - - they will be explained in detail in upcoming articles. When you understand chiropractic philosophy, you will now be assured that chiropractic works all the time ... and why!
Chiropractic doesn't HAVE a philosophy ...
Chiropractic IS a philosophy.