THE SPINAL COLUMN
ALPHA CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER
How many earthquakes occur on the earth every year? Every day?
Most of us know that the magnitude or strength of an earthquake is measures by the Richter scale. Each numerical jump in this scale is in the order of 10 (i.e. a 7 earthquake is 10 times more powerful than a 6). The Richter scale goes from 1 to 8 and (gulp!) higher!
Since 1900 the earth has averaged one "great" (8 and higher) earthquake a year. However 18 "major" ones (7-7.9), 120 "strong" (6-6.9) and 49,000 minor (3-3.9) occur each year.
Taking this further, the earth experiences about 8,000 "very minor" (1-2 strength) earthquakes each day!! 8,000 earthquakes every day!! Our earth is far from inert. It's alive! We live on a constantly shimmering, shuddering, pulsating, living planet.
Great, you're probably saying, but what do earthquakes have to do with me? Are our lives any different? A cataclysmic "great" event - either destructive or constructive - can shake us to our very core, rock us to our very souls, but they are mercifully rare. More often we experience less earth-shattering "major" or "strong" but still significant challenges that touch, shiver and shake us in many ways. And how about the smaller "minor" events that touch us every day, every hour, every minute?
When some patients experience a health problem or a change in their symptoms for the worse most are looking for that "great" cause. Many replay in their minds looking for a big fall or trauma to blame for their problem and are confused because they can think of nothing so dramatic to attribute as the cause of their health challenge.
It is always good to remember that while big physical stresses are the most obvious, they like the "great" earthquakes are rare. Many times when a physical stress contributes to a subluxation it is usually a minor repetitive stressor. Sitting at a desk with your head bend down, carrying a baby or a heavy bag on one side, any type of asymmetrical work, etc.
As if that wasn't enough, we have to remember to remember that chemical and emotional stresses are many many times more common and more likely to contribute to a subluxation. We are exposed to countless chemical and emotional stresses every day. They may not always be "great", but unlike the physical stresses that are usually over fairly quickly and self-limiting, chemical and especially emotional stresses can linger for a lifetime.
Even among those seemingly settled people we know, that calm relative, old neighbor, or quiet friend who seems locked in their ways, into the ruts of their lives, there is so much more than meets the eye. The most complacent, dull appearing individual is, under the surface (no matter how deeply covered), a rolling, crashing, cascading collection of dreams, fears, tragedies, hopes, and triumphs that swirl and eddy through their every waking moment.
By now many of you realize that a lack of health is a process that occurs over a period of time and not an event (unexpected traumas are an exception, of course). Hopefully you have also realized that since we are bombarded daily by many types of "earthquakes"/stresses it makes sense to have our spines checked on a regular basis to make sure that our nerve system is free from any interference that these stresses may cause, and to allow us to better adapt to these stresses.
Health is a process and a lifelong journey and not a quick destination.
Health and disease are different degrees of the same source - physiological responses to stimuli. With predominately appropriate stimuli you rest comfortably on the health side of the continuum. When most of the stimuli that spark physiological response are inappropriate, you develop what we call "disease". By understanding that health and disease are effects of perfect internal response, you'll never again look at your physical condition as the luck of the draw.
-M. T. Morter, D.C.
Like a Snowflake
Watching a snowfall on a winter day is a beautiful experience. What is awe-inspiring is the knowledge that the inches of snow piling up are made up of billions upon billions of individual snowflakes and that no two of them are alike.
Now of course, I'm assuming that this is a supposition inasmuch as no one has ever checked all the snowflakes in the world to make sure that there are no duplicates, but no one has yet found two that are the same.
I am sure there is a scientific technical reason why no two snowflakes are the same but on the surface it seems rather a mystery. The water coming from the clouds is the same -- two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. The temperature is the same for each snowflake. If anything, you would think that they should all look alike.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect is the fact that until the discovery of the microscope, it was generally thought that they were all alike. When you look at snowflakes coming down, they sure look identical.
The human body is similar to a snowflake. At first glance we may all seem the same, two eyes, a nose and a mouth, etc. However, you do not have to look too closely and you do not need a microscope to realize that we are all different. We can be thankful for that. Imagine trying to find a friend in a crowd if everyone looked alike! The slight differences in the arrangement of the eyes, nose and mouth makes each and every one of us unique.
Not only are we different on the outside, but we are different on the inside as well. Your stomach, your lungs, your gallbladder, your heart and all of your organs are all a little different from anyone else's. Consequently, they also fit together a little differently than anyone else's. This results in countless physiological differences in our bodies including body chemistry.
Our body chemistry is made up of thousands of chemicals necessary for health and life and it is specific both in quantity and quality just for us. What is normal for one person might be fatal for another. Differences in even one of thousands of variables, like a person's blood type, is so important that a blood transfusion cannot be done until they are sure the different blood type is compatible. Like the snowflake, it is not until we get to the most minute aspects that we see the most important differences.
It would be nice if we were all identical. There would be no rejection of organ transplants. If a drug worked for one person, it would work the same for everyone. Everyone's nutritional requirements would be the same. However, we are not all the same. We are all different.
Chiropractic recognizes that difference. It understands that the human body is different in everyone and to try to guess what the body's needs are or what is normal, is just that, a guess.
The fortunate part is that we have within us a built-in mechanism designed to regulate the thousands of chemicals and the thousands of chemical reactions that take place every minute of every day. In chiropractic we call this ability the innate intelligence of the body. It is working from birth, actually from conception until death. It is never turned off, never takes a vacation, never gets tired, and the interesting part is that, it is identical in every person, 100% perfect.
Unfortunately, it does not always express itself perfectly. You see, innate intelligence needs and uses the nerve system to coordinate and control all the functions of the body. When one of the vertebrae slips out of its proper position, nerve interference occurs and the body simply cannot work as it was intended. This is called a subluxation. That is where the chiropractor comes in. He or she does not try to determine what is normal for the body but merely assists the body in moving the bones back into place, which allows the nerve system to once again be used by the innate intelligence of the body to normalize function. This is why you should have your spine checked regularly by a chiropractor -- to ensure your nerve system is functioning at its best.
In 1949 a rare embryological accident occurred in Soviet Russia, resulting in the formation and birth of conjoined twin girls named Masha and Dasha. These unfortunate children were joined at the hip and in such a way that surgical separation was impossible.
Between them they had four arms, but only three legs. The third leg had eight toes. Masha could feel pain in only four of them, and Dasha, the opposite four. They had two stomachs and two small intestines, which joined together to form a single large intestine. They had four kidneys, but only one bladder and often could not agree on when to urinate.
The girls' circulatory system was interconnected; if one were to drink poison, both would die. Their genetic makeup was identical. They had a common reproductive system and doctors said there was no physiological reason why the girls could not conceive and give birth. Although their spines were joined at the base, their nervous systems were entirely separate. The twins lived almost twenty years and provided some startling information to the doctors and scientists who observed them during that period.
Since the late 1700's scientists have disagreed over the primary cause of sickness and disease. One group held to the position that ill health was caused by external factors: germs, the weather, environment, etc.
Another group disagreed and said that while external factors existed, the primary cause was the internal resistance of the individual. Here, in Masha and Dasha, was an opportunity for the argument to be settled.
Both girls were exposed to the same external factors. More so than any other two human beings, they shared the same environment. They breathed the same air, went to bed and got up at the same time. With a common bloodstream what they ate would supply nutrition to both. They exercised together, learning to walk, dance, and even ride a bicycle!
Without realizing it, these two unfortunate children left the world a scientific truth and settled the external/internal argument for all time.
You see, Masha and Dasha got sick at different times!
Masha would get a cold and Dasha would not. One would get the flu and the other would not. One would have a fever; the other's temperature would be normal. They even contracted childhood diseases, like measles and chickenpox at different times. Eventually, one of the sisters developed cancer and died as a result. Her sister was still healthy, although she died not long after because her sister's body could not be separated from hers.
Clearly, it is primarily the internal resistance that determine whether a person gets sick or not, with colds, flu, and even cancer. It is not the external environment that is the determining factor. But a further principle was established that is important to chiropractors. For you see, they also shared a common internal environment, bloodstream, nutrition, genetics, etc. It was only their nervous systems and the vertebral column housing the spinal cords that were separate.
Chiropractors have maintained long before Masha and Dasha were born that a good nerve supply is a necessary requirement and a prerequisite to health, and further that an interference in the nervous system will adversely affect the body's internal environment and predispose one to sickness and ill health. Two little girls living in Soviet Russia have helped to demonstrate the validity of chiropractic principles.
The future of Chiropractic deals with correcting spinal problems in infants so that a person doesn't go through
life with their perception of the world distorted and their ability to respond to the world compromised by subluxation.
-Christopher Kent, D.C.
Did you ever notice how certain issues seem to not have an answer because the people involved are looking for the answers in all the wrong places?
Recently, there was a discussion on the television between a congressman and a spokesman for the pharmaceutical companies. The congressman was a socialist. (That is not my opinion, this man actually identifies himself as a socialist). He was decrying the profits being made by the drug industry and the rising costs of medicine in this country.
As the American population of baby boomers begins to reach their later years with an even slightly increased life-span, the rising costs of drugs has become a significant problem. Government programs like Medicare cannot seem to pick up the slack. People on fixed and low incomes, those who are least able to afford it often seem to be the ones who need drugs the most.
The representative was calling for price controls and more governmental control over the pharmaceutical industry. In true socialistic fashion, he was extolling the virtues of socialized medicine in Canada where the government actually subsidizes the cost of medications. He even went so far as to suggest that the state buy drugs in Canada for resale in the state because they can be purchased cheaper than in the US.
The fact is that socialized medicine has been a failure wherever it has been tried, including Canada, and the last thing Canada needs is to help subsidize the pharmaceutical needs of the people of the US. The idea is ludicrous.
Unfortunately, as bad as this argument was, the spokesman for the drug industry, was not presenting a good argument. His solution was that people should buy private insurance to cover the cost of medications. That is an easy answer for a guy who makes a six-figure income but a good percentage of the working public cannot afford any insurance. And if the working public cannot afford insurance, how can he expect people who are on fixed income to buy additional insurance to cover medications?
With ridiculous arguments like that, it is no wonder this country is accepting socialism on a wholesale level. If we are made to believe that a minimum wage is a right, education is a right, a certain income is a right and it is the job of government to insure these rights, then it is easy to argue that living is also a right and we are entitled to have someone pay for our medications. (The assumption being you cannot live without drugs which may or may not be correct for certain people).
They say that there is no right answer to a wrong question. Similarly there is no right answer to a wrong situation. The congressman assumes people are going to need more and more drugs to be healthy and are going to be priced out of it by profit-conscious drug companies. The drug companies assume that the economy will grow and people will be able to afford the drugs or to buy insurance which will spread out the cost of the drugs among the population.
Perhaps the solution is to look elsewhere for the answer to people's health problems. Drugs have not made the people of this country any healthier, just better able to live with their lack of health. Maybe we need to begin to do the things necessary to keep ourselves healthier.
Let us look to what makes people healthy and more important, what keeps people healthy. The answer is not in a pill. The idea that there is a single, one-shot answer like a miracle drug is what has gotten us into this mess. It sure is not going to get us out whether socialized medicine pays the bills for it or we pay for it ourselves.
The answer is in doing those things, all the things necessary to make us healthier. Things like eating better, exercising more, and yes, getting checked and adjusted when necessary by a chiropractor on a regular lifetime basis. We also need to stop doing the things that keep us from being healthy. There is a great deal of work to be done in the area of health and it is never going to be done unless we start looking for the answer in the right places.