THE SPINAL COLUMN
ALPHA CHIROPRACTIC NEWSLETTER
I wanted to apologize for not sending any newsletters for the last two months. Between moving and the passing of my mother life was just too hectic for me to be able to create anything. I was glad to see that some of you noticed that they had stopped and I appreciate your encouragement for me to continue writing them.
I wanted to thank everyone for their cards, flowers, emails, kind words, and all the other ways you were able to express your support for me during this intense last month. Everything you did for me and my family was greatly appreciated.
Now its time to get back into the swing of things. Spring is in full gear. Some of you have been a little lax with care. A few expressed that you wanted to give me space to grieve and do what needed to be done. However, this time of the year we start spending more time outside doing more physical activity. It is important that we do not neglect chiropractic care so that we can function at our best and do all the yardwork, sports, and other outdoor activities the best that we can.
OK, enough with the lecture on to the good stuff ...
Why is it that kids' rooms always seem to be a mess even one day after they have cleaned it? "Clean your room" may be one of the phrases that parents most commonly use in the home.
Of course, as adults we are usually no better. I am writing this on the top of a desk that is, at its lowest point, three layers of papers from the top. I can take hours to clean and organize the top of my desk and a day later it reverts back to this.
Clutter and disorganization is the ruination of many a happy home or office and in the long run probably a greater thief of time than keeping things orderly. I don't even want to think of how much time I have wasted in my life looking for misplaced items.
For those of you with a similar problem, take heart. It may not be entirely your fault, it is the result of a scientific law. It is called the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It says that all processes manifest a tendency toward decay and disintegration. This results in a net increase in what is called entropy or a state of randomness or disorder of the system.
In other words, things just naturally fall apart, break down and become disorganized. That is the natural bent of desktops, children's rooms, cars, home appliances, flower gardens and the human body.
We even describe it as we get older in terms like "my body is falling apart." As a side note, the Second Law of Thermodynamics is something the evolutionists do not want to talk about. How can the world and man be evolving to a greater degree of complexity when this scientific law says just the opposite?
So what is the answer to messy rooms and a chaotic universe? We know the cure for the messy room or cluttered desk is intelligent action, organizing things, filing away papers (where they can be found when needed) and putting the toys and dirty clothes where they belong. That is the only answer.
Even better is intelligent action on a continuous basis.
When the mail comes in, you go through it, throw away what you do not want, act on what needs your attention and file away what you want to keep. Have the children pick up their toys and put them away when they are done playing with them. A continuous intelligent effort is the answer to clutter.
Similarly, a continuous intelligent action is necessary to keep this world in an organized state.
When it comes to living organisms in general, and human beings in particular, chiropractors call that continuous intelligent action the innate intelligence of the body. It is responsible for every physiological function in the body from digesting breakfast to making heart cells.
When there is an interruption in continuous intelligent action in the body we say the body is in a state of DIS-EASE [disorder or incoordination].
Sometimes the lack of intelligent action manifests certain symptoms which medical doctors describe as disease. Often it demonstrates no perceptible manifestation, no more than that one letter sitting on the desk which should have been filed.
Due to the complexity of the human body continuous intelligent action necessitates a properly functioning nerve system. When a vertebra misaligns in such a way that it interferes with the nerve system (a subluxation) there is disorder in the body.
Without any attention from the innate intelligence, the human body disintegrates back to the dust from which it came. Without the full attention of the innate intelligence because of vertebral subluxations, the body will begin to move faster and faster toward a state of cellular chaos and ultimate disorder.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics will get us all in the end. It is a law. However, keeping your spine as subluxation free as possible can reduce the effects of that law. Have your spine checked regularly.
The title of the February 23, 2004 issue of Time magazine had the following title:
According to reports, this was one of the biggest selling issues in a long time for the company. In an interview, a spokesman for the company said, "We knew this would be a big seller. Inflammatory conditions have become the number one indication for both prescription and over the counter medications in our country."
Now that you've read this far, you probably think that I am going to give you a long and involved diatribe on the "evils" of medications and how chiropractic can do as good a job (or even better) at helping get rid of inflammation. Sorry, but that is not the point.
You see, most of the world looks at inflammation as a problem - as something "gone wrong" that we need to "fix." I don't happen to share that view. The truth is that all of the body's functions - both the pleasant and unpleasant - serve valuable purposes. But, most of us have been raised in the medical mindset and have been taught that things like fever, sweating, muscle spasms, diarrhea, vomiting, production of mucus and phlegm - and inflammation - are all "mistakes" our bodies have made.
A little known fact is that whenever your body's temperature goes up one degree that your heart beats ten times per minute faster. This speeds the removal of toxins and debris, increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to tissues and boosts the healing process to a higher level that there would be without the fever. Why then should we try to reduce the fever?
Did you know that a muscle spasm is ALWAYS protective in nature? If a muscle is injured, it contracts (spasms) to keep from being passively stretched too far and tearing more. Whenever a joint is injured, the muscles contract (spasm) to prevent excessive motion in the joint during the healing process. Why then would we want to stop the spasm? Why not just do everything possible to ensure that the brain and body can communicate and provide the good nutrition and rest necessary for healing to occur naturally? This approach allows the body to release the spasm in the right amount at the right time, always providing exactly the correct degree of protection.
Are you aware that inflammation serves some very important functions as well? Time does not allow me to list all of them here, but one of the most important functions of inflammation is that it is one of the initiating steps in what is called the "healing cascade." This series of chemical reactions is necessary for healing to occur correctly and completely. If you try to stop the first steps through artificial means (such as with anti-inflammatory medications) you stop the entire healing process! But, your body's innate intelligence knows that healing is necessary, so it starts the initial steps of the healing cascade again - in other words, inflammation returns! Do you know the best way to turn an acute inflammatory condition into a chronic inflammatory condition? Just keep stopping the healing cascade by continually, treating the inflammation!
The only reason inflammation has become so prevalent in our society and has lead to heart attacks, cancer, Alzheimer's and other diseases is because we have allowed it to continue long past when the body intended it to! You see, the problem is not with inflammation. It's not even with anti-inflammatory medications. No, the biggest problem is not America's dependence on drugs, but its dependence on the idea that our bodies are weak, defective and need help from the outside! The problem is that we do not trust the innate intelligence within us to do what's right!
We live lifestyles that lead to all kinds of physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual problems, and then we blame our "imperfect bodies" for falling apart. The truth is that God gave us everything we need. Our innate intelligence needs no help - it just needs no interference!
Chiropractic is about removing interference to the full expression of our innate intelligence so that we can express our purpose and potential as completely as possible. Inflammation is not the silent killer; it is the silent HEALER, commanded by the primordial cause of all, our God-given perfection!
Over the last century, we humans have radically altered our social and environmental circumstances. Many of these changes have been particularly rapid over the last 20 years. Most people have become accustomed to a way of life that involves very little physical activity, high stress levels, long working hours, and nutritionally inefficient diets.
Over time, habits like these decrease your ability to perform at your best. Yet many people still seek to actualize their potential and performance... in spite of the excesses of today's lifestyle.
Recent research gives some guidance on how to best navigate your way through the challenging landscape of modern life.
We now know that maintaining even small levels of regular physical activity is extremely beneficial to both short and long term quality of life, regardless of a person's age and level of fitness.
However... in pursuing higher performance levels in life, as well as on the field, court, course, or mat... you should be wary of the "quick fix."
The most glaring example of the quick-fix mentality in athletics is the use of performance-enhancing drugs. This has become a growing problem as amateurs and professionals alike strive for that extra edge over the competition.
Unfortunately, the long term consequences of taking such chemicals include heart problems, liver problems, kidney problems, an increased vulnerability to injuries... even a premature death.
Does being your best in your chosen sport now require that you jeopardize your future health?
Thankfully, the answer is no.
How well you perform athletically depends upon how efficiently your body parts can work together in harmony.
As many athletes know, the human body is not just a collection of disrelated parts, but an integrated whole with each facet dependent upon every other.
If you are already health conscious and physically active, then you know the important roles of many aspects of a Chiropractic lifestyle.
Proper exercise, a good diet, minimizing stress, and maintaining a balanced mental attitude are all important factors for maximizing your athletic performance. However, you should also realize that crucial part of the equation upon which all others depend... Your Nerve System.
The philosophy of Chiropractic recognizes that ALL levels of human performance, including athletic performance, are controlled by the body's ability to interpret information from its internal and external environments, and then generate ideal healthy responses.
Chiropractic also recognizes that the correction of subtle misalignments in the spine ("vertebral subluxations") promotes health and increases human performance through enhanced neurological integrity.
Chiropractic adjustments, by reducing irritation and interference in the nerve system, improve muscle strength.1 Studies have shown immediate strength gain in arm muscles,2 back muscles,3 and knee extensor muscles4,5 following Chiropractic adjustments.
Another recent study demonstrated an 83% increase in training mileage in 18 female long distance runners while receiving ongoing Chiropractic adjustments.6
One research project in England studied the effects of Chiropractic adjustments on 50 athletes by measuring agility, balance, position sense, power, and reaction time. After 6 weeks, the Chiropractic group improved significantly in all tests.7 In a similar project, American researchers found that athletes who received regular Chiropractic adjustments had a significant improvement in muscle strength, long jump distance, blood pressure, pulse rate and capillary count.8
Your nerve system is the master control system to all cells, tissues, and organs in your body. The health and proper function of your spine is essential to this delicate system, so athletic performance is obviously best pursued when your spine and nerve system are functioning at full capacity.
No matter how healthy your diet is... you will never fully digest and absorb the nutrients from your food if your nerve system is malfunctioning.
No matter how often you exercise at the gym, or run, or swim... you will never gain optimal strength, flexibility, or speed if a subluxation is choking your delicate nerve system.
No matter how much you rest... you will never fully recuperate, relax, and recharge if vital nerve messages are compromised by painless subluxations.
Chiropractic for the limited treatment of aches and pains is of limited value. It's like owning a big screen TV with 500 channel capability and using it as a plant stand.
Today's modern straight chiropractic approach offers something very unique to athletes (and everyone else) seeking that extra edge over the competition. Straight chiropractic is specific and very effective in enhancing all levels of human performance. Discover for yourself how chiropractic increases your athletic performance.
1. Smith DL, Cox RH. Muscular strength and chiropractic; theoretical mechanisms and health implications. JVSR 1993; 3: 1-13
2. Bonci A, Ratcliff C. Strength Modulation of the biceps brachii muscles immediately following a single manipulation of C4/C5 intervertebral motor unit in healthy subjects, preliminary report. Am J Chiro Med 1990; 3: 14-18
3. Bonci A, Ratcliff C, Adams E et al. Strength modulation of the erector muscles immediately following manipulation of the thoracolumbar spine. Chiropractic 1990; 6: 29-33
4. Suter E, McMorland G, Herzog W, et al. Decrease in quadriceps inhibition after sacroiliac joint manipulation in patients with anterior knee pain. JMPT 1999; 22: 149-53
5. Suter E, McMorland G, Herzog W, et al. Conservative low back treatment reduces inhibition in knee extensor muscles: a randomized controlled trial. JMPT 2000; 23: 76-80
6. Grimston SK, Engsberg JR, Shaw L, et al. Muscular rehabilitation prescribed in coordination with prior chiropractic care for sacroiliac subluxation in female distance runners. Chiro Sports Med 1990; 4: 2-8.
7. Lauro A, Mouch B. Chiropractic effects on athletic ability. Chiropractic: The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation. 1991; 6: 84-7
8. Schwartzbauer J, Kolber J, Schwartzbauer M, et al. Athletic Performance and Physiological Measures in Baseball Players Following Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care: A pilot study. JVSR 1997; 1: 33-9
A human being has 7 cervical (neck) vertebrae. How many do you think a giraffe has? Answer: 7 also. Humans have a total of 24 vertebrae in their spines. How many do you think a python snake has? Answer: 525.
Why the sameness of giraffes and humans and the difference of humans and snakes? I don't know.
In fact, there are a lot of things that I don't know about the human body both in its design and in its function.
Lest you think that I am not very smart, let me add that the most knowledgeable scientists, anatomists, physiologists, and doctors don't know much about the body either. It has been estimated that we only know one-tenth of one percent (0.10%) of what there is to know about the body and its function.
While we are all in pretty much the same boat when it comes to knowing about the body, those addressing the needs of the body are divided into two distinctly different groups when it comes to how to respond to our ignorance.
The first group feels that ignorance is relative. If they know more than someone else, or almost everyone else, they are okay. They feel they can just ignore or play down the importance of what they do not know.
They do not subscribe to the idea that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. They try to affect what they can with the hope that the little they know will be significant enough to help a person.
This group often sees the body as just a product of random activity affected by the circumstances around it. As such they feel comfortable in intervening, changing its function or its circumstances to whatever they think is best at any given moment.
The second group acknowledges its ignorance of the body and that this ignorance is a vital factor in relating to the human organism and its needs.
They also realize that the living body has within it a means, an organizing principle, capable of running every internal function. Their ignorance just makes it all the more important that they allow the organizing principle to run the body.
This group does not see the body as a product of random activity and chance but as a creation of an all-knowing wisdom, designed to function according to principles which, if not interfered with, will do just that. It's a pretty humbling way to think.
By now you have probably realized that chiropractors fall into this second group.
We call this organizing principle innate intelligence because it is there from birth (inborn) and the word intelligence emphasizes its wisdom in contrast to our ignorance.
It makes human beings as well as giraffes with seven cervical vertebrae not because seven is a lucky number but because six would be too few and eight too many. It builds us with twenty-four vertebrae and the python with 525 because that is how many we need and how many the python needs.
It is the wisdom which not only designs and builds a body in nine months but can run it for 100 or more years. People do live and are supposed to live that long!
However, its ability to run the body, heal the body, and enable the person to reach his or her full potential in life is limited by interference in the nerve system caused by vertebral subluxation, a slight misalignment of one of the bones of the spine that puts pressure on nerves.
When this happens that organizing principle cannot work as well as it should. Chiropractors correct these subluxations. They do not try to run the body but merely remove the interference to the expression of this innate intelligence.