We’re Moving! (again)

driectionsTO1618Life happens, right?

So we’re moving (yes, again) just a mile away to 1618 W Colorado Ave.

We look forward to is being a part of the Mandala Healing Community! This a place of like-minded practitioners, and we will be part of the official Open House, THIS SATURDAY, May 16th from 3pm – 6pm! During that time, Dr. Tad will be adjusting (come take a peek, if you’d like!). Also, from 4:10-4:40pm, you are invited to check out Dr. Tad giving his “Intro To Chiropractic” talk. Everyone is welcome, and bring friends!

There are a lot of exciting things happening, and we are grateful to have you be a part of our adventures. Please note: we will be closed on Friday the 15th and ONLY be open from 3-6pm on Saturday the 16th. After the 16th our normal hours will resume.

See you soon friends!

mandalahouse

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What makes your body heal itself?

 

Why will a cut on your finger heal in time but a cut to a really good steak will not heal even if it is free of pathogens, stitched up perfectly, and a bandage is applied correctly?

FingerCut VersusSteak

It is this type of question that inspired the first chiropractors to search for the cause of one person in a family, living in the same conditions as the rest, to become ill or die while everyone else remained healthy. This is the crux of the difference between disease care and health care. This is the crux of the difference between medicine and chiropractic. The first focuses on the study of disease and what causes death while the second studies health and what facilitates life.health_continuum2.5

Looking only at science has, unfortunately, left this question unanswered and has actually revealed more questions that need to be answered rather than reducing them. To fully wrap our minds around this question we have to look at more than just science. This is why chiropractic was developed as a science AND a philosophy AND an art of things natural. Now many people who ascribe to science as an exclusive belief system mistake philosophy as being opposed to science. However, they are intimately related to each other. To simplify this relationship we can say that philosophy thinks up the questions that the scientific method attempts to answer through repeatable observation and hypothesis.

SherlockHolmsChiropractic philosophy looks at nature through deductive reasoning, much like the fictional character Sherlock Holmes.

“In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards. That is a very useful accomplishment, and a very easy one, but people do not practise it much. In the every-day affairs of life it is more useful to reason forwards, and so the other comes to be neglected. There are fifty who can reason synthetically for one who can reason analytically…Let me see if I can make it clearer. Most people, if you describe a train of events to them, will tell you what the result would be. They can put those events together in their minds, and argue from them that something will come to pass. There are few people, however, who, if you told them a result, would be able to evolve from their own inner consciousness what the steps were which led up to that result. This power is what I mean when I talk of reasoning backwards, or analytically.”  -A Study in Scarlet – Chapter 7 – Conclusion

“Let me run over the principal steps. We approached the case, you remember, with an absolutely blank mind, which is always an advantage. We had formed no theories. We were simply there to observe and to draw inferences from our observations.” – The Adventure of the Cardboard Box

SherlockHolmsWhy do we need to reason backwards from simply observing? Good old Sherlock has the answer to this as well…

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.”-A Study in Scarlet
AND
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” -A Scandal in Bohemia

So, before we come up with theories, we need to observe the facts.

  • Fact #1) Living things are organized systems that come from other living things and have distinct characteristics that nonliving things don’t have like;
    A) Organized
    B) Grows and Develops AKA Self-organizing
    C) Seeks Homeostasis AKA Self-regulating
    D) Metabolism AKA Uses Energy
    E) Response to environmental changes or stimuli AKA Interactive
    F) Reproduces AKA Self-replicating
    G) Biological evolution AKA Adaptive
  • Fact#2) Dead bodies never heal, EVER!
  • Fact#3) Law of Cause and Effect (in other words if there is an effect then there must be a cause. So if something is organized then something else had to organize it and transfer the energy to set it in motion)
  • Fact #4) Nonliving mater does not spontaneously self organize into living mater without ‘that something’ that gives living things the characteristics of A-G
  • Fact #5) If you are reading this then you started out life as a unique single celled organism made from the combination of two single cells from your father and mother.EggCellDevision
  • Fact #6) You then proceeded to build an incredibly complex community, of BILLIONS of individual cells, working together to experience a living existence.
  • Fact #7) Most of the communication and functions necessary to sustain this organized, multicellular community is done without our conscious control or awareness. (in other words the cut on your finger will heal regardless of you thinking about it.)
  • Fact #8) No living thing has ever been synthetically produced in a lab from scratch (yes, scientists have reprogrammed already living cells with synthetic DNA but have not built them from scratch regardless of what the media headlines say)
  • Fact #9) No direct measure of Life, Life Force, Life Energy, or Vital Spark has ever been attained in a laboratory setting. Effects of this entity or substance have been measured but not the entity or substance itself.
  • Fact #10) Artificial intelligence and man made machines are blurring the lines between living and nonliving but none have acquired the full list of characteristics.

Now on to the theories; Looking at the facts two theories have historically emerged, Mechanism and Vitalism. Mechanism is what reductionist reasoning brings the thought process to, where everything is made of the sum of the parts and it all works like a machine. Vitalism is where deductive reasoning brings the thought process to, where the mechanics of life and existence are evidence of an organizing Intelligence and the whole is greater than simply the sum of the parts. Vitalism does not deny mechanistic principles at work in nature but Mechanism denies vitalistic principles at work concluding that the parts are enough to describe all of the processes of Life and Nature. These two theories have been debated since the time of Plato and Aristotle. We are not going to go into too much depth about these two philosophies mainly because, after hundreds of years, neither can be proven nor disproven. For Vitalism to be proven some Life Force AKA Vital Spark must be directly measured and for Mechanism to be proven a living organism needs to be synthetically built from scratch with all of the characteristics of Life present and functional.  Until either of these happen, although it is a fascinating debate, it is functionally useless for most people to choose sides.AlexGrayEnergyBody

If you have been reading other blog posts written by myself then by now you might have realized that I am convinced (AKA biased) about which one of these two philosophies is more correct. However, do you care what I think? Just because I see evidence day in and day out inside my chiropractic practice, it really does not help you much unless you are one of my patients. So lets get right down to it. What serves you best?

The short answer to the question of what heals the body is the living YOU! No amount of drugs, surgery, nutrition, positive thinking, chiropractic, acupuncture, or electrical charge will cause a dead body to heal. Healing is a function of life regardless of if you think life is simply a chemical reaction or if you believe in the existence of Life as an entity. Atheist heal just like saints.  Mechanists heal just like Vitalists.

So what serves you best? To recognize that YOU are the healer. You can do lots of things to enhance your healing ability and support your body’s functions but as long as you are alive you have the potential to heal. If you want to really explore the potential that the human bodyDrSyringe has to heal itself then you need to look no further than what is called “The Placebo Effect.”  This is one of the biggest thorns in the side of our current, science based medical care system in America.  Most scientific approaches do not recognize any treatment in which the mechanism of action is not known, except the placebo. It is incorporated into the vast majority of scientific research on treatments for symptoms and diseases however how it works is a current mystery. What is even more mysterious is the fact that the placebo effect is increasing making it harder and harder for drug companies to show their products are of medical value.

The second disturbing fact about how we use placebos in science is when the effect is eliminated from the research because it is an outlier in the data and is not reproducible person to person. In reality there is no such thing as an “incurable disease” however since these spontaneous remissions are not common and they cannot be patented or profited from they do not get studied by mainstream science. Scientific research is expensive and unless there is the possibility of a big payoff from selling a product to sick people, drug companies will turn away from anything that places the power of healing inside the body of the sick person.

So what can you do to maximize your healing ability?

  1. NEVER EVER EVER GIVE UP!
    When we lose hope and stop trying the possibility of ANY treatment working decreases significantly.
  2. HealthFoodsEat real food.
    Without the correct fuel and building blocks a body cannot function much less heal. Herbs are one of the first forms of medicine ever used and because they are food they help the sick as much as they help the healthy.
  3. Drink pure water regularly.
    It is one of the most abundant molecules in our bodies and is involved in most functions.
  4. Move your body regularly and correctly.
    Without correct movement of the musculoskeletal system most other systems are slowed down in function.
  5. Exercise and learn to increase control of your mind not just your body.Anatomy
    Stress related diseases and conditions are one of the most common reasons people seek medical help. If you don’t learn to control your mind then someone else will and they will not be interested in what is truly best for you. Meditation and lifelong learning are two of the best tools we have!
  6. Seek the advice, council, and help from many different healthcare providers so you have the best information to make decisions.
    Everyone has a bias and that includes doctors of all kinds. Don’t simply get one person’s opinion.
  7. SLEEP and relaxation are just as important to health and function as anything else.
    What most people don’t realize is that we must practice them. Just because it was or is easy to sleep does not mean it will always be easy. Practice and set up good routines now before a problem sets in.
  8. Stay social.
    Not only is our body a community of cells but we, as whole and complete beings, are set up to be social creatures. It is good to have alone time but it is also good to have social time. Love is a powerful drug.
  9. Decrease the toxins inside and outside of your body.
    This includes chemicals as well as emotions, relationships, addictions, and habits. What is toxic to one person is not to another so don’t get caught up in the hype and marketing but rather spend lots of quality time listening and being aware of how your body responds. You are not a victim.AutonomicNerveChart

Finally always remember that you are the healer. No one on the outside of your body can repair or replace damaged cells and this is the only way healing happens. Embrace the responsibility you have to the cells of your body because that is where your power resides. The placebo and the nocebo effect are proof that healing and function are an integrated relationship between our mind and our body. We can use this knowledge to effectively enhance our lives so that we have no need to rely on the disease and sick care system that we have today. YOU are the healthcare system!

 

Feel free to leave questions and comments below.
As always, stay adjusted!

Dr. Tad

Is Chiropractic really an Alternative Medicine? Really?

 

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If you want to read this entire series
Please click here for part #1
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Please click here for part #4

debunked

 

For the past few posts we have covered some popular myths about chiropractic. Some myths are spread by others and some are spread by many chiropractors themselves.  This post is likely the last on in this series and is dedicated to a myth that our whole culture promotes. The myth that Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine. There are two versions of this article, the short one first for those of you who don’t like to read and the long one that follows for those who want to know the reasons why this common perception about chiropractic is a myth AND why it is important to debunk it.

Short Version 

CadusisDoesNotEqualchiropractic_symbol_fw

This myth is false!
Why?

1) Medicine is focused on controlling diseases and symptoms.

2) Chiropractic is true health care because it does not treat diseases or symptoms (no, not even back pain!) rather is only focused on increasing a person’s ability to function and adapt.

3) The definition of “alternative medicine” does not include chiropractic because chiropractic is actually part of this country’s tradition AND it is integrated into the current dominant health care system.

Don’t get it? (My wife doesn’t either.) That’s why having a short version is dumb. Now, on to the…

Long Version

This is the long version so strap yourself in and don’t get surprised if we get into some semantics with this one. Words are powerful in their ability to deliver a message.  We must get specific with them to deliver a message clearly. The message that chiropractic fits under the umbrella of ‘alternative medicine’ is totally false.  Too many are under the impression that anything outside of the American Medical Association’s promoted list of services and products that an MD offers is ‘alternative medicine.’  One false impression leads to another.

Unfortunately the history of chiropractic is rife with turmoil as well as those who think chiropractic makes an excellent alternative medicine, much to the founders dismay.  This is why, today, about half of the chiropractic schools do not teach much about real chiropractic.  So it is only natural that this myth is so widely promoted and marketed by both the Chiropractic profession and the Medical profession inside our country’s healthcare system today. It really does not help in the debunking of this myth that the founder of chiropractic and his son were both very outspoken in their distain with the medical profession and its practices of their day. Many seemingly anti-medicine quotes are spouted by people that are authored by these two men. However when we look at their writings in context we find a different message. A pro-Chiropractic message is different from an alternative or anti-medicine message.

Here come the semantics! First we are going to start off with some working definitions so we can all be clear about what the message behind the words actually is, versus how some people choose to interpret it. Actual definitions can be very broad, words can have multiple meanings and meanings can be described with multiple words. This is where working definitions come in handy. A working definition is a refined definition chosen for a particular occasion or circumstance because the full definition is not practical in its ability to correctly differentiate between thoughts or ideas described by the words used. In this particular case, the definition of medicine is a perfect example. According to the MedlinePlus branch of the Marriam-Webster dictionary, one of the definitions of medicine is; 2 a: the science and art dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention, alleviation, or cure of disease.  However, if we actually apply this definition then technically every farmer on the planet is practicing medicine without a license because food is important to maintain health and prevent diseases such as scurvy. Since the prevention of some diseases like obesity or degenerative disc and joint disease requires correct movement of the body, all personal trainers are also practicing medicine without a license. This broad definition does not work in the real world even if the American Medical Association (AMA)  really really really wants to have a monopoly on health care. So taking into consideration what the AMA actually promotes in this country and filtering out those who do not fit into that box, we finally come up with a working definition of medicine.

Medicine: The treatment of diseases and symptoms by any means necessary including but not limited to drugs and surgery and whose practitioners (in the USA) require a license from a Board of Medical Examiners.

The reason we must exclude the term ‘health’ from the working definition of medicine is because the definition of health itself renders it outside the practice of medicine.  HealthFoodsHealth: The condition of an organism or one of its parts in which it performs its vital functions normally or properly. Although some medical treatments do result in the restoration of health this is not the goal or common practice. For example, if we have a disease or symptom and we go to a medical doctor the doctor will attempt to control that disease or symptom usually by chemically stimulating or inhibiting another function of the body to compensate for the symptom. Most MD’s, except an extreme minority who are practicing on the fringe of medicine, will not attempt to help the body restore normal function on its own. Even when we go for a physical or routine check up, an average MD is not looking for normal function or to enhance it. They are trained to look for abnormal function, and they are very good at finding it with the amazing technology we have today. Thus the AMA has set out to describe “normal” function as a means of ruling in/out abnormal function. Unfortunately this effort has resulted in the misconception that the average function in a population equates to normal function in any one individual. Most people do not spend enough time with their MD to be able to identify their unique normal function.  If there was a medical art that attempted to restore normal function, (not metrics or “levels”,) then this art has been lost by today’s dominant medical practice in America.

This brings us to the next working definition we need to address before debunking this myth. We need a working definition of the medical system we have in the United States of America today to see what the alternative forms of this system might be. Now, the more we hesitate to define something in a clear way the less we can rely on the scientific method. Science revolves around observation and we must clearly define what we are observing to collect accurate data and make hypotheses.  Dr. James F. Winterstein, DC,  president of National University of Health Sciences, once said in an interview; “Chiropractic is what chiropractors do.” This is a terrible attitude to take toward studying something, especially the effect of medical or health based practice. What is the purpose of a license to participate in a particular profession if the practitioner can simply do what they want and say their license covers it? Should your Electrician fix your plumbing? Should your Veterinarian charge you for approving the foundation on your office building?

With this in mind let us look at what our current medical system is and does to clearly define it. I don’t think that most people reading this will argue with the fact that the United States has the worlds best medical technology and emergency rooms. The treatment of communicable diseases and emergencies in this country is rivaled by very few. People travel from all over the world to receive treatment from American medical specialists. However when you look at the health of the American population it is ranked far below other industrialized nations. In the United States today, we have one of the world’s best disease and crisis care systems but we have a pitiful health care system. It is important to make this distinction because disease care does not equal health care. Both are important but different. The working definition of today’s medical system revolves around the treatment of diseases and symptoms.  Both symptoms and diseases are caused by abnormal function. But does today’s dominant medical system really seek to normalize those functions or just to normalize the results of the body’s inability to regulate the functioning parts?

If you go to an MD and they find your cholesterol levels are higher than average you will likely be prescribed a statin drug. A statin drug does not restore theDrSyringe body’s ability to “normalize” the production or use of cholesterol, but rather it chemically alters the body’s ability to make cholesterol. This renders one of the the vital functions dependent on the drug. Or you might go in for a check up and report that you have been feeling depressed. The MD might give you an SSRI drug. An SSRI anti-depresant does not address the body’s ability to regulate the neurotransmitters involved in positive emotions but rather it chemically alters the body’s ability to reabsorb serotonin. If a drug was to actually restore health then it would only be taken for a short amount of time until the body would be able to function better, or at least the same as it did before the disease or symptom began. Same is true of most surgeries. Does the removal of a tumor do anything to address the body’s malfunctioning immune system that allowed to over growth of cells to begin with?  When the most common approach utilized to treat a person are drugs and surgery then our current medical system is disease care by working definition.

Now there are many different types of medical professionals who practice the art of disease and symptom care; MD’s, DO’s, DPT’s, ND’s, Dietitians, Dentists, and technically even witchdoctors.  So it is easy to get convoluted in our definition and interpretation of medicine. We bring in additions to the word medicine like; traditional, alternative, modern, mind-body, evidence-based, integrative, sports, or natural. I find it funny that most people in this country call natural treatments, herbs, and life style changes “alternative medicine” while the most recently developed drugs and surgery they call just ‘medicine’. The natural treatments are the original and drugs/surgery should be the alternative. But I digress… Anyway, most of us can agree that although there are different types of medicine they all have the common focus and goal of treating diseases (illness) and/or symptoms.

WHOThis brings us to the place where we need a good differentiation of modern (American) verses traditional verses alternative medicine, if that is even possible. According to the World Health Organization:

Traditional Medicine: the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness.

Alternative Medicine/Complementary Medicine (CAM): The terms “complementary medicine” or “alternative medicine” are used inter-changeably with traditional medicine in some countries. They refer to a broad set of health care practices that are not part of that country’s own tradition and are not integrated into the dominant health care system.

So we can eliminate our current medical system (in the U.S.A.) from being under the term ‘Traditional Medicine’ because it is not the sum total of indigenous knowledge, skill, or practices and it does not concern itself with the maintenance of health. How much does your health insurance pay for preventative maintenance or treatments that actually increase your body’s ability to self regulate? No, our current “health care” system is a disease and symptom based system that is not interested in health or keeping people from developing diseases. This is simply because the practice of medicine, by working definition, is wholly focused on the results/symptoms of dysfunctions and the practitioners of medicine would be out of a job if diseases were prevented.

Now, we might be able to argue that our current medical system is actually CAM because it is not part of our country’s tradition except for the past 50 years. But on the other hand, we can also eliminate our current medical system from being under the term CAM because it is the dominant “health” care system but does not include practices that are not integrated into the AMA guide lines.  Many will believe that the AMA guidelines and common practices are the hight of scientific knowledge, this is unfortunately false.

Phew! After all of that, we have a working definition of Medicine: The treatment of diseases and symptoms by any means necessary. And we also have a working definition of Alternative Medicine (look up two paragraphs above this.)  So now we can move on to finding out why Chiropractic cannot and does not fit into the definition of medicine, alternative or otherwise.

Chiropractic and the chiropractic art:

Since the beginning of the profession and art, chiropractic has been very narrow and exclusive about what it is and what it does. Although the scope of legalD.D.Palmer practice has been expanded to incorporate some medical philosophies and practices, this was not the original intent of chiropractic directed by the founder (Dr. D.D. Palmer) or his son, the developer (Dr. B.J. Palmer). Hundreds of early chiropractors went to jail to set the legal president that Chiropractic was a separate and distinct profession with a distinct focus and practice.

bjpalmerstampThe mixing of chiropractic and medical practice and/or philosophy was intensely demonized by both D.D. and B.J.  They used terms like “Mixer or Medi-practor” to distinguish between those that practiced real chiropractic and those who practiced medicine with a Chiropractic degree.

“MEDI-practic or MEDI-practor. MEDI, first two syllables of MEDI-cine and, A MEDI-practor, falsely represents MEDI-cine AND chiropractic, is an impostor to both, using subterfuging deceptions to both professions. A MEDI-practor is a mongrel, belonging to neither species or professions.” — B.J. Palmer D.C.

 “Chiropractic is founded upon different principles than those of medicine.” — D.D. Palmer D.C.

Although the practice that most states define as chiropractic is technically mixed with medicine, thus allowing the medical system to incorporate it, this is a compromise of the truth. To tease apart this compromise we need to have a working definition of real chiropractic that transcends the circular logic fallacy that “chiropractic is what chiropractors do.” Let us look at the original definition and remove what does not apply to the terms of a working definition. One of the first and best textbooks on chiropractic written by Dr. R. W. Stephenson D.C., Ph.C. states:Subluxation3

“Chiropractic is a philosophy, science and art of things natural; a system of adjusting the segments of the spinal column by hand only, for the correction of the cause of dis-ease.”

The term ‘dis-ease’ is used to refer to a state in which it is not easy to function. And by ‘hand only’ refers to the choice to only use the application of specific force to give the tissues of the body a chance to restore ease of function. Since the spine is literally the core of who we are, the most effective place to add that force is there. Not only does it have an intimate relationship with the governing system (brain and nerves) but it also has an intimate relationship with the muscles and connective tissue that allows us to move through life. Those two systems, musculoskeletal and nervous systems, control and mechanically effect every other system of our bodies. Small dysfunctions can have systemic effects because our body works as a whole unit. The less ease of function we have the more susceptible we are to outside forces like microorganisms, poisons, pollution, stress, and negative autosuggestions.

AutonomicNerveChartThe crux of chiropractic is the natural functions of a living body. This is where chiropractic places all of its energy and focus for the purpose of not only learning how these natural processes work but also learning how to work with them to maximize our efficient function in nature. This is why we can conclude that the working definition of chiropractic is: A system of adjusting the segments of the spinal column to support natural function through applying philosophy, science, and art. 

The goal of chiropractic has more to do with increasing the function of adaptability in people and less to do with fixing a symptom or disease. By the time symptoms and diseases set in, the body has been in a state of adaptive dysfunction for so long it begins to break down.  Now helping the body restore ease of function is as good to a sick person as it is a healthy person. If a sick person can adapt better to the situation they have the best chance to get well. If a healthy person can adapt better to the situation then they have the best chance at staying well.  In no way shape or form does a chiropractic adjustment directly fight disease, injury or symptom. This is the difference between medicine and chiropractic. It may be argued that chiropractic is AN alternative TO medicine because a person that stays well does not need medicine. However, since medicine treats the body from the outside to alter function while chiropractic helps the body remove the blockage in function from the inside, then chiropractic cannot be considered a type of alternative medicine.

Another, and less important fact that makes the classification of chiropractic as alternative medicine incorrect, is that chiropractic is technically incorporated into the dominant health care system of this country. Most insurance companies cover some chiropractic services and even the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) states that chiropractic can be a useful treatment for certain symptoms. Also, it is part of this country’s tradition because it was founded and developed in Davenport Iowa around 1895.

health_continuum2.5

Here is the bottom line: the goals, outcomes, practices and sciences are too different between medicine (alternative or otherwise) and chiropractic to label them in the same category. But in practical reality, why should we care how about the label of things? Labeling things and classifying them is how the language dominant hemisphere of our brain processes information. What to do with those things and their meaning is how the language non-dominant hemisphere processes information. We need both ways of processing information to be able to arrive at the best solution to life’s problems.  Medicine has its place and chiropractic has its place in the complete care of an individual living human system. One to address saving life and one to address supporting life. However, we have to properly label them to be able to correctly understand what they do and how we can use them.

False labeling chiropractic can negatively affect our decision making when we start expecting chiropractic to provide medical results in scientific studies. Most scientific investigations published about chiropractic look at a medically modeled system with the measure of symptoms as the metric of success or failure. Any study, done by chiropractors or other doctors, that claims to show changes in symptoms after a chiropractic adjustment is measuring the results of chiropractic incorrectly. There are tons of studies that show chiropractic is a good treatment for some types of pain, and many others studies that indicate chiropractic can be an effective treatment for everything from scoliosis to childhood asthma.  AlexGrayEnergyBodyBut all of these symptoms were actually changed by the people being studied not by the chiropractor. So when studies get published saying there is no evidence for “causation,” they are right. The cause and the cure, according to the Chiropractic principles, are in the patient.  The best way to research the effects of the Chiropractic art is in measuring the changes in the nervous system in terms of function not symptoms. The real goal of the Chiropractic adjustment is to help remove the resistance from the flow of self organizing information in the patient’s body so that the patient’s body can function better and do more. If the flow of information has improved then there should be better information integration functions in the cells of the body. The brain and spinal cord are the first places to find evidence of a change in information integration because they are made of the most sensitive cell of the body.  They are literally the cells whose main job is to inform about changes in and around every cell of the body, or sense change and respond.

Spine1More research needs to be done in this field and that responsibility rests on the chiropractic profession.  I for one don’t want to do this research because I enjoy practicing Chiropractic so much. But this is a poor excuse and I hope one day to be able to give a contribution to more appropriate research on Chiropractic. Writing this blog has given me lots of time exploring the current research and it has been as challenging as it is rewarding.  It has given me an appreciation of words and the writing process that I did not know existed, especially inside of me. It is because of this great respect that I must adamantly oppose the term alternative medicine in relation to chiropractic. There is medicine, there is the type of medicine that exists outside of the United States of America’s common practice and then there is health care. Chiropractic has about as much to do with medicine as eating, sleeping, and exercise.  If you consider farmers medical practitioners then you will disagree with me and in that case you are free to call chiropractic an alternative medicine.

Stay adjusted and stay healthy, my friends.

Much Love,
Dr. Tad

Debunking The Popular Myths About Chiropractic Part 2

debunked

Some of the links are embedded into the 
highlighted text and others are cited below.
To view part #1 click here.

#3) Chiropractic neck adjustments cause strokesStrokeBrain

            Yikes! This is a scary one and the people who spread this myth are counting on that. There are only a handful of studies that look at this, few of them by testing the anatomical or physiological aspects of the body necessary to scientifically prove a causative effect. Most of these studies come to varied opinions by simply looking at statistics and applying different forms of analysis. Since the estimated risk range is HUGE (1 in 5000 to 1 in 5 million {[i]} depending on who you read) we must carefully read the body of evidence in its entirety before we jump to conclusions, because a range this big is very suspicious and essentially tells us nothing. The most telling study that I have come across is from a Chiropractic school where the least experienced “doctors-to-be” practice on people. If there is any place that would run a high risk it would be in the schools. However Jaskoviak {[ii]} reported that not a single case of stroke occurred in approximately five million cervical “manipulations” at The National College of Chiropractic Clinic from 1965 to 1980.   Not one!

            Everything comes with a risk. That is a fact that cannot be ignored by anyone. Before I go into too much detail lets look at the supposed risk of chiropractic compared to other things that most of us do without giving a second thought. According to www.squidoo.com/oddsdying on the odds of dying:

HomerReeper2Stroke in the general population 1 in 23

Motor-vehicle accidents over-all 1 in 87

Complications of medical care 1 in 1,313

Fire in building or structure 1 in 1,451

Drowning while in natural water 1 in 2,370

Fall involving furniture 1 in 4,225

Storm 1 in 4,346

Struck by lightening in your lifetime (Est. 80 years) 1 in 5000

Drowning while in swimming-pool 1 in 6,258

Drowning while in bath-tub 1 in 11,042

Average of the insanely large range from “scientific” studies of chiropractic and stroke 1 in 2,497,500

            Now I am not statistician but I can’t figure out how the risk of dying from stroke being 1 in 23 in the general population and the absolute worse estimate for stroke due to a neck manipulation being 1 in 5000 can somehow show chiropractic to be dangerous. If anything it seems to show that we are more likely to drop on the sidewalk from a stroke than on a chiropractic table by thousands of times over. But then again, a chiropractic adjusting table is technically furniture and since that is statistically more dangerous than the adjustment from the chiropractor, it may increase the risk.

For the sake of argument though, let us pretend that the risk is around 1 in 5000. Think of how many chiropractors would have strokes victims in their offices since the average chiropractor delivers around 5200 neck adjustments a year. That averages out to at least one per DrSyringeyear per chiropractor. Think of how much malpractice insurance would cost for chiropractors if every chiropractor was causing one stroke per year! In reality medical malpractice insurance is at least 30x more expensive than chiropractic malpractice insurance. So if $$$ talks then chiropractors are at least 30x safer.

 

One of the major logical errors that we need to be careful of is mistaking correlation with cause and effect. For example, when the weather gets hot more people choose to drink lemonade. Since August is a hotter month in America the increase in lemonade consumption has a correlation to the month of August. However, it would be silly to say that it is the actual month of August that causes the lemonade to jump in peoples’ mouths. This is basically the same with strokes and Chiropractic. Most people who are in the early stages of a stroke start off having headache, shoulder, and/or neck pain. These are very common reasons for seeing a chiropractor. So these people, who are already in the process of having a stroke, walk into the chiropractic office and guess what follows. There may be an argument for a correlation with chiropractic and stroke but there is absolutely no scientific evidence that chiropractic adjustments causes strokes.
ThinkDangerous

The second logical error we need to be careful of would be to only read part of the information and then jump to a conclusion. The majority of the studies that show a higher risk than is reported in reality do not just look at chiropractors. According to Terrett ([iii]); “manipulations” administered by a Kung Fu practitioner, GPs, osteopaths, physiotherapists, a wife, a blind masseur, and an Indian barber were incorrectly attributed to chiropractors.” We must recognize that an MD, DO, or DPT can take a weekend course on “manipulation” then proceed to adjust everyone who comes into their office. However, chiropractors train for a minimum of three years to adjust correctly. This is a huge difference in the amount of training that each profession receives. Personally I would never let a medical doctor adjust me. I would also never let a chiropractor remove my appendix or prescribe me drugs simply because that is not what they are trained for and thus the risks go up.

Here is the bottom line, when all of the literature is read thoroughly; zero scientific evidence can be found that shows chiropractic neck adjustments causes strokes. This is simply a case of fear mongering. When the absolute worst-case scenario is about as likely as getting struck by lightning and in the best case we are 25x more likely to be killed by an asteroid, then chiropractic seems extremely safe by comparison.

[i] Chestnut J: The stroke issue: Paucity of valid data, plethora of unsubstantiated conjecture. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2004;27;368-72. http://www.jmptonline.org/article/S0161- 4754(04)00054-5/fulltext

 

[ii] Jaskoviac P: Complications arising from manipulation of the cervical spine. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1980;3:213. Not available online.

 

[iii] Terrett AGJ: Misuse of the literature by medical authors in discussing spinal manipulative therapy injury. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1995;18:203. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7636409

 

 

#4) Chiropractic adjustments hurt

Unfortunately, of all the myths I have discussed so far, this one is the most likely to be true. A good chiropractic adjustment will most of the time feel like a huge relief. However there are some factors that can make this myth true like:Ouch

1) The skill of the chiropractor at finding the right place to adjust

2) The severity of the subluxation

3) The skill of the chiropractor at delivering the adjustment

4) The ability of the patient to relax

5) How much pain the patient is in to begin with

6) How much dysfunction the patient has to begin with

A great chiropractor can make the most difficult adjustment easy and comfortable but a poor chiropractor can make the easiest adjustment very uncomfortable. It greatly depends on the skill of the chiropractor and how good of a relationship between the patient and the chiropractor. That is why when people ask me what to look for in a chiropractor I always start with the most important factor; How much do you trust the person with the chiropractic degree?

Your relationship with your chiropractor plays a big factor in how easy it is to relax right before the adjustment. Since you cannot control how the chiropractor adjusts the best factor you have in your control is your ability to relax. Stress:RelaxThe more relaxed your muscles are the easier it is for your body to correctly receive the adjustive force. This is why some chiropractors recommend receiving a massage before an adjustment. However I totally disagree. A good chiropractor should be able to place your body into a position that is easy to relax into and deliver the adjustment faster than your muscles can tense up. I feel it is laziness on the part of the chiropractor to recommend massage first. If the chiropractic adjustment restores the proper communication between our brain and body then it would make more sense to have your brain fully in charge of the muscles before trying to get them to relax with massage. Otherwise you will be fighting against the massage therapist rather than working together.CrabPinch

The next thing to remember is that there are multiple ways to accomplish something. It is your responsibility to let your chiropractor know that what they are doing makes you uncomfortable and you would like them to try it a different way. A good chiropractor should be able to accommodate this. Again, the more you relax the better so if you are being positioned in a way that makes it more difficult to let go then say something.

One last factor that is not in anyone’s control is the amount of pain that someone comes in with. The more pain you are in before the adjustment the more uncomfortable the adjustment might be but the more relief you will feel after. On the opposite hand, the more dysfunction someone has before the adjustment the more discomfort they might feel after the adjustment. Healing takes time and that time is not always comfortable. Think back to when you were a child if you experienced “growing” pains. Many times our brains will send us signals to tell us to ReduceSpeedslow down so our body can heal, grow, or reorganize. If our brain has been having trouble communicating with our body for a long time then after an adjustment, when the flow of information has been restored, the brain will have a better picture of how it needs to organize the body. Once it gets to work, many times, it needs us to stop stressing our body for a while and thus it triggers pain or discomfort to slow us down. One of my favorite chiropractic quotes; “Chiropractic is designed to help you function better not necessarily to help you feel better.” Now improved function will eventually lead to improved feelings but not always instantaneously. This is another reason that my family uses chiropractic to maintain function rather than to restore dysfunction after it has set in.

 

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below – I’d love to hear from you.
– Dr. Tad

 

 

7 Steps to Finding a GOOD Chiropractor

Not all Chiropractors are created equal. From an insider’s perspective (my husband is a Chiropractor, and we are close friends with many other DC’s who practice differently), not every chiropractor is right for everyone. You may have never seen a Chiropractor before, or you are looking for a change in DC. Either way, to find the right Chiropractor for you, follow these easy steps.bjpalmerstamp

  1. Ask Questions. You know what you want, either in results or in a Chiropractic method. Call around to different DCs, ask questions. If you know a Chiropractor from another location, call them and ask if they know someone in your area. You can also ask for recommendations online in forums, like on Facebook, or read reviews on Yelp.
  2. Vitalistic vs Mechanistic. This is where philosophy comes in. The founders of Chiropractic, B.J. Palmer and his father D.D. Palmer both gave full credit to the innate intelligence that runs every cell of your body.
    “The power that made the body heals the body.” – B.J. Palmer
    This is vitalism: the theory that the origin and phenomena of life are dependent on a force or principle distinct from purely chemical or physical forces. Mechanism focuses solely on the nuts and bolts of physical reality and nothing beyond.
  3. Look for integrity. They have to be practicing what they preach. Ask them who they get adjusted by and how often.
  4. They acknowledge the importance of other healthcare professions, such as massage, nutrition, physical therapy and medicine when needed, but do not try to offer these services themselves. A Jack Of All Trades is a master of none.
  5. Insurance shouldn’t be a factor in how you’re adjusted. Make sure their recommendations in terms of treatment has nothing to do with how much your insurance will pay. If they say, “your insurance covers 24 visits, so we’ll give you 24 visits,” that obviously isn’t meeting your need. Make sure they are considering what YOU need & want while using Insurance as the tool (not the determining factor) that it is.
  6. Subluxations: A DC should know what it is, how to find, how to correct and when not to adjust. A subluxation is a bone or joint that is causing unnecessary mechanical stress on the nervous system. A DC should be able to find them, and correct only subluxations. Not all misalignments are subluxations. Many times the body will “misalign” when it’s compensating for a problem in another area. This compensation is a normal and healthy response to keep the body functional when the problem is present. If a chiropractor adjusts a misalignment without addressing the problem, a persons body will just misalign right back out until the compensation is no longer necessary.
  7. You’re the healer, not the Chiropractor. Your body built itself from a single cell and knows how to heal. In fact, you’re the only one that can heal you. All the chiropractor can do is help reduce and eliminate mechanical interference in the nervous system. This allows for your body to heal more easily. It’s important for your chiropractor to know this in order to allow your body to do what it does best.

7 Steps to Finding a GOOD Chiropractor

 

Posture

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The ONLY way to improve posture is to work on balance & muscle control: use a fit ball when sitting.

Dr. Tad, The Roadie?

Dr. Tad, The Roadie?

Dr. Tad came out to Denver to adjust a band and their crew before their show. Zoey helped out too!

Dr. Tad says, “our bodies are made to move. When you pin a body up in a small space for an extended period of time (traveling), this is a big stress on the body. It’s nice to let go of some of that with an adjustment.”

Does your crew include a Chiropractor or do you have one at each stop of your tour?

Work Out To Prevent Injuries Part 3 of 3 (Dedicated to everyone who sits a lot)

This is the last post in a series on how to avoid common exercise related injuries and pitfalls. During the last two posts we laid out some general guidelines and principles to be applied to any workout you choose. This post will be a bit different. Today we will lay out a specific workout designed for people who sit all day long.  All of the principles from the previous posts will be applied to target areas that become under-worked due to the stresses of having a sedentary job.

I am very lucky because my job is very physical. Being a chiropractor requires me to be constantly moving: not only my body, but also the bodies of people that come to see me every day. I show people exercises and stretches all day so I have the benefit of being in constant motion. Not everyone is as lucky as I am (although its not too late for you to become a chiropractor!) but that does not mean that you have to be unhealthy just because you don’t have a physically demanding job.

In life we have three options.

  1. Change nothing.  However nothing will change.
  2. Change what you are doing. This is not an option for everyone. I don’t expect you to quit your job just because you want to move your body better (it is still not to late to become a chiropractor, just saying.)
  3. Change the way you do things.  This is a far more practical option for most people. Ideally you could change your work station to be more ergonomically efficient.   Move your work station higher and place different pieces of office equipment around you so that you are standing and moving around the room all day. If this is not possible you could switch out your office chair for a fit ball so that, even though you are sitting, your spine and core muscles are constantly working to keep you balanced and on the ball.

There are many ways of accomplishing option #3. If you cannot change your work space then the next thing would be to look into changing your body movement outside of work to compensate for your work posture.  This is what we will look into today. How to workout to counteract office posture and stress so that it affects you less.

  1. Squat More. This is likely the most important factor missing in most sitters lives. We do not squat down in our society and it causes untold amounts of pain and suffering.  Our legs and hips are the biggest bones surrounded by the biggest muscles of our body. In contrast our spine is made of many small bones surrounded by some of the smallest muscles we have. Our societal habit, however, is to bend and sit in a way to take the load off of our biggest bones and muscles only to place it on some of the smallest and make them do the moving. Does it not make sense to use the big bones and muscles to do the big movements while saving the small ones for the stabilization and detailed tasks? Squatting is also the easiest and most natural way to birth a child or to go to the bathroom.  If any of you reading this have small children who have learned to walk within the last 3 years, watch how they move when they want to look at something or pick it up off the ground. They squat down! There is a reason why kids have to be told to “sit up straight in their chair.” It is not natural!!!  OK my rant is over…sorry.  But seriously we have trained ourselves in this society to use our bodies so backward from the way they are designed and we wonder why we have such a high hip fracture rate and back pain prevalence.  If you cannot squat on a regular basis you can at least practice it a few times a day. During a squat the inner pelvic muscles, the deepest core muscles, are the most engaged. If we have strong flexible inner pelvic muscles we will never have to worry about hernias, low back pain, disc problems, non nutritional constipation, non traumatic hip fractures, organ prolapses, or bladder weakness as we age.  The list could go on but I don’t want to get too technical.   PerfectSquatSo how do you perform a good squat?  First shift all of your body weight onto the balls and heels of your feet and keep it there. You know this has happened if you can pick your toes up off the floor. Second stick your butt as far behind you as you can. Third continue pushing your butt back until you have to bend your knees. Lastly go down as far as you can comfortably. When you have reached this place, hold it for a second then squeeze the inner pelvic muscles (you  squeeze these when you are keeping yourself from going to the bathroom) and push your hips forward like in a skiing type motion. Repeat 100 times.  You will feel this tomorrow!
  2. LungeLunge More. The lunge is a great way to practice balance and make sure we have a stable gate for the rest of our lives. Start out easy and simply take as large of a step forward as you can while keeping your back heel on the ground. Keep that back leg straight while you bend your front knee so that you can just barely see your front toes. Push both feet straight down into the ground while pulling the upper half of your body up to the sky. Hold it for a second then repeat with your other leg forward. Take 10 to 20 lunging steps like this and you will start to feel the burn. For added difficulty try doing this with a weight in each hand or up and down a hill.
  3.  OpposingArmLegRaisesArm and Leg Extensions.  Drop down onto your hands and knees for this next one. From here just extent one arm out in front of you as far as you can. Now extent the opposite leg behind you as far as you can. Be very conscious of squeezing your butt and rear shoulder muscles as tight as you can on the extended arm and leg. Hold here for a count of 20 or so then relax back to all fours. Repeat with the other arm and opposite leg.  Be sure that you are keeping your back flat, extended limbs even with your back, and your eyes stay focused on the hand stretched out in front of you. For added difficulty add some ankle and wrist weights.
  4.  ReverseSitUpsAKA Reverse Sit-ups.  Now lay on your stomach. Extent both arms above your head and both legs behind you so that your hands and feet are as far away from each other as possible. (Think of a football referee making the touchdown sign but face down)  From here tighten your back and shoulder muscles so tight that your head, arms, and legs come off the floor. Hold this for a count of 10 to 20 then relax back down. Repeat 20 times but don’t forget to breath through these. You can change this up a bit and make it more a brain exercise by lifting only one arm and opposite leg at a time. Again, increase the difficulty by adding wrist and ankle weights to this exercise.
  5.  PsoasEccentricEccentric Psoas Contractions.  Just keep reading, I’ll explain. From here roll over onto your back. Bend your knees and pull them toward your chest. Next, try to straighten your legs and push your heels to the ceiling.  Breath and feel the stretch in the back of your legs especially close to the back of your knees.  Now, with your knees straight, SLOWLY lower your legs to the floor. Work up to the point where you can slowly count to 20 or 30 in the time it takes you to lower your legs.  Then repeat 10 to 20 times. The slower you go the better! If this bothers your low back then place your hands under your hips or under the small of your back for support. The more you do this the less low back pain you will experience through out the day. If you have a good massage therapist and they have a Trigger Point chart on their wall, ask them to show you the pain pattern that the psoas produces. You will find it squarely on the low back. I can tell you from personal experience as well as from many years as a massage therapist that the majority of back pain in this country can be either directly linked to or has, as a contributing factor, psoas malfunctional imbalance.  This muscle needs to be strong but since sitting shortens this muscle it become short and tight pulling too hard on the low back muscles. Strengthen your psoas but do it in a way that elongates it. That is why eccentric muscle contractions are best for sitters.
  6. BridgingThe Bridge.  This is an advanced move. If you are just starting out or experience back pain regularly then it would be wise to skip this exercise until you are ready for it. You remember those super flexible kids in school who could bend over backwards, place their hands on the ground behind them, then flip their legs over their heads?  Well this is not NEARLY as difficult.  Start on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Now consciously squeeze your back and butt muscles as tight as you can and lift your pelvis up toward the ceiling so that all of your weight is on your feet and the back of your shoulders. Breathe!! Then slowly lower your pelvis down so that you can feel each back bone touching the floor one at a time all the way down your back. Once your pelvis is able to rest on the floor, arch your back so that you create a small space between your low back and the floor but your pelvis is still on the floor. Now relax, breath, and repeat 20 times.  If you want a real challenge then start on your back, bend your knees with your feet on the floor, and place the palms of your hands on the floor just above your shoulders.  Next push your pelvis up toward the ceiling so high that the only thin touching the floor is your hands and feet. You should be looking at the world upside down. Hold this position for a few breaths while you play around with tightening and relaxing the muscles of your buttocks, back and shoulders. Slowly lower yourself back to the floor and give yourself a high five!

Keep in mind that these are just a few exercises that are targeted to placing your body into the opposite position of sitting but there are many more. Take some time to learn others OR be creative and invent your own.  Do you have any office exercises that you recommend? Leave your comments below!

Good luck and keep moving!

Stay tuned for the blog…

Welcome to Organic Living Chiropractic 🙂