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Sunday, December 01, 2013

Chiropractic and Disability: Let's Work Together

In this week's Citizen...

I work with many folks who are disabled. The stigma of disability is very painful on the emotional front due to isolation and loss of employment which complicates the ability to heal the physical damage.

It is quite a blow to self esteem when someone's pain keeps them from performing adequately at his or her job. Someone with multiple absences and a much lower level of productivity faces the difficult decision of leaving a job that was once fulfilling. For jobs that are physically demanding, it becomes unsafe to remain employed.

Insurance companies often put limitations on treatment. Because no one fits a textbook example, care is usually prematurely stopped even though published studies have shown a less intensive care plan leaves people in a state of chronic pain one year after a traumatic injury. Fair or unfair, patients need to do the best they can to remain consistent with strategies to assist their healing.

I have worked with people who have dealt with debilitating headaches, fibromyalgia, depression, post-concussion syndrome, herniated discs, severe fractures, arthritis and multiple sclerosis, just to name a few.

The most common goal is to help people have more energy so they can take part in family activities. For many of them, getting their pain to a tolerable level so they are not always in bed is a monumental improvement.

From a long term standpoint, disability accelerates aging. As much as I hate the word aging, I need to use it in order to help folks get the help they need. Disabling conditions have one thing in common, the body's reserves were so low at the time of injury or illness that healing became greatly impaired.

The chiropractic adjustment helps spinal joints release mechanical tension that disrupts messaging to and from the brain. This can have an effect on organ function and how well the immune system protects the body from pathogens.

When the spine is not moving, health deteriorates. Getting people to move as much as they can without causing a severe flare up is an important aspect of maintaining health. This takes quite a bit of trial and error to find the happy medium for each person's needs. Chiropractic certainly helps with the ups and downs.

Probably the most compelling aspect of care is looking back at the ways the body was already in a weakened state prior to the injury or illness. There may have been a destructive pattern going on for years. Recognizing this and reversing the behavior patterns can be an important stress reducer.

Another benefit of chiropractic care is mood enhancement because of the brain and body connection at the spine. The spinal cord contains limbic system cells just like the brain does and a greater feeling of well being can be achieved with spinal adjustments. Anger and grief from past events can be managed more effectively.

Dealing with a disability or similar crisis can be a disheartening experience. Adding a chiropractor to your support team can be of great help.