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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Thank You for Sharing Your Life with Me

This month I am taking time to look back at my years in practice to thank all my wonderful practice members who have shared their lives with me. I am very blessed to know each of you.

I have been privileged to witness the good and bad with my practice members such as celebrating their personal successes and giving them my shoulder during their sorrows.

I have been able to watch people blossom into a new vibrancy as they recovered their health. For many it is like watching a snake shed its old skin and reveal the new as they open up to a unique way of recalibrating the mind and body.

I have also accompanied folks on their journeys into the next world. Some were terminal and fighting to make every day count. Others reached an age where they were longing to reunite with with loved ones who had departed this life too early.

Parents desiring to give their children a super head start in life bring their infants and toddlers in for care. High school students crafting their athletic skills for an ambitious launch into college sports also make the commitment to chiropractic. I have been honored to adjust the spines of four generations in one family.

Not only do I work with all ages, I see many folks who struggle with chronic pain. They cope the best they can despite the high amount of stress burdening their health. I hear in their voices how the psychological sting of pain seems to take a greater toll on them than their damaged bodies do.

Those who decide to try chiropractic care for the first time are not sure how their bodies will respond. Healing is very personal and one size does not fit all. With the scientific understanding of anatomy
and physiology, the art of chiropractic must still be practiced differently from one person to another.

So I thank them for their sense of adventure and feeling that they can find a healthier self underneath the weight of life's challenges. It is their commitment that warms the office and sends smiles out the door.

As the year closes and 2015 approaches, typically we all look ahead and consider new goals. Should I have a bigger office? Maybe I need more adjusting rooms. I definitely need more shelf space.

But I quickly turn back to the realization that I can only adjust one spine at a time. I can't be in two places at once, and people don't want to feel like a number.

Someone told me a few weeks ago how she watched people come into the office beat up and flustered and then leave with a renewed spring in their step. I hadn't noticed something like that in a long time because I am busy adjusting the next person in line.

So, again, I say thank you, to all my practice members who want to be better on the inside and outside. They know what I mean when I tell them to take their renewed energy and go set the world on fire.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Chiropractic Dirty Words: Part 2

Last month I shared with my audience one of the dirty words of chiropractic. I wrote about subluxation, a word chiropractors cannot agree upon. Now I will present a word folks on the outside of chiropractic do not understand.

The next dirty word is maintenance. Someone can receive maintenance care at the chiropractor's office by receiving a spinal adjustment when he or she is not in pain. The reason for this is because superior benefits are experienced when the body is not in a state of stress.

Maintenance is highly valued when talking about car care. Making sure the brakes are in top condition and the engine has fresh oil are very important for safety. When precious cargo is on board, no one wants to risk a serious accident or breakdown late at night during treacherous weather.

I don't know anybody who says he'll wait until he gets a flat tire to check the pressure. We've all had to deal with the surprise dead battery, but to ignore the technician's advice and hope a Good Samaritan will come by with jumper cables does not make sense.

When the roof starts to leak or a few shingles have worn off, a roofer is called in to fix it. I know some incredible procrastinators, but people who enjoy comfort will not wait until the roof collapses.

How about lawn maintenance? Have you ever seen a yard that has grown out of control so badly that there is a fear of an alligator or grizzly bear living among the brush? That could be your spine!

To some, chiropractic is only for accidents and injuries. Being proactive is not synonymous with chiropractic if you happen to be an administrator of a health maintenance organization. The irony could really anger me, but I get adjusted instead.

Too often I hear the statement: if you start going to a chiropractor you have to keep going back. That haunts me like hearing Henny Youngman say, “Take my wife, please,” over and over again. I suppose if you start brushing your teeth you will have to keep doing that, too.

Why do we have maintenance drugs? Maybe people with kidney transplants really don't need anti-rejection medicines. Yes, I am being sarcastic. Even weight loss programs teach their participants about the importance of the maintenance phase.

Chiropractic is like anything else you make a commitment to. You will get out of it exactly what you put into it. Since the spine absorbs your stress every second, the wear and tear is real.

It is very tragic when I see folks who had no idea they were at risk and then suffered a rather simple injury that forced them to apply for disability. Now, the maintenance care they know helps them get out of bed in the morning and barely manage a few activities.

You are not a roof or an automobile. The spine cannot be replaced like a tire or window. Chiropractic maintenance care works. It changes lives. The best advice I can give is: don't wait.

Dirty Words of Chiropractic: Part 1

I've been writing about health and healing for quite some time and it can seem as if I am repeating myself. The rules for health are fairly basic but there is still plenty to discuss when it comes to chiropractic. As a thank you to my regular readers I am now going to reveal some of the dirty words of chiropractic.

Just like the old days on the back of the school bus and in the bathroom stall with the broken door, we can be rebellious and talk about some surprising topics. How can there be dirty words in chiropractic? Well, all professions have their disagreements and they can get ugly.

The chiropractic dirty word I will blurt out is subluxation. Oh, the cringing has begun. While some of my peers will rant all night about this word's profoundness, the other half will say it is as useless and extinct as the woolly mammoth.

I give tons of credit to my own practice members. They know all about subluxations. They come in to the office and tell me with no doubts that they are subluxated. They get adjusted. We work together to reduce their subluxations.

I don't know why it is a dirty word when when orthopedics, dentistry, and ophthalmology also use the word subluxation to define a dislocation or displacement of some type of anatomy. In chiropractic it is a spinal joint that has lost full range of motion which also demonstrates a number of dysfunctional processes that are taking place to cause discomfort and energy depletion.

A subluxation shows there is a stress in play that interferes with homeostasis. If it goes on too long, permanent damage can be observed. We don't want it to get to the permanent point.

The problem according to chiropractic complainers is that subluxations are a bit subtle. It is not as blaring as a heart attack or fractured femur. A chiropractor doesn't get the heroic response for adjusting spines the same way as someone holding an artery together during transplant surgery.

Chiropractic researchers want to perfectly measure a subluxation so they can say, there it is, oh my gosh! We can, however, look at health indicators before and after a spinal adjustment. There are clear changes shown with blood pressure, brain wave patterns, endocrine responses, immune responses, muscle activity and skin temperature.

Let's not overlook the unique form of palpation where the chiropractor relies on the hands to assess thousands of spinal presentations over many years of practice, storing them in his or her brain in order to give a personalized adjustment to each patient.

Subluxations are not complicated to my practice members. They know when they have let stress get the better of them. They also learn over time their own subluxation patterns. They have trained themselves to be more aware of their bodies' needs.

If you're not the type to shout out dirty words in public, you can whisper. But make sure to learn how subluxations affect quality of life so you can do something about it.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Is This Your Nervous System?

No pill will fix that!
Do it the way that works.

Chiropractic Recognizes You Are a Work in Progress

Last month I wrote about the garden hose theory and why the nerdy science types hate it. Now I want to talk about the term manipulation which I personally cannot stand.

In the last few weeks, folks mentioned they liked the garden hose theory because it made sense. Some said my style resonated with them and they felt comfortable talking to me.

These recent encounters reminded me that each person receives information differently and has a unique learning style. Some folks are visual learners while others are more auditory, and others need to hear stories. Word choice also plays an important role

So, let's get back to my dislike of the word manipulation. The general media and peer reviewed journals use spinal manipulative therapy as a way to describe chiropractic techniques. It sounds simple enough, but it has a negative tone.

Scientists like to manipulate variables so they can report that specific things happened as a result. It is just like the courtroom saying, proof must be shown beyond the shadow of a doubt. Everybody likes precision.

People, however, are complicated and cannot be manipulated. Do you want to be manipulated? It happens to soap operas characters, but when it comes to health, the variables are numerous.

To say chiropractors manipulate the spine leaves a bad taste in my mouth because I work with people on their health goals. They decide to pursue health. No one is manipulating them.

Please use the word adjust. I adjust people's spines. Because everyone is different, the adjustment is applied differently from person to person. How someone responds to an adjustment is different, as well.

The adjustment facilitates a change that can unburden the body to boost healing. The spine is a gateway to the rest of the body. For this reason, manipulation does not give honor to the true magnificence of the body's capabilities.

There is no need to get bogged down in the details of anatomy and physiology. But it is crazy wild what the body does by itself. I am so glad I don't have to remind my heart to beat every second or tell my immune system when to fight an infection.

As much as we study the body, its innate and automatic functions are quite the sophisticated orchestration of events. There is no manipulation. Our cells are finely tuned to respond intelligently and appropriately to environmental changes.

We can feel manipulated by forces in our lives that are beyond our control. The world is full of stress and doles it out quite liberally. We have the power to adapt and build up resilience with chiropractic.

Spinal adjustments can influence your organs to work more efficiently. You can address how your brain and nerves communicate survival needs from breathing to thinking and moving.

If you are ready to adjust to a better way of living rather than feeling manipulated, work with your chiropractor on a step by step plan to rebuild and re-energize.  

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Chiropractic and Your Power Supply

Have you ever heard a chiropractor talk about the garden hose theory? It's not really a theory, but it provides a simple visual to explain chiropractic.

Stepping on a garden hose shuts down water flow. Bending or kinking a hose does the same thing. Chiropractors use the garden hose illustration to explain how nervous system communication is disrupted by the pressure of a jammed or fixated vertebrae.

Chiropractic researchers who have never provided care to first time patients hate the garden hose theory. They would rather talk about disafferentation, mechanoreceptors, and nociception. Got that? There is a mild rivalry between the field doctors and university researchers.

As a front line doctor who hears many stories of people suffering from chronic conditions, I naturally encourage them to visit my office. When someone looks at me with puzzlement, I have to come up with a quick and concise reason.

Most people have the chicken and egg idea about chiropractic. First they fall and then their back hurts. We can take the chicken and egg story a bit farther to help someone understand how chiropractic has much wider benefits.

The researcher would prefer to lecture about long term disafferentation of the subluxation causing a break down of homeostasis, thus setting up the body for a disease. I would rather use the garden hose idea and explain how years of stress and injury put enough pressure on the spine to make the nervous system shut down the healing response.

If the garden hose theory helps somebody realize the garden can wither away and become overrun with weeds, that person may decide to take a keener interest in his or her health.

It does not matter how old or busy we are. We should not take for granted the healing reserves of the body. When life is rushed with different priorities taking center stage, we do plenty to wear out the body's nervous system.

Life is more important than fancy terminology. I would rather talk with people about their lives, helping them come to terms with the stresses they have control over. It is crucial to share how chiropractic plays an important role in stress management.

Folks who experience the benefits of chiropractic adjustments tell me how it works for them in their own words. They feel the tension in their bodies become released. It has been described as a rubber band being relaxed so a person can feel more calm and refreshed.

What they understand very well is that they don't have to let stress weigh down their spines. It doesn't take long for the body to alert us with pain, fatigue and illness. Certainly ignoring the body's hints can be worse.

I only hope I don't hear people say they are sorry they waited so long before coming in. At this point the garden hose theory is out. Now it's more appropriate to use the theory of the tangled string of lights. If you ever had to unravel a set of lights that are twisted into terrible knots you know I mean.

To maintain health and manage the effects of stress, you are invited to experience how chiropractic can turn up your healing power.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Your Bucket List Needs a Healthy Bucket

What's on your bucket list to do before you kick the bucket? The recent popularity of the bucket idiom has launched a funny movie and a number of coffee table books. Here's my turn. How are you taking care of your bucket?

How can you complete your bucket list, if your own bucket it getting in the way? Is it difficult to make plans because of health concerns? Our short summer has arrived and there could be a lot of great things to do but nagging problems can be detrimental.

With the usual picnics, festivals, and opportunity to be outside many folks are held back. They can't walk too long. They can't tolerate the heat. Events are too crowded. The parking lot is too far away. The bathroom is too far away and the line is too long.

These are not just bothersome things. For people with certain impairments this is their daily life and it forces them to stay home. Isolation and lack of meaningful activity are also important health risks that do not get enough recognition in the health arena.

What's the solution? We can help each other understand what is causing our buckets to wear out. Too many leaks lead to an empty bucket. The body is like a bucket and determining the leaks can help prevent health issues from taking away quality of life.

Chiropractic is a drug free and surgery free healing art that looks at natural ways to combat the stresses that wear away at the spine and eventually lead to damage in the rest of the body. Chiropractic is a great first step to manage stress.

Chronic health issues all start out as slow leaks in the bucket. Slow leaks may not be of concern at first, but a leak is a leak. Even someone driving on low tire pressure knows the tragedy that can be averted with proper intervention.

If someone takes the initiative to alter stress, the level of health achieved can be amazing. A chiropractic evaluation can paint a clear picture of stress effects. The spine not only mirrors what is happening with the rest of the body's organs, the spine itself can also weaken and become its own bad leak in the bucket.

You can take your own assessment of the cricks and cracks when you move. You can look at your posture in a mirror and see a head tilt, high shoulder, and feet rolling outward. A comprehensive chiropractic evaluation can connect the dots between spinal bones and the rest of the body's organs.

Learning to modify stress in one's life is not so easy. I hear many arguments that change is quite a personal challenge. We can all use a weekly adjustment to release built up tension and get back much needed energy so tasks don't seem as daunting.

Don't let stress drain you of your quality of life. I invite you to learn what a chiropractic care plan can do for your health. If you've never been to the chiropractor, put that on your bucket list. You'll enjoy the experience.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Chiropractic Tip: Wellness = Confidence

Wouldn't it be great to never need to take your blood pressure again? How about never needing to check your blood cholesterol, triglycerides, or glucose? Can we imagine having the perfect certainty knowing our bodies are working as they should?

Why don't we ever entertain that thought? Does it seem ludicrously irresponsible? Scientists already predict great health discoveries that are transforming quality of life. So, how's your quality of life?

If you knew you were giving your body exactly what it needed, would you have the confidence to say, I no longer need to keep taking these tests? Because the real issue here is confidence. Do you have enough confidence in your own life's direction that you could skip the screenings for at least five years?

It's no sweat when you're young and carefree. All your tests come out normal. But health doesn't run on autopilot. Eventually the numbers creep into caution territory. What a way to destroy someone's self image. People feel horribly about themselves and then fear takes over.

Why would my body do this to me? I have asked that question myself in the past when dealing with a health issue. And negative feelings don't seem to contribute to the healing process.

We already know what causes poor health. We know what makes the body invite disease. Therefore, we should already know what makes the body thrive. Here comes that confidence factor again.

The majority of diseases have environmental causes. What happens to your internal and external environments impacts health. And we have a great deal of control over our internal and external environments.

As a chiropractor, the most important job I do is help the body self-regulate so it can handle stress appropriately. Once the spine is too burdened to support the body, it burdens the nervous system. This results in body breakdown down due to loss of communication.

Here's the kicker: People feel death like decades before the nervous system actual deactivates the heart or brain. There is no state of confidence when people keep bouncing back and forth through the stress layers of aggravation, disruption, and unbearable.

Wellness is a state of confidence. I call everything else lost in the layers. They are the layers of stress that weigh us down when we let our environments get out of control. We must work on regaining confidence.

Chiropractic care contributes to better health. Studies have shown it improves blood pressure and heart rate variability. It is also shown to help endocrine and immune system disorders. Interestingly, significant positive outcomes are seen with Crohn's disease, Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis.

Chiropractic's most unique benefit is that it unravels the build up of stress that has short circuited the nervous system. Remember, no nervous system means no life.

Blood pressure and blood sugar are small brush strokes on the painting of health, but they especially indicate the resilience of the nervous system. You can use this information to take control of your environment. You can use chiropractic to regain confidence that your body is a marvelous creation.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Spring Time, Chiropractic and New Patterns of Healing

I noticed in the last few months that people have been sick longer and not healing in the usual time. I don't want this to become a downward pattern for folks. And especially if you have been in the hospital recently, you need to visit a chiropractor.
This is because the weakness that was in the body prior to the illness or breakdown was gaining steam for a long time. The imprint is still there in the nervous system after the doctor sends you home. The body has a memory of weak patterns that we prefer would not be repeated.
A Rand study was done a number of years ago that showed elderly people older than 75 who received regular chiropractic care had better health and spent less days in a hospital compared to their non-chiropractic counterparts.
Everyone at every age can benefit from this. The payoff from prevention is well-stated. It can be an uphill climb for some with chronic pain and dysfunction, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. We just need to plug away at it no matter how difficult it seems to begin.
Stress never takes a day off, not for one minute. We need to have a plan in place to counteract it. While stressful events rewire the body to repeat weak patterns, we can instill stronger patterns with chiropractic.
I tell people to never underestimate the healing power of the body, but we need to prune those nerve branches with adjustments to the spine. Chiropractic provides a unique way to extinguish negative patterns and reinforce the positive patterns needed for healing and homeostasis.
The most frustrating conversations I have are with people who are suffering greatly, yet think they already know what chiropractic can or cannot do for them. They are stuck in some negative patterns.
I also see the frustrations others have when they have been doctor-shopping, looking for the right treatment. One size does not fit all, and many of us still believe there is a magic formula. Formulas only work in algebra. Health-building requires you to become well-acquainted with yourself.
I don't want the long, dark winter to turn into a cold, disappointing spring. It is time to wake up and feel renewal. If you have been sick, I invite you to take advantage of the rebuilding aspect of chiropractic. If you are ready to stretch your wings and challenge yourself to be a better person, chiropractic is there to open doors for you.
I, too, want to wake up to a fruitful spring and have to admit, I am tired of the old clinical talk that has been drilled into me. Diagnosis and symptoms don't get people excited about life. I am weary of helping people get over one pain and watch them stumble into the next.
Chiropractic is not about dwelling on pain. It is about striving to make your mark in the world. We use chiropractic to give us the energy to accomplish more and help others. Who's ready?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Chiropractic is Like Driving

My dad taught me how to drive when I was in high school. That took incredible resolve and patience. Raise your hand if you've had the job of teacher while your inexperienced child stepped on the gas pedal.
     My dad gave me his tips and tricks. I had to use the front corners of the hood as reference points so I knew where my front tires were located. Then he used a wiffle ball to practice driving. He made me drive up and down the street and stop the car placing a tire right in front of the wiffle ball. I don't remember how many times I repeated the exercise but it took up most of an afternoon. At one point I parked on top of the ball and it was squashed. I think we quit for the day after that.
      I don't know if my dad ever saw the Brady Bunch episode where Marcia and Greg had a battle of the sexes to see who was the better driver. However, I knew my dad wanted me to be very precise when driving. The human body works in a very precise manner in response to exposures from the environment. These responses are determined by the nervous system as impulses are sent throughout the body. 
       One thing my dad kept professing during our driving lessons was that I would be making numerous subtle corrections with my hands on the steering wheel as I continuously assessed road conditions. It was this vigilance and correction that kept the vehicle moving safely down the road. This is similar to the body's nervous system that is always on duty assessing the environment. 
        A healthy body will be able to respond appropriately in good and bad situations. While we don't notice most minor corrections in the body, taking them for granted leads us to poor health. Back when my dad was reminding me to make continuous corrections while steering, he was helping me keep the car on the road. It only takes a minor distraction picking up the cell phone or changing the radio station to cause an accident. 
       Think of all the near misses you have had on the road. Injuries, toxins, and emotional upset can steer the nervous system off course like a ship on the ocean. If the body veers off course too many times, getting back on course can become futile. This is why we can benefit from chiropractic care. 
         Chiropractic provides the minor corrections that allow the nervous system to stay on track. Too many near misses in the nervous system is eventually exhausting and the next stressor could be more damaging. Chiropractors concentrate on the spinal changes that can set the nervous system off a normal course of regulation and healing. 
    While the spine can act as a shock absorber as we go about our day, the strain alters how messages are delivered between the brain and the body. Life can't always be a leisurely Sunday drive. And we certainly don't want to crash. Stay safe on your travels by getting your spine checked regularly.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Put Chiropractic on the Top of Your Prevention List

There is not enough prevention in health care. Physicians, dentists, social workers, physical therapists, and chiropractors all say it. We know prevention is a good thing, but road blocks can get in the way.

Primary prevention consists of activities such as proper diet and exercise to help the body avoid disease. Since most illness is life style related, this makes sense.

Another type of prevention, called secondary prevention, is early detection of a disease process. An early stage of treatment is preferred because it is usually less complicated with a higher rate of success.

Even the Affordable Health Care Act brags about covering prevention visits, so this is a good sign that decision makers realize it saves money and enhances life. But all good ideas have their problems.

For one, prevention is very personal. Some people breeze through life breaking all the rules, yet they seem to suffer no repercussions. Blame George Burns on that one as he smoked and drank to age 100.

People decide for themselves what they think is best for their own health. No one wants to be told what to do unless they get a paycheck for it. Doctors' instructions can seem to be very hard to follow.

I see it in my own life. When I am told how much work my car needs I begin to whine. Today of all days, really? I don't have time to replace nine things on my car. What do I need in order to drive it out of here? I promise I will come back to get the rest of the work done.

People also believe they have plenty of time to get to it later. I had one practice member tell me he was going to get healthy when he retired. Which he did, so I am glad for him. However, I've read too many obituaries that didn't work out that way.

In researching this article I came across a personal story in the Atlantic titled Why I Had to Close My Preventive Health Care Clinic. The doctor had great statistics on positive health outcomes. Numerous patients lost weight, improved their lab numbers and no longer needed medications.

Stories like these truly brought back quality of life for the folks who made the commitment to change their habits. But the owner relied solely on insurance and the reimbursements barely covered one fourth of his operation. His colleagues would not make referrals and hospitals would not partner with him.

That does not mean prevention is a lost cause. We will always encourage our practice members to strive to be their best. We can offer a helping hand by making prevention services as convenient as possible.

Routine chiropractic adjustments have been shown to keep people active which translates into many health benefits from pain reduction to more energy, better mood, and less sickness. This provides a nice ripple effect making other preventive practices more successful as well.

If you want to make important health changes, be sure to learn how chiropractic plays a unique role in prevention care.