Over the last one hundred and ten years chiropractic care has become the second most utilized healing art in this country. This popularity was recently noted in an issue of Consumer Reports where people rated chiropractic to be the most effective treatment available for neck and low back pain.
Indeed, research abounds on the effectiveness of chiropractic for neck pain, headaches, and back pain. This fact has been recognized by mainstream medicine. The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) is “the Nation's lead Federal agency for research on health care quality, costs, outcomes, and patient safety.” This agency strongly supports the use of chiropractic:
“AHCPR recently made history when it concluded that spinal manipulative therapy is the most effective and cost-effective treatment for low back pain.” --Annals of Internal Medicine. 1998;128:65-66.
Study after study has shown the effectiveness of chiropractic on a myriad of musculoskeletal disorders (those affecting the muscles, joints, and ligaments of the body). These disorders include those of the jaw (TMJ), shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees and feet in addition to those of the spine. The gentle, effective, drugless art of chiropractic gets people better faster.
But what about health beyond the musculoskeletal system? I have observed in my own practice what chiropractors have observed for the past one hundred and ten years—patients receiving chiropractic care often benefit in amazing ways. It is not unusual for a patient being treated for low back pain to find that his ulcers disappear, or that her vision improves, or that he gets sick less, experiences increased vitality, or enjoys improved digestion. Why do people respond this way?
Your nervous system controls literally every function of your body. The nervous system coordinates the movements of your muscles and joints, monitors and adjusts the tension in your blood vessels, regulates your blood pressure and the amount of blood flow to your muscles and organs, regulates the function of all of your organs, and directs the function of your hormonal and immune systems. A good immunologist will tell you that there is no boundary between your immune system, your endocrine system (your hormonal system—hormones carry messages throughout your body and direct the function of various systems) and your nervous system. The nervous system is the master control governing all the functions of your body!
The spine is not only a complicated system of joints that allows us to bend, twist, absorb shock and move freely, it is the “housing” of a large part of our nervous system. Every “wire” that leaves your brain to communicate with your joints, muscles, organs, arteries and veins, skin, etc., travels through your spine. This information highway is the focus of chiropractic.
Consider that your stomach lining completely replaces itself every five days—your entire body replaces 98% of itself in one year! Most people imagine that disease is a static occurrence—in reality, disease is a pattern—a process that perpetuates itself. For example, consider what happens if you have a stomach ulcer for a week. After 5 days the ulcer is affecting a totally different stomach lining than it originated in a week before! If the nervous system is able to shift the pattern, as a new stomach lining is produced it can overcome the ulcer. The medical approach is to eradicate the bacteria (H. pylori) in the stomach that is associated with the ulcer. Interestingly, this bacteria is present in over 50% of people over 50 years old in this country, yet most of these people do not experience ulcers—clearly the bacteria does not cause the ulcer, it only takes advantage of a predisposition toward disease. The philosophy of chiropractic is to treat the source of this predisposition to disease. Again, to use the example of the ulcer, this source can be lifestyle related (nutrition, sleeping patterns, stress), or it can be related to the function of the spine.
To finish out the example of the ulcer, and to add proof to the pudding, a research study found that patients with duodenal ulcers (duodenal ulcers are those that affect the duodenum, which is the part of the small intestine that occurs just downstream from the stomach) receiving chiropractic care had pain relief and healing in an average of 3.8 days! A similar group receiving standard medical care took an average of ten days longer to heal and faced the hazards associated with medication. –Journal of Manipulative and Physiologic Therapeutics 1994 17(5):310-313.
The healing power of chiropractic comes from its ability to affect the nervous system.
Today’s Chiropractors receive an extensive, broad training that allows them to be more effective than ever. Most chiropractic schools actually require more hours of training than most medical schools. Training includes the sciences, pathology, diagnosis, and pharmacology that are often associated with medical school, plus the art and science of chiropractic, including extensive training in biomechanics, musculoskeletal disorders, manual skills, and nutritional and emotional health. The result is a well trained, effective, and holistic doctor that views health as a whole.I believe chiropractic to be the most rational, non-invasive, effective approach to total health on the planet. Chiropractic care optimizes the healing power within you. When you choose chiropractic you choose a holistic form of care that will allow you to express health and vitality to the fullest!
Read more about chiropractic here.