Chiropractic is Not What You Think: The Science & Art of Healing

Chiropractic is Not What You Think: The Science & Art of Healing

A Parent’s Story

by Ed Arranga, guest author

Young girl's back being adjusted by a female chiropractor

“Chiropractic did not originate to treat pain: it originated to promote health.” — Anonymous

Chiropractic is known around the world. There are chiropractors in over 100 countries and 90 of those countries have national associations. The American Chiropractic Association estimates that the nation’s roughly 77,000 chiropractors care for more than 35 million Americans every year. But there seems to be a disconnect when it comes to the general public’s understanding of how they can help us improve our health.

Woman holding her back in painEveryone has a cousin or friend or knows someone who hurt their neck or back and went to a chiropractor to get help. That’s about the extent of interaction the general population has with the profession.

You see chiropractic offices tucked away in strip malls next to laundromats and liquor stores. They are largely invisible, never seen or talked about anywhere.

The sales pitch sounds like a bad marketing campaign from the 1950s — “health and wellness” — carrying with it the same promissory weight as the term “beauty salon.”

The profession has been around for more than 120 years. Sure, if you slip and fall and twist your back, you’ll think about finding a chiropractor. You remember they helped your cousin that one time. What more do you need to know?

And then one day, your son develops a chronic, debilitating cough that won’t go away…

A Growing Problem

My son, Jarad, developed a cough a few years ago, and my concern heightened as the cough became more frequent. The cough was almost constant and getting worse. We tried many healthful items like cups of tea with honey, a vaporizer, and decongestants, but this did not slow the cough’s trajectory.

We saw many different doctors: ear, nose, and throat specialists; neurologists; an allergist; and a gastroenterologist. None of their prescriptions worked.

We knew it wasn’t postnasal drip, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux, chronic bronchitis, chemical irritation, whooping cough, or a host of other possibilities, but we still didn’t know what it actually was.

The hacking was continual and, at this point, it had been going on for more than 2 years.

I didn’t know how my son’s throat could withstand the irritation of the sometimes very strong coughing. Several of the doctors began suggesting it was in my son’s head — a psychosomatic disorder.

It was time to move away from naysayers and find answers.

A Different Paradigm

“Look well to the spine for the causes of disease.”— Hippocrates

A friend advised me to bring my son to a local chiropractor. The initial intake assessment and exam were remarkably quick. The chiropractor placed Jarad on an upper-leaning adjustment table, grasped his head in his hands, and gently rotated his head in one direction and then the other, with the characteristic cracking noise (the cracking sound you hear is not bone, it’s gas — synovial gas — escaping from the joint) occurring each time.

Illustration of the Thoracic VertebraeThe chiropractor had Jarad turn over and lie on his stomach, feeling along his spine and putting pressure on the T5 vertebrae, in the thoracic area (the upper back.) The head turning along with the popping sound was repeated with both adjustments, and he tolerated the process well. In fewer than 3 minutes, we were done. An hour later, Jarad coughed.

It was the first time in over 2 years he went more than a minute without coughing. Jarad didn’t cough again the rest of the day. After 3 visits, his cough was 90 percent gone!

What had just happened? Why didn’t I know about this sooner?

It brought me back to a time 20 years ago when I was told there was no hope for helping my son’s autism. The “experts” told me to give up and move on, “Autism is now and forever, and there’s nothing you can do to help.”

That wasn’t true then, and it wasn’t true now. The coughing was NOT a figment of my son’s imagination.

And so I began to really comprehend, as Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reports, “Proper motion and alignment of the spinal synovial joints is a genetic requirement for health and a lack of proper motion in the spine represents a stressor.”

Health is Not the Absence of Pain

Today, 53 to 54 percent of children suffer from a chronic illness. There is an explosion of neurodevelopmental disorders that include autism, PDD-NOS, OCD, and ADHD.

Definition of the word ADHDBehaviors exhibited in children diagnosed with ADHD (attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder), specifically the inability to pay attention and being in constant motion, are manifestations of chronic stress.

An acute injury is very painful and needs immediate attention, but a chronic condition often sneaks up on someone unexpectedly. The joints send stress signals to the brain, and the brain releases stress hormones.

With this type of condition there is no pain, but the body is sick and will continue to send stress signals until all the conditions associated with chronic stress begin to manifest themselves in the body.

Spinal joints that are out of alignment will not move properly, will begin to degenerate, and will cause inflammation. Being chronically out of alignment will cause a chronic stress response. One might think it would be painful, but it’s not. That’s a misconception and major difference between acute and chronic illness.

When subluxations occur in the spine, these misalignments cause tension in the spinal cord or the nerves exiting from the spine. This causes an interference or imbalance in the nervous system messages to the various organs, tissues, glands, and cells.

This means the brain cannot communicate with the body nor the body with the brain as efficiently or effectively as nature intended, which leads to various dysfunctions and symptoms.

The Havoc of Stress

Understanding the basic stress response of the body provides the building blocks behind the art and science. When a person is placed in a stressful situation, the brain releases stress hormones, such as adrenaline, cortisol, norepinephrine, and others. The heart rate and blood pressure increase to send the hormones everywhere in the body.

Chronic Stress shown via 4 emojisThe body enters a state of upregulation, which is the process of increasing the ability to respond to stress. Catabolic processes begin breaking down complex compounds and molecules to release energy. There is an increase of cholesterol, blood-clotting factors, blood sugar, and fatty acids in the blood.

Catabolic activity is metabolically expensive, requiring that anabolic activities (healing, growth, and repair) are put on hold. The immune system is downregulated, which is the process of reducing or suppressing a response to a stimulus. Cell-modulated immunity is decreased. There is a decrease in factual memory and learning capability.

During an acute stress response, the senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste are heightened. The body is adapting to the situation and these varied responses are intelligent.

Survival depends on the ability of the body to properly respond to stressful changes in the environment.

The dangers arise when the acute stress response becomes chronic. The decrease in healing; growth; repair; memory; and brain-, organ-, and immune-function, is no longer temporary — it becomes permanent. The increase in cholesterol, blood glucose, fatty acids, and insulin is off the charts.

The increase in insulin downregulates the production of HGH (human growth hormone), the hormone responsible for longevity, anti-aging, healing, growth, and repair. Excessive insulin then prevents the production or proper utilization of magnesium, the mineral which is responsible for relaxing both skeletal and smooth muscles, the arteries, and the heart.

How Chiropractic Works

Chiropractors study physiology — the branch of biology that deals with normal functions of living organisms and their parts. Medical doctors study physiology too, but then focus mostly on pathology — the study of the origin, nature, and course of diseases.

Chiropractic returns healthful motion to the spine, which returns healthful motion to the body.

Daniel David Palmer, founder of chiropracticD.D. Palmer, chiropractic’s founder, defines chiropractic as, “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.”

Palmer also said, “Chiropractic is a restorative healthcare profession that focuses on the inherent healing capacity of the body and the fact that the nervous system is the primary system involved in that healing and repair.”

Steve Tullius, a pediatric chiropractor in San Diego stated, “Chiropractors are specifically trained to locate and gently correct these structural imbalances in the spine, known as vertebral subluxations, and by doing so, restoring balance and function to the nervous system.”

Chiropractic care adjustments facilitate health and function.

Chiropractic and the Immune System

A very important part of keeping our immunity strong is the lymphatic system. It consists of a network of lymph nodes, ducts, and vessels that move the lymph (a fluid made of white blood cells and chyle) from various parts of the body into the bloodstream. The lymph nodes are responsible for making immune cells that help to fight infections.

The better the lymph is able to travel through the body, the more it is able to carry the infection-fighting cells to every part.

The lymphatic system is connected to both the central nervous system and the musculoskeletal system. A chiropractic adjustment helps the central nervous system by removing subluxations that prevent proper communication throughout the body. The musculoskeletal system transports the lymph through the body as we move and contract our muscles.

Adjustments allow for more movement in the muscles, which increases movement of the lymph.

A Learning Experience

Illustration of the Cervical VertebraeAfter examining Jarad’s spine and nervous system, Dr. Holland explained that he had found areas in Jarad’s spine that were misaligned — specifically vertebral subluxations at C1 (cervical or neck area) and T5.

Dr. Holland began a series of gentle adjustments to restore normal movement and function to the spine, allowing the body to communicate more effectively. As a result, we saw Jarad’s cough disappear.

The source of the problem were the misalignments which were not allowing Jarad’s lymph glands to operate as they should.

His lymph glands were overflowing, causing Jarad to cough and swallow continuously in an attempt to clear them.

Jarad’s schedule consisted of 2 adjustments a week (generally Monday and Friday), for 6 weeks, during the corrective phase, dropping down to 1 adjustment a week during the support phase, for 6 weeks. Going forward, I plan to take Jarad once a month to help keep him subluxation free.

As a parent, I’m grateful to chiropractic for restoring Jarad’s health, and grateful to the chiropractic doctors who soldier on, rarely being given the recognition they deserve, while routinely performing some of the most extraordinary reversals of health fortunes in the healthcare industry.

Reference: https://www.focusforhealth.org/chiropractic-not-what-you-think-science-art-of-healing/

 

Neck Pain | Cervical Disc Herniation and Pinched Nerves!

What the Neck Pain?

If you have neck pain related to cervical disc herniation or stenosis as it relates to your c3-c4, c4-c5 and c5-c6, then you should read the following:

We see many patients who complain about neck pain, stiffness in muscles such as shoulders, arms and biceps who don’t even realize they may have herniated their cervical discs.

Below you will find common questions and answers about Cervical Disc Herniations. We also discuss basic treatment styles for such herniations and explain how they work.

 

What is a disc herniation of the cervical spine?
Literally, a disc herniation is when the nucleus pulposis of a disc migrates out through the annular fibrosis into the outer portion of a spinal disc.  What the heck does that mean?  Picture it this way.  A disc is like a jelly donut, it is made up of 2 parts.  The center is the jelly (nucleus pulposis) and it is supposed to stay in the center.  It is surrounded by the donut (annulus fibrosis).  Unlike a donut, there is no hole in the disc to inject the jelly into so there are really no weak points for the jelly to come out.

There are so many different ways an intervertebral spinal disc can herniate.  I see a lot of patients that get into car accidents (what doctors call MVA’s or motor vehicle accidents).  When you suffer a whiplash injury, when your head gets violently whipped back and forth, that is one way a disc can herniate.  Sports injuries, slips and falls, or even abnormal wear and tear.  If the body is out of alignment and one side rubs more than the other it can lead to an area getting weak and that can cause a disc to herniate.  In my practice, I see a lot of people with bad posture that have sustained herniated discs.  Repetitive stress injuries, overuse syndromes and a whole lot of other issues can also cause intervertebral discs to herniate, but I think you get my point.

Before, we list the symptoms, we should explain why you get symptoms.  First, when you herniate a disc that means there has been soft tissue damage.  That damage causes a response in the body that includes inflammation, muscle spasms and pain.  Now that combination of symptoms you can tag to any type of soft tissue damage including; sprained ankles, black and blues, shoulder injuries, even cuts and bruises.  I think everyone knows what happens when they stub their toes.  That is your body’s response to injury and damage.  It is your defense mechanism and you don’t have to think about doing it because it happens automatically.  With herniated discs, though, it doesn’t stop there.  The jelly (nucleus pulpous) creeps out of the disc and goes into the part of the spine that the spinal cord and spinal nerves go through.  That’s where the real problems begin.  Sometimes the herniation is large enough where the jelly pushes right onto the spinal cord or the spinal nerves that go through the area of the spine that the disc herniates from.  When you “pinch” a nerve like that you get a whole other list of symptoms due to the injury to the nerve.  These can include; pain, numbness and tingling, burning, weakness, loss of sensation, loss of muscle strength, loss of muscle mass (atrophy) and even paralysis.  We all know what happened to Christopher Reeves when he injured his spinal cord and that is no good.

At The Spine and Health Center of Montvale and The Spine and Health Center of Jersey City, we have had tremendous success helping patients with herniated discs.  We have a large population of our patient’s that have suffered herniated intervertebral discs in their cervical spines (necks) and lumbar spines (low backs).  At our office we have combined the latest advances in physical medicine to help treat, not only the symptoms associated with herniations, but the discs themselves.  We officer services ranging from Chiropractic, Physical Therapy,  Massage to more technological modalities like Laser, Decompression, Active Therapeutic Movements (ATM’s), etc.

I hope this will answer some of your questions about herniated discs. If there is anything more I can help you with, don’t hesitate to call The Spine and Health Center of Montvale.  Our phone number is 201-746-6577 or email us at info@thespineandhealthcenter.com.

Dr. Peter Wohl, DC, ART, BCIM


Our Locations – Montvale, NJ and Jersey City, NJ

The Spine and Health Center of Montvale – Chiropractic and Physical Therapy

The Spine and Health Center of Jersey City – Chiropractic and Physical Therapy

Do You Suffer From Low Back Pain? by Dr. Kelly Blundy & Dr. Josh Jagoda

You ‘ve heard about it, or maybe even felt it from time to time, but we come across it every day!  Yes, that uncomfortable neck pain that you have been experiencing, can really put a damper on your day and how you feel.  It can affect everything from driving, basic conversation, attitude,  or even sitting at your computer.

In many cases, we have seen neck pain that is accompanied by other symptoms such as shoulder pain, pain in between the shoulder blades, weakness, and even numbness and tingling into the hands.  When the weakness, numbness and/or tingling occurs, it tends to be a little more severe. This can be due to an affected nerve root, or maybe you have heard the phrase, “I have a pinched nerve.”  This is also known as radiculopathy. Radiculopathy’s can occur in the neck or the low back and is when one or more nerve roots are being irritated due to an injury. Some examples include disc herniation’s or disc bulges.  The pressure and/or inflammation that occurs near the spine typically causes the nerve to become more sensitive. Many patients often report numbness or tingling in addition to their pain.  If the neck is the area of injury, the arm, forearm or hands can likely be affected.  This is because the nerve begins in the neck and ends in the hand. So if the nerve is being irritated in any way it can cause symptoms at any point along the nerve. If the lower back is the area of injury, you may be experiencing pain, numbness or tingling into the hip, pelvis, thigh, leg or even the feet.  It is possible to have more than one nerve root affected at a time and this often results in multiple areas of the body experiencing pain.

“Hey, Doc, I just bent over to pick up a pen and my back/neck went out on me!”  That is a line we hear all the time!  Usually, within a few hours or days the patient typically tells us that they started to feel pain or other symptoms into their arms or hands.

Patients tend to believe that it was the act of bending over to pick up that pen that initially caused their pain.  What most people don’t realize is that our bodies can handle a lot before we ever begin to feel any symptoms. Think about the last time you may have had a visit with your dentist. You go in for your routine check-up and usually have to get a set of x-rays. Oh no!….. a cavity! But you don’t feel any pain in your tooth. How can that be? Well that’s because it takes a certain amount of pressure or damage to be done before our brains can register the sensation of pain.  What if we actually took care of the problem before enough damage was done to cause the sensation of pain or any other symptom?

Repetitive or improper use, lack of strength/flexibility, and what I call “poor spinal hygiene” or bad posture are some of the major causes and contributors to neck pain, back pain and of course, radicular nerve pain.

So, what is your next step? First, I recommend that you don’t take this lightly. You need to get evaluated by a medical professional, like a chiropractor, to make sure you can get a proper diagnosis of what the problem is and that your pain is not coming from another source.  Then, most importantly you will be given a treatment plan that will not only help ease your pain but also fix your problem.

I often get dealt questions such as “how long will this take, what should I do, heat or ice, etc? When I first see a patient who has these problems my first objective is to One, Identify the problem. Two, Get you out of pain and three, correct the problem!  As a healthcare professional, there are steps and specific goals that the doctor and patient have to take together before they can move forward with the care.  Much like diet and exercises, you need to have a strong foundation before you can advance to the next level.  The same is true for treatment of patients.

Phase I, which is known as the “Acute Phase,” is the period where the patient is in pain and has inflammation.  In order to progress to the next stage, it is very important to reduce any inflammation and ease pain so that the patient can move into the next phase of care.

Phase 2, is the corrective phase.  This is a stage of care where the doctor will start addressing the problem by restoring function to the bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Restoring the function of these structures will ensure that the body is aligned properly, moving correctly and your pain levels are continuing to decrease.

Phase 3, is called the stabilization phase.  This is the most important phase. Continuing care and strengthening the area is of upmost importance.  Making sure that the joint is “stable” and strong will increase the likelihood that your problem will not return.

Below are our top 5 steps of things you should do if you are experiencing neck and/or back pain with radicular (nerve/numbness/tingling) symptoms.

 

  1. 1.    Get an evaluation in a timely matter –It is important to make sure you know what is going on with your body.  Making sure that you are healthy is extremely important and you want to make sure that this condition is not only treatable but also not getting worse.  Plus it takes less time and cost less to fix a problem in the beginning stages then waiting for it to become more severe.
  2. 2.    Write some questions down to ask the doctor – Being informed and prepared is critical.  Having a good working knowledge of your condition, when it started, how it occurred, and what you can do to help engages you and can accelerate your recovery time. 
  3. 3.    Be prepared to see other healthcare professionals – Sometimes you need to see other professionals to follow up with your care.  XRAY,MRI, CT scans, EMG/NCV’s may be necessary to properly diagnose your condition. We want to have the appropriate information to best treat your condition.
  4. Inquire about an Anti-inflammatory diet and/or other natural was to reduce inflammation and pain – A large portion of pain is due to inflammation in the body.  Things like arnica oil, essential oils, ice and diet are natural ways you can reduce inflammation within the body.  Always ask us “how to” cut down your inflammation is an important way to decrease your level of pain and heal faster.
  5. Follow up with care and stay consistent – You likely didn’t hurt yourself due to a single event. It takes time for your body to heal but there are things such as rehabilitation and diet that can speed up the process.   Having consistent care will only help your recovery, strengthen your body and fix the problem so it doesn’t occur again in the future.

 

Don’t Let The Light Fluffy Snow Fool You While Shoveling! Tips To Not Injure Your Back:

Shoveling Snow, low back pain, injury, herniated disc, sprain, strain

   Even know the snow looks light and fluffy out there, don’t let that fool you when shoveling.  Sometimes it is not the weight of the snow so much as the repetitive movements of shoveling.  This light, fluffy snow is better than the heavy, wet snow, but it can still cause injury.  Here are a few tips to help prevent an injury:

1.  Take your time – if you are anything like me you want to complete the job ask quickly as possible.  However, in the case of shoveling snow, this is a recipe for disaster.  The key is to take your time, slow and steady wins the race (winning is not injuring your back).

2. Take breaks frequently – most people don’t realize how much energy they are expending when they are shoveling.  When you do take that break, you are usually very fatigued.  The key here is to take breaks every certain amount of minutes, for example every 5 minutes.  Set a timer on your watch or phone.  This is will allow your body to recover before you continue again.

3. Bend at the knees and hips – and lift the weight with your legs as you all know you should.  Do not use your back to lift because that is the easiest way to “blow out your back”.  The small muscles of your back were never designed for lifting and carrying, it is actually the large muscles of your hips and legs that were designed to do the heavy lifting.

4. Maintain a neutral spine – what does that mean?  Most people when they lift and carry flex their spine (rounding of the back).  This puts tremendous pressure on the spine and discs which are the cushions in between the bones of your spine.  It is the easiest way to injure your back because you are applying abnormal stress to parts of the spine which can’t handle that type of stress.  To stay in a neutral spine, you want to flatten your back or even put it in a very slight arch.  This will put the weight on the correct part of your spine and minimize your potential for injury.

5. Do not reach – the last thing you should do is try to over reach to get to an area.  This creates a “long lever” which can be harmful.  When reaching you put excess pressure with less support which can lead to injury.

6. Do not hold you breath – When you hold your breath while exerting you increase the pressure in your body, and everyone knows that we don’t work well under pressure!!!  Breathing is key for so many reasons.  It helps bring oxygen to your muscles to supply them with the energy they need to perform the tasks you are asking them to accomplish.  It also prevents from over-exertion injuries which can prevent things like light-headedness and headaches.

The most common injuries are sprains and strains of the low back, herniated discs and pinched nerves.  You can prevent these injuries by following these tips.  The cold is another reason why so many people hurt themselves while shoveling.  When your body is cold, the muscles are tight and less elastic and less flexible.  When you put stress on a cold, tight muscle it is much easier to injure.  Another way to prevent injury while shoveling is by warming up and more importantly staying warm.  Drinks lots of water to keep your body hydrated as well.  Please use these tips wen getting out there to shovel.  If you have any questions you can always contact us at the office and we can provide you with even more information to help you with an injury free winter!

What To Do Every Day To Prevent Back Pain

I know how overwhelming the internet can be, especially when you are in pain and trying to find answers. So in order to cut your time in half and get you the information quicker I’ll do the searching for you. Not all the answers on the internet you receive may be 100% accurate. So I want to help you get the best information possible. Below is a website that I browsed through and found that it has some useful information. Please let me know what you think.

  • First thing in the morning, don’t sit on the bed. Instead of sitting and rounding your back first thing, turn over and lie face down. Prop gently on elbows, but not so high that it strains. Don’t do this if it hurts. It should not hurt to simply lie straight. It should feel good and help you straighten out first thing. Get out of bed without sitting.
  • Count how many times you bend each day. Imagine the injury to your back by bending wrong that many times each day.
  • Lift using the squat and lunge, not by bending over.
  • Notice the huge amount of forward bending exercises, crunches, toe touching and most PIlates . Most people do not need more forward bending any more than they need a Tetanus shot every day. Use when needed instead of daily overdoing.
  • Notice bent forward and hunching positioning and exercises in fitness magazines. Then notice your own habits.
  • Don’t hold rigid “posture.” healthy movement is dynamic. Stopping back pain does not involve never moving the spine. healthy motion is crucial for health.
  • Stand and carry things without rounding your upper back forward or leaning back (exaggerating lumbar curve to the back or side).
  • When sitting, it is not true that you must “keep feet on floor” or keep “flat thighs” – parallel to the ground. That is often repeated, but it does not change injurious mechanics and is not needed. Focus on the main issue, not the trivia.
  • Don’t tighten your muscles to move or exercise. Gluteal and ab tightening was a pop fitness fad, not healthy medicine.
  • Walk, run, and jump lightly. You don’t have to tiptoe. Your body needs motion and impact for health. Just don’t jolt your joints into dust.

    EAT BETTER

    Pain From Food? There are foods that promote inflammation – dairy, meat, refined sugar, white flour. Even though most back pain is not inflammatory in nature, for those who load on inflammatory foods, and are sensitive to them, unhealthy changes can hurt. Instead, eat anti-inflammatory foods – leafy green vegetables, flaxseed, cherries, grape skins, blueberries, spices like ginger and turmeric.

    Unhealthful fad diets are increasingly recognized for joint and muscle pain effects, specifically Atkins and other low carbohydrate diets that restrict fruit rather than junk sugar. People will stick to these diets no matter how unhealthy; they’d rather lose weight through a fad diet than through healthier ways (low carbohydrate diets reduce water in your muscles – water weight loss – making muscles susceptible to pain, weakness, cramping, and other health troubles).