Hello once again! As a chiropractor, I get a lot of mixed emotions from people when I tell them what I do. Some people hate us, some love us, many don’t understand us, and some are very skeptical. I have been told that we are all just a bunch of quacks, that we have no science behind what we do, that we are life savers and they wouldn’t go without us, and my brother-in-law’s personal favorite, that we are glorified massage therapists. Now he is typically just trying to get under my skin, but I find that there are many people out there that really don’t understand what it is that chiropractors do and why we do it. So why chiropractic? Let me tell you my thoughts.
The major philosophical belief of chiropractic is that the body is inherently smart and has the ability to adapt to different stimuli so that it can heal itself. A good example of this is if you cut your finger. When you cut your finger last, did you ever have to consciously tell your body to heal it? Probably not. You may have put a band-aid on it or something to keep bugs from getting in it and it getting infected, but your finger will heal itself without you having to worry about it a bit. In chiropractic, this is typically called “innate intelligence.” Now, I am not a person that believes that “innate” is some kind of entity that you can talk to and it will do things for you, I simply look at it as being what the most common meaning would be, inborn. This philosophy is not exclusive to chiropractic, but almost certainly if you have ever looked up chiropractic on the web you are destined to come across it. Another term you will probably run across is subluxation. Subluxation can have numerous meanings depending on who your source is. However, most often, subluxation will refer to a joint issue where one joint, or a group of joints, are not moving properly causing decreased signals to and from the brain. These decreased signals are often referred to as interference and many chiropractors believe that this interference can assist in creating dis-ease or a lack of health. So is this actually the case? Let’s look and see.
As I mentioned in my last post, the question that you ask in research is everything. As a chiropractor, my question isn’t can I treat your disease or cure your symptom the question I ask is can chiropractic get people back to balance and back to optimal health. I didn’t arrive to this on my own, by the way. One of my mentors, Dr. James Chestnut, had already asked this question and done the work to answer it. A very detailed explanation of chiropractic and how it works can be found in his book The 14 Foundational Premises for the Scientfic and Philosophical Validation of the Chiropractic Wellness Paradigm. In this book, he has put together a compilation of the research available and does and excellent job analyzing the scientific data that exists. Rather than spend time looking over this research here today, I think it would be easier to just look at physiology and neurology and how they work together. We must begin with some simple understandings. Your brain controls every cell, tissue, organ and system in your body. Food, if you will, for your brain comes from movement. You could potentially open up any major peer-reviewed neurology journal and find a study linking movement and exercise to increased brain function and decreased symptomatology of almost any symptom you wanted. As a chiropractor, my goal isn’t to remove all your different symptoms with an adjustment, rather to give your body what it needs in order for it to allow the self-healing self-regulating properties in your body to take effect. That is what we do as chiropractors. If you have any joint that isn’t moving properly within your body, the amount of input both to and from the brain is decreased to that area. In the case of the spine, spinal nerves innervate multiple structures ranging from the disc, facets, muscles, and most importantly, the systems of the body! There is a tremendous amount of research that shows the in’s and out’s of this process, but undoubtedly, if you are having decreased movement of the joints, you are experiencing stress physiology and that will lead to decreased systemic balance and less than optimal cell function. That applies to people of all ages, from kids to teens to adults to geriatrics. So why chiropractic? We restore proper function to the joints to keep the brain functioning at optimal capacity. When your brain functions better, your whole body functions better! Now get up and move and activate your brain!
Yours in Health,
Dr. James Ashley, DC