THE ART, SCIENCE AND PHILOSOPHY OF CHIROPRACTIC

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THE ART, SCIENCE AND PHILOSOPHY OF CHIROPRACTIC

The Science: Chiropractic is based on the scientific and anatomical fact that the central nervous system (CNS) that includes your brain and spinal cord, initiate control of the function of every cell, tissue, organ and system of your body. Your body is much like the Internet: your brain is your main frame computer, your spinal cord is the information highway, your spinal vertebrae are the protective housing in which the CNS sits. The skull and spine protects the CNS and the spinal cord which is really just a long extension of the brain. Emerging from the spinal cord, between the vertebrae are the 32 pairs of spinal nerves that permeate the entire body. These peripheral nerves control sensory, motor and sympathetic functions like keeping your heart and lungs working even when you are asleep. The sympathetic system conects to all the arteries, veins and organs in your body. The disruption of the function of these tissues or organs and the nerve control is called VSC or Vertebral Subluxation Complex. Chiropractic is the science of finding these areas of spinal malfunction, the art of correcting them and the philosophy of all things natural as we have been created.

In a new article, more evidence has emerged from what we were learing in my post-grad neurology course on how chiropractic manipulation does indeed affect the neurology of the body: Taylor HH, Murphy B, "The Effects of Spinal Manipulation on Central Integration of Dual Somatosensory Input Observed After Motor Training: A Crossover Study," JMPT, Vol33, #4, May, 2010. *Upshot here is the the findings of this study may help clarify the mechanisms responsible for the effective relief of pain and restoration of functional ability documented after spinal manip. and the mechanism involved in the initiation of overuse injuries. Basically, the study investigated the influence of spinal dysfunction and spinal manipulation of same and the response of the Central Nervous System; that is to say, patients with recurrent neck pain and/or stiffness have been shown to alter cortical processing and sensorimotor integration, measured via somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs), amplitude changes for at least 20 minutes.  Read on . . .

The Art: Chiropractors master the adjusting "art" of chiropractic which includes a comprehensive evaluation, a review of health history, and arrival at a clear diagnosis and a recommended specific treatment plan customized for each patient. This includes specific spinal adjustments. Adjustment describes the many ways and techniques of directed and controlled pressure to restore spinal segments to a more normal position and range of motion, aiding in increased flexibility, increased immunological function and increased life energy. The Chiropracic adjustment is truly an artistic expression. (*there has been some controversy over the reliability of "palpating" the spine; that is to say, touching the spine and musculature and thus appreciating muscle spasm and loss of motinon. See Stochkendahl, MJ, Christensen, HW, et.al., "Manual Examination of the Spine: A Systematic Critical Literature Review of Reproducibilityl," JMPT, Vol. 29, #6, July-Sugust, 2006. This article apparently puts the controversy to rest.)

See also, Kolberg C, Horst et. al., "Effects of High-Velocity, Low Amplitude Manipulation on Catalase Activity in Men With Neck Pain," JMPT, Vol. 33, #4, May 2010. *Upshot here is that the influence of High Velocity, Low Amplitude (HVLA) manipulation of the human spine on lipid peroxidation and catalase activity in subjects with neck pain who answered the Neck Disability Index and quadruple visual scale questionnaires. The results support the beneficial role of HVLA manipulative reductions in the treatment of patients with neck pain.

The Philosophy: Chiropractic philosophy recognizes that the power that created the body can heal the body - as long as there is no interference. The doctor does not heal you, he/she is a co-facilitator with you for your body to be put in the correct environment to heal itself. The main purpose of the chiropractor is to reduce interference to your inborn, innate healing ability. The keystone of Chiropractic philosophy thus, is prevention. Barring the bizarre, Chiropractic philosophy tells us that a healthy, wholistically maintained body and lifestyle, free of subluxations will enjoy a long and prosperous life. We are also of the belief that much of the medications and surgeries used in "modern" health care are uneccessary and often harmful. While Chiropractors are not against surgery and meds, we just feel they are overused on some occasions and that lifestyle habits are, generally speaking, a more important standard to monitor and maintain a healthy body. Thus, the "wholisitic" lifestyle is that of looking at the "whole" picture of person's life and lifestyle and what patients do; food, nutrition, stress, sleep, exercise, family, relaxation and finding a balance. Again, Chiropractic is not oblivious to the cancers, disease processes, accidents and such that can happen to anyone regardless of lifestyle and that would likely need some medical intervention. However, our essential philosophy is that of less drugs, less surgery and more wholeistic thinking/lifestyle which by definition would include good nutrition, no smoking, staying out of excess sun exposure etc.

Boston Spine Clinics: Is dedicated to maintaining its philosophical base while still keeping up with new research, congenial relations in inter and intraprofessional relationships and always extending a warm welcome to all of our patients, especially new patients presenting to us.

This simple chart summarizes, generally, the differences between medical and chiropractice thinking and treatment:

Medical Treatment                             Chiropractic Care
Blood based                                              Nerve based
Treats symptoms                                      Corrects causes
Renders sickness care                             Offers health care
Prescribes drugs/surgery          Renders adjustments to the Spine primarily
Sees the body as parts           Sees the whole person as an integrated unit 
Removes organs                                     Revives organs
Kills germs                                      Helps the body to resist germs
Causes side effects                          Produces positive effects
Artificial                                                       Natural
Risky                                                         Extremely Safe

FADS: Regretably, the American public has been subject to a host of medical "FADS" over the years with sometimes, deleterious effects. In a landmark article published in the New England Journal of Medicine (of all places), the medical establishment was forced to admit to it's erroneous ways in medicine's often haphazard, "shoot from the hip" approach to back pain and treatment. FAD Defined: "A craze, usually temporary, about something."

The FAD list:
> Surgery of the sacro-iliac joint.
>Surgery of the Coccyx (tailbone).
>Chymopapin Injections (an enzyme that was injected into people's discs to dissolve the disc and thus prevent surgery. Never worked.)
>Cocticosteroid injections.
>Lengthy bed rest.
>Traction in the hospital.
>TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Activates "soft touch" nerve fibers and prevents "pain" signals from going to the brain. All well and good but what about treating the problem?)
* Most of these "treatments" have been discarded as unfounded, non-researched and pointless. (Deyo, R, "Fads in the Treatment of Low Back Pain," NEJM; Vol. 325 (14), 1991.)

**Interestingly, Dr. David Eddy published a statistically shocking paper a number of years ago on the efficacy of medical treatment.  Dr. Eddy started out as a cardiothoracic surgeon and became concerned by the random approach to surgery. He then quit to obtain a mathematical/statistics degree from Stanford and began analyzing available scientific literature. He determined that only about 15% of all medical interventions were supported by solid scientific research. (See Eddy, D, "Where is the Wisdom . . .?" Brit. Med. J Vol 303, 10/91)

Check out these interesting articles and publications regarding this very topic:

1) Abramson, John MD, "Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine," Reed Business Information, 2005.
2) Bogdanich, W., "The Great White Lie-How America's hospitals betray our trust and endanger our lives," Simon & Schuster, 1991.
3) Cornwell, J., "The Power to Harm: mind, medicine and murder on trial," The Penguin Group, 1996.
4) Ewald, P., "Plauge Time: How stealth infections cause cancers, heart disease and other deadly infections," The Free Press, 2000.
5) Garrett, L., "The Coming Plague-Newly emerging diseases in a world out of balance," Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 1994 @One of my favorites and a Pulitzer Prize Winner.
6) Garrett, L., "Betrayal of Trust-The collapse of global public health," Hyperion, 2000.
7) Lundberg, G., "Severed Trust: Why American medicine hasn't been fixed," Basic Books, 2000. @Lundberg was the editior of JAMA.
8)Pauling, L. "Vitamin C, the common cold and the flu," W.H. Freeman & Co., 1976. @@Linus Pauling is the only person in history to win two Nobel Prizes in two different disciplines: 1954 in Chemistsry for his ground breaking research on Vit. C and in 1962 he won the Peace Prize.
9) Sachs, Jessica S., "Are Antibiotics Killing Us?", Discover, Vol. 29, #11, Nov. 2005.
10) Salyers, Abigail, "Revenge of Microbes: How Bacterial Resistance is Undermining the Antibiotic Miracle," ASM Press, 2005.

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