Archive for the ‘Chiropractic’ Category

Faith, Gratitude & Health

July 31, 2013

gratitudeI wrote previously about the power of hope in the healing process. Faith also has a great deal to do with it. There’s no question about how the degree of faith you have in both the treatment and the one administering the treatment has upon your likelihood of improving. When I was in chiropractic college, I did a research paper on the “placebo effect”. This is NOT about fooling people with sugar pills, but rather about how one’s belief and attitude toward their treatment plays into the success of the treatment. I believe that in most instances, no matter what kind of treatment one is receiving, from drugs to surgery to energy work, that placebo effect will have a bearing on the outcome.

Before medications can be marketed to the public, they must go through a number of studies in order to be approved by the FDA. Surgeries don’t usually get the same kind of research. I heard of one study where they examined a particular knee surgery. The patients were divided into three groups. The first group got the surgery they were evaluating. The second group did not get the surgery. However, their skin was opened up and then stitched back up without making any internal changes. The third group was the control group that got no treatment. Which group do you think reported the most improvement? It was actually the second group. They were the ones that didn’t get the actual surgery but thought they had.

In my own life, I’ve looked for ways to cultivate my faith — faith in God, faith in my self and my abilities, etc. Lately, I’ve found that one of the most effective means of increasing faith is to have a heartfelt expression of gratitude. When you feel gratitude down deep, it’s hard to simultaneously feel doubt or worry. It can often be more helpful to think about the things you’re grateful for than to focus on what you need or want. Remember that you are most likely to attract more of whatever you focus on. If you focus too much on your aches and pains, you will get more of the same. That doesn’t mean ignore them, but you focus more on resolving your health issues than on how miserable you feel. Find any good aspect of your health (you can usually find many if you try if you’re not in acute pain) and focus on that. Feel gratitude for it.

The next step is where faith really comes into play. Be grateful for the improved health you’re going to have. If a trusted friend said that they have sent you a gift, would you withhold your gratitude until you actually received it? That wouldn’t make sense, and it certainly wouldn’t show any faith in your friend. If you expect something good in your life, be grateful as if it were already your’s, including improved health. There are no guarantees, but your chances of getting what you want will be greatly enhanced.

Be grateful for both your current and future blessings. Having an attitude of gratitude will increase your joy, which is the purpose of your existence, and you’ll attract a lot more good into your life. For more information on how we help people achieve better health, please visit my website.

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The Trouble with Time

June 21, 2013

impatient manThey say that good things come to those who wait. I’m not sure I believe that since sitting around waiting usually doesn’t accomplish much. However, most good things do take time. In our hurry-up, get-it-now, no-waiting, fast paced world, it’s easy for us to get in a mindset of instant gratification. We expect to see results immediately, and if we don’t, we assume that the results aren’t what we were looking for.

When I was attending chiropractic college, I worked part-time as a smoking and weight therapist. Among other things, we taught people about why smoking is so addictive. Outside of the chemical addiction to nicotine, there is a strong psychological addiction due to the way in which smoking affects the body and makes you feel. Smoking can be both relaxing and stimulating simultaneously, both of which occur quickly, while you are still in contact with the cigarette. Other effects, such as anxiousness and fatigue, which are just as attributable to the tobacco as the previous effects, take a little longer, after the cigarette has been extinguished. Therefore, the mind gets programmed over and over that “when I am in the process of smoking, I feel good… when I am not smoking, I feel bad”. Get that into your mind a thousand times over and no wonder it’s a hard habit to break.

There are a lot of things in life that are somewhat like a tobacco addiction. Although we are blessed with the ability to reason and to look beyond the immediate situation, we are too often not much different from single-celled creatures – drawn toward pleasure, repelled by pain. Without conscious thought and determined purpose, we drift toward whatever feels good at the moment. However, since we are able to reason, when we take the time and effort to use our God-given intelligence, we can see beyond the moment and examine the consequences of our decisions. Therefore, we can exercise, knowing that it will give us strength and energy, although at the moment we feel more weak and tired. We can say no to that cinnamon roll that’s calling our name because we know that we’ll be healthier in the long run if we don’t give into that temptation.

Imagine a gardener plucking seeds back out of the ground or abandoning the garden simply because there was no harvest within a week of planting. Time itself accomplishes nothing. However, time is an important factor in virtually every process. We understand that. However, in life, it’s not always very straight-forward. Every time we try something new or change the way we do things, when we don’t see immediate results, we’re left to wonder whether we’re on the wrong path or if we just need to give it more time. The gardener knows approximately how long it takes for sprouts to appear. He doesn’t worry about it unless it goes significantly past a certain amount of time. However, in most new situations in life, we have no idea how long is too long. Healthcare is a lot like that. People get used to taking drugs where they often feel an almost immediate difference. So when they start taking nutritional supplements and don’t feel any difference for two weeks or more, they wonder if the supplements are doing anything. I’ll sometimes have people come in for treatment and if they don’t feel major changes in one or two visits, they feel like they’re wasting their time and money. Natural health takes time. Proper effort and patience will pay big dividends in the long run.

To sum it up, time does not heal anything. Only healing processes heal. However, all processes take time. Use your knowledge, intuition and inspiration to know what paths to follow in all aspects of your life. Then follow through, stick with it and give it sufficient time to allow natural processes to do their job and bring you the health, happiness and success that you seek.

The Complexity of Healthcare

June 14, 2013

Internal organs

The human body is extremely complex. I believe that any comment or approach that implies otherwise is naïve and an insult to the Creator. I have been treating people for over 30 years and I think I’m less confident now in giving patients a prognosis than I was in the beginning. That’s because I’ve found that people are very unpredictable. We’re not machines produced on an assembly line. Each of us is a unique individual. What’s normal for one person may not be for another. There is a saying that goes something like this: if all you have is a hammer, then you see every issue as a nail. It’s that way in healthcare. If you’re a surgeon, you’re far more likely to recommend surgery. That can be motivated somewhat by greed, but in all fairness, it’s natural to look first for a solution that you typically work with. Someone who isn’t involved with surgery is more likely to consider it a last resort. As a chiropractor, I see many health problems as being related to nerve interference secondary to vertebral subluxations (spine out of alignment). Most of the time, I’m proven right, but I realize that’s usually not the complete picture. Health problems generally have many facets to them.

There is frequently a temptation to oversimplify. We get one or two clues about a possible condition and suddenly we think we know all about it. Non-professional friends and relatives are quick to give you a diagnosis and give you a suggestion for how to manage it. Even professionals may do the same thing. Have you ever gone to the doctor with four different problems and walked out with four different prescriptions? That happened to me a few years ago. I was taught to look at the whole picture before offering a diagnosis, which is the basis of the prescribed treatment. So I wanted to see what my medical doctor would say about some issues that I was having at the time. So I gave him a list of my symptoms. Instead of looking at the bigger picture to see how the symptoms fit together so he could have a good understanding of what was going with me, he looked at each symptom separately and prescribed treatment for each one.

When I was in chiropractic college, which is similar to medical school in many ways, I was always amazed at the number of physiological principles that were not totally understood. It’s important to understand that, in spite of all the fancy instruments, scientific studies and research, healthcare is more art than science. There’s a helpful article about the problems with research entitled “That Study Is Wrong: The Truth About Research”. In actual practice, there is not a great deal of precision. We should certainly strive for greater precision and the ability to duplicate positive results. However, it’s important to understand that it’s not an exact science. That’s why a little inspiration and intuition can be so helpful.

I am constantly amazed at the functioning of the human body. (I realize this all applies to animals also, but the human body is what I work with.) It’s not only a highly coordinated system of many thousands of intricate chemical and electrical processes, but when you add in the mind, the spirit, the electromagnetic fields and so forth, it’s totally astounding! (And to think that all of that came about by accidents of nature! [yeah, right]) I’ve seen lots of people who talk about their body as if it were some old piece of machinery held together by bubble gum and baling wire and that anything they can do to it would be an improvement. That simply is not true. I have great respect for the body. I rely on treatment methods that work in conjunction with the wisdom of the body, rather than fighting against it. There are many drugs (pharmaceuticals) out there that are necessary. However, many drugs are designed to “trick” the body, to make it think that internal conditions are different than what they really are so that we can get it to provide a desired physiological response. The problem is that the body is far smarter than the doctor, not the other way around. So you need to be very careful taking that kind of control into your own hands!

I firmly believe that our bodies were designed by an all-knowing, loving Creator. Our bodies have great wisdom. For the most part, if we remove interference and give them what they need (physically, chemically, emotionally, etc.), then all we need to do is get out of the way and let them function as they were created to do.

Moon, Stars & New Paradigms

June 6, 2013

moonstarsI recently got to look at the full moon through a telescope. It was so amazing. I’ve seen detailed pictures of the moon, but this was very different looking at it myself. What was so astounding to me was the fact that I was seeing something that I had seen thousands of time, and yet I never saw it like this. It was like seeing it for the very first time.

There’s another astronomical fact that causes me deep reflection. When I look up at the night sky, whether through a telescope or just the naked eye, I realize that I’m not seeing how the stars are, but how they WERE. The closest stars are 4-6 light years away. Most of them that we see are much further away. What that means is when you look up at the stars, you’re actually seeing the past. You’re seeing the stars as they were several years ago. While it’s very cool to actually be able to witness the past, it’s also a little disturbing that I cannot see the stars as they are right now. Astronomers can come up with extremely powerful telescopes, but even they cannot see what’s happening in the distant cosmos right now.

I used to put a lot of faith in science and research. It seems like the older I get, the less faith I have in it. Research, even the highly respected double-blind studies, can be biased, results can be manipulated or misinterpreted, and so forth. Even when research is done very carefully and without bias or agenda, we can be limited by our senses, our degree of understanding, and the methods used in gathering data. I’m definitely not saying that we should do away with science. Quite the contrary. However, we just need to recognize its limitations. Many people have set aside religion in favor of science. But then they treat science as if it were a religion. To be scientifically minded is to be open minded, not clinging to dogma or preconceived notions of how the universe operates.

As I progressed in my practice as a chiropractor, over the years, I realized that body, mind and spirit all work together. I needed to learn to see things in new ways. I didn’t have to set aside the scientific model that I had been clinging to. I just had to open up its boundaries to allow new ideas in. I had to realize that the way I was looking at the human body didn’t tell the whole story. As I opened up my mind to new ways of gathering information, including tapping into the storehouse of data contained in the subconscious mind, I was able to accomplish much more with my treatment and help people with a broader range of problems.

The Power of Hope

May 30, 2013

hopeMy father died of brain cancer when he was only 55 years old. It was a tragic event for our family. I wished I could have done more to help him. I was just barely starting chiropractic college at the time. Even if I would have had all the training and experience that I have now, it was unlikely that I could have saved him, but I would have given it my all in trying. The approach of the medical doctors really bothered me. I know they would have also saved him if they could, and I realize that they were being honest with him. However, they robbed him of a crucial element of healing — hope. They told him that he would definitely die. In fact, the treatment that they put him through, which left him sick and bald, was, as the doctors put it, for research purposes only. By giving him a definitive prognosis like that, they essentially declared a death sentence. Every prognosis is nothing more than an educated guess. No doctor can absolutely predict the future. There should always be a balance between best guess and positive thinking.

I once heard of a lady who had some routine lab work done. The results the doctor got back for her indicated that she had a fatal condition and so he gave her only a few months to live. The lady believed him, got all of her affairs in order, and sure enough, in a few months, she passed away. Shortly thereafter, it was discovered that the lab had mixed up her results with someone else’s and that there was in fact nothing wrong with this lady. She died simply because she believed she would. She had lost hope.

On the other hand, I’ve heard of many people who were given only a short time to live, but they refused to give up. So years later, they were still alive and kicking. What you believe about your health, as well as the faith you place in things you are doing to preserve your health, will definitely have an impact on how healthy (or sick) you really are. One of the things that I never tell patients is that they just have to learn to live with their condition. It doesn’t mean that I will be able to help everyone and give them the relief they’re seeking, but that doesn’t mean that no one can. I believe it’s the height of arrogance for doctors to take the attitude that if they can’t help a certain patient with a particular problem, that a solution doesn’t exist. I tell my patients that although I can’t make specific promises as to how well they will progress under my care, I will always hope for and strive for the best. Because I don’t put limitations on the potential benefits of my treatment, I do sometimes witness miracles.

Certainly it’s unethical for any kind of doctor to make promises that he or she knows will not come to pass, whether it’s to make a buck or to build up his or her ego or just to make the patient feel better about the situation. However, no doctor has the right to rob someone of hope or to place limits on the patient’s ability to heal.

Reflections on Weirdness in Healthcare

October 21, 2011

When it comes to acceptance of new ideas in healthcare philosophy and approaches, I believe there are 3 kinds of people in the world.

The first type is the ultra-open-minded. These are people with seemingly no skepticism or critical thinking. If it’s mainstream, they reject it as being outdated or the outcome of conspiracies of wealthy businessmen (both of which may be true in many cases, but should not be automatically assumed). If it’s strange and mystical, they are quickly drawn to it and may sometimes become ardent supporters and devotees with only a modicum of evidence. The weirder, the better. Some may consider those belonging to this group to be gullible and/or rebellious.

The second type is the very closed-minded people. These are the ones who won’t consider anything that hasn’t been extensively researched and proven by trusted sources. If you’re a conservative critical thinker, at first glance, that sounds perfectly right. So what’s wrong with this attitude? First, there are many philosophies that have merit. Whether right or wrong, the philosophy will influence the way you look at life and health. To say that your approach is the only valid one is to shut out a world of other possibilities. It creates an attitude of arrogance that cheats you out of many things that could be helpful. To many closed-minded people, anyone who does not think as they do must, by default, belong to the first group, the “gullibles”. For instance, our current system of medicine has evolved mostly over the last couple of centuries. Qi Gong, the ancient Chinese healthcare system involving the manipulation of energy, has been around for over 5000 years. Yet it’s mostly rejected by western medicine. I’m not proposing that we abandon all that we’ve learned in modern times and return to the “old ways”, but is it wise to assume that for 5 millenia people have been duped into thinking this method of healthcare had some merit when indeed it had none? There must be something to it or it would have been abandoned many centuries ago. So to dismiss it without even investigating it is not reasonable.

These first two types of people represent extremes in thinking — one extremely open, one extremely closed. I have found in my life that extremes of thought are often incorrect. Life isn’t so simple that you can assume something is correct or incorrect due to its seeming weirdness. It is my contention that the best way to be is skeptical but receptive. This third type, which I would hope most people fit into, views everything with a critical eye, but does not assume that it’s right or wrong before examining the facts. This person will base their beliefs on evidence and personal findings rather than just going by what someone says. But even if they cannot prove or disprove something, they understand that there is more truth out there than what can be immediately understood. They respect the viewpoints of others knowing that their approach is not the only valid possibility. They realize that there is far more “out there” than one person can have full knowledge of or comprehend. Because of that, when their journey through life places them in a situation where they are introduced to a new idea, they can examine it critically and see if it has merit for them. If it does, they may choose to embrace it and make it part of their reality, or they may choose to respectfully decline it or put it on the shelf to be incorporated later. They may also find, after examining it carefully, that it does not have value to them and so they reject it, still realizing that it could have merit for someone else.

This is not to say that we should try everything to see if it has any validity. I don’t need to use heroin to decide if it’s healthy for me. Nor am I saying that in regards to religion, we should just stick with agnosticism and say that truth doesn’t really exist. But in regards to healthcare, we should understand that a variety of disciplines exist. For most of my 28 years as a chiropractor, I have stuck with the more conservative techniques. Many medical doctors would have considered me to be like the first type of individual, whereas many people practicing alternative forms of healing could have thought of me as more the second type. For the past year or so, I’ve been becoming more and more open-minded, while still taking care to not embrace everything in a gullible fashion. This transition was outlined in my previous blog entitled “The Journey of the Hesitant Healer”. Having learned through many years of experience that you cannot separate body, mind and spirit while being an effective healer, I have broadened the scope of my practice to include other techniques, mostly dealing with energy medicine, that I find to be helpful for many individuals.

Journey of the Hesitant Healer

April 5, 2011

I’m a conservative kind of guy. I always have been. Many people would consider me downright dull. I’ve been a chiropractor for 28 years and have always been attracted to the more scientific and measurable approaches to chiropractic care. In chiropractic college, I shied away from techniques that weren’t easily explainable or clearly documented. I always wanted everything to fit neatly into a little box of scientific comfort. And yet, I still had unanswered questions. I have always witnessed instances of chiropractic doing so much more than relieving aches and pains. I have always taught the true potential of chiropractic as set forth by its founders. So from a medical mainstream perspective, perhaps I haven’t been so conservative. Still, I kept to the right wing of chiropractic and avoided the ethereal.

Having worked with many patients over the years, I’ve noticed how some people seem to attract illness or injury whereas others have an attitude of health that helps them recover more quickly and stay healthier. I’ve also learned more about how energy flows through the body. This includes the nervous system, acupuncture meridians, magnetic fields, etc. I’m also a believer that our bodies contain an eternal spirit. When we die, our spirit leaves our body. Or is it the other way around? Do we die because our spirit leaves? I truly believe that having a close association between the body and spirit is synonymous with life and disassociation of the two means death. Could there be degrees of separation? It’s an interesting question. It’s obvious that there are many degrees of health – not just alive or dead.

With all that I’ve learned and witnessed, I’m absolutely convinced that our mental state (primarily our emotions) affects our body, and vice versa. I have also seen that proper communication between the central nervous system and the rest of the body is critical to health, which is the basis of chiropractic. Life giving energy and unhampered communication is essential to the health of every part of the body. This is critical for every cell to function properly as a component of its own part of the body and for every part of the body to function harmoniously in order for us to live and be healthy. Chiropractic adjustments can be very helpful to regain and maintain this communication and coordination. But it’s just one piece of the overall puzzle. If a spinal misalignment (subluxation) is the primary issue that’s interfering with the proper distribution of energy and coordination of the nervous system, we see tremendous results occur from properly applied chiropractic adjustments. When it’s just one of the factors causing the health problems, the results are less dramatic.

The mind has a tremendous influence on the state of the body. Most, if not all, disease processes have some degree of psychosomatic component. Our emotions are reflected in our physical state. Intense emotions, especially those that are bottled up deep inside for long periods, have the greatest effect. Addressing emotional issues can have a significant impact on our physical health.

Functionally, the mind and spirit, which are inseparably connected, work together. There are many people who feel that the subconscious mind or spirit knows deep down what’s right and what’s wrong with the body. It just doesn’t have an effective way to tell us (communicate with the conscious mind) what’s going on, at least no method that we’re typically taught. It’s painfully obvious (pun intended) that symptoms don’t tell the whole story regarding the state of our physical being. Sometimes a physical problem will manifest itself in our emotions, such as anxiety or depression. That then adds to the psychological issues, which can lead to a positive feedback loop where both health and emotions take a spiral dive.

It’s been a long journey to get me to this point. The things that I’ve learned from a scientific basis were not wasted. They have provided a foundation that allows for a more thorough, educated approach to health care. However, I found that science and technology can only take you so far. If we were talking about a machine, something that man had created, man’s education and understanding through traditional scientific methods would be sufficient to fully understand and manage it. But when we’re dealing with the human body, which obviously man did not create, scientific methods fall short.

One thing I tried to do was to decrease subjectivity by removing myself from the equation. I tried doing some tests where I was not in contact with the patient or where someone else was doing the test. Neither of these things showed the same results as I was getting. In fact, they showed no result. Does that prove that it’s all in MY head? I would wonder about that if it weren’t for the results that I’m getting. I don’t think I can separate myself from the process. If that creates subjectivity, I can’t help that. I am a part of it.

In spite of my initial scientific approach to chiropractic and the desire to be grounded in well-established and accepted principles, I have never wanted to be a healthcare technician. It is one of my greatest desires to be a HEALER. That said, I fully acknowledge that I personally cannot heal anything. Healing comes from God and from the inherent abilities that God included with the gift of our physical bodies. For most chronic conditions where significant and immediate intervention is not required, the best that any doctor/healer can do is to remove interference so our God-given healing abilities can be fully active and functional.

Since we are spiritual beings, healing must have a spiritual component. If you believe that we are soul-less creatures who simply evolved from the muck and slime, you will not agree with my reasoning. If you feel that everything you need to know about the human body can be learned by dissecting a cadaver or studying physiology, you’ll think I’m just a crackpot. However, if you believe as I do, that we are spiritual beings, that our spirits are templates for our bodies and that the energy of our spirits provide life for our bodies, then what I’m saying should make some sense, even if it seems foreign at first.

Inside Chiropractic Philosophy

January 11, 2011

I want to share some insights into differences within chiropractic philosophy. Being a chiropractor and caring about my colleagues, the purpose of this post is not to run down anyone’s philosophy. However, I am not ashamed of our profession and I think that it would help many people to understand the differences between chiropractors. There are very distinct differences between chiropractors. In some ways, those differences make us (my profession) weaker by not providing a clear understanding of what chiropractic really is all about. Perhaps in some ways we’d be better off if we all did the same thing. It would certainly be less confusing to the general public. It would be much simpler to say this is what a chiropractor is and this is exactly what all chiropractors do. Our message to the world gets confusing and watered down because we don’t have a unified voice.

But would it be better for everyone if all chiropractors were the same? I don’t think so. Different people have different needs. We as people are not machines that came off an assembly line. Even standards for what’s “normal”, such as a body temperature, etc., are more averages than exactly what’s right for each individual. Not only do needs differ, but so do levels of understanding, philosophical backgrounds, etc. If we were to standardize all chiropractic care — all doing the same tests, the same treatments in the same way, which approach would we choose? Who’s to say exactly which one is right? Not only do patients need different kinds of care depending on their unique circumstances, but the philosophy and technique must also fit the doctor. Attitudes, beliefs, size and strength all play a part in each chiropractor’s decision on what technique they will primarily practice.

When I first started in practice, we used to talk about “straights” vs. “mixers”. A straight chiropractor only did chiropractic adjustments, whereas a mixer would add other things such as nutrition and so forth. I usually don’t hear those terms any more. One of the main distinctions that I see these days is that of wellness vs. pain doctors. Pain-oriented chiropractors don’t usually identify themselves as such, but that is their focus. I am a wellness chiropractor. It’s not so much whether I use nutritional supplements or physical therapy or other adjunctive methods. The main thing that distinguishes a wellness chiropractor from others is that we’re not strictly orthopedic. We want to relieve pain and restore joint function as much as anyone else. However, we see chiropractic as much more.

Since the body is self-healing and self-regulating, and since the nervous system controls and regulates all parts and processes of the body, it stands to reason that if a vertebral subluxation (small misalignment in the spine) can interfere with the full proper functioning of the nervous system, then reducing that subluxation through chiropractic adjustments can improve health. This is not some snake oil approach. We don’t claim that chiropractic can cure everything. In fact, I maintain that chiropractic doesn’t cure anything. It’s the body that heals itself. The purpose of the chiropractic adjustment is to remove or reduce interference so the body can take care of itself.

Although what I’ve just stated is the foundation of chiropractic as set forth by its founders, not all chiropractors see it that way. There is not even agreement between all chiropractors as to what constitutes a subluxation. So are the differences between chiropractors in both technique and philosophy a strength or a weakness? It would make our message much clearer if we all saw it the same way, but then we wouldn’t be able to appeal to such a large number of people. If you don’t like the experience you’ve had a with a chiropractor, chances are there’s another one down the street with a different approach that may fit you better. However, if you’re like most people, your experience with them has been very positive.

Should children get chiropractic adjustments?

October 15, 2010

Dr. Don's grand-daughterThere are two basic approaches to the philosophy of chiropractic. We see this among both doctors and patients. The most essential difference I see is pain relief vs. wellness. This isn’t really about chiropractic technique or whether a doctor uses nutrition and other supportive measures or if he/she just simply does adjustments. It’s a question of intent. If we approach chiropractic as some kind of therapy designed to simply reduce pain and improve function from an orthopedic standpoint, its focus is simply symptom relief, following a more medical model. On the other hand, chiropractic can follow more of a wellness model, that is maximizing health potential by improving the functioning of the nervous system.

The question of treating children with chiropractic adjustments, in my opinion, is where the rubber meets the road in pain relief vs. wellness. I haven’t run across many young children who complain of back or neck pain. Therefore, under a medical model, it would rarely be appropriate for small children to be adjusted. However, if we consider the importance of a properly functioning nervous system in achieving and maintaining good health, and if you understand the relationship between chiropractic adjustments and the nervous system, it would make great sense to adjust children when there are spinal misalignments (subluxations).

After nearly 27 years of being a chiropractor, I’ve never witnessed any ill effects of chiropractic adjustments on even very young children. Yet I’ve seen many children helped significantly by them. My own children, and now my grand-daughter (shown above), are prime examples of this. I listened to other parents talking about how their children frequently got sick and suffered from earaches, sore throats and so on. It was extremely rare that we had to deal with anything like that. From the time that they were small babies, I checked them regularly and kept them in proper alignment. I don’t “pop” little baby’s necks or backs, but rather just apply very gentle specific pressure on the vertebrae. As the child gets bigger, I can do a little more. (A chiropractic adjustment does not require a “pop”, and certainly not all pops are specific enough to be considered an adjustment.)

I’ve often wished that adults would respond as quickly or dramatically as young children. Adults are generally healthier under chiropractic care as well, but often times, they have long-standing problems and many other complications that make the response slower and less extreme. I’m not saying that chiropractic is a cure-all and that children under regular care will never have any health problems. I hesitate to list conditions that chiropractic can help with. On the one extreme, I don’t want to promise that chiropractic will definitely help with any particular condition. At the other end of the spectrum, I don’t want to put limitations on it. The body is a wonderful and amazing creation. When nerve interference is the main problem, using chiropractic adjustments to reduce that interference can have fantastic results, especially on children, who are resilient and free from long-standing problems.

I highly recommend having children checked by a competent chiropractor. Chances are they’ll be much healthier for it. You can also refer to an article in USA Today for further thoughts on it.

Hope for fibromyalgia sufferers

August 7, 2010

I just gave a presentation on fibromyalgia. So I thought I’d share some of the principles with the rest of the world. If you or a loved one is suffering from fibromyalgia, I don’t need to tell you how debilitating it can be. It’s a difficult condition to diagnose, probably due to a lack of definitive tests. Doctors who are looking for it see it frequently, whereas more conservative doctors may not even believe in it and would therefore never offer that as a diagnosis. Used to be, people who had it were generally told it was all in their head. Some people may still be told that from time to time since it’s so hard to prove.

One of the possible causes of fibromyalgia is depression. It will also trigger a flare-up and it’s also listed as a complication of fibromyalgia. So which comes first – depression or fibromyalgia? I’m sure it varies from person to person. One thing for sure, if you hurt every day and can’t do the normal things in life without difficulty, especially when there’s no obvious reason for it, chances are you will get depressed, if you weren’t already! It’s not all in your head, but it can at least partly stem from where your head is at.

The problem is that fibromyalgia isn’t really a specific disease. I refer to it simply as a condition. There are two main criteria for diagnosing it. First, you have to have widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of three months. Second, you have tenderness or pain in at least 11 of the 18 specified tender points when pressure is applied. For more information, visit the National Fibromyalgia Association’s website at www.fmaware.org.

I’ve gathered a list of possible causes of fibromyalgia from a number of sources:

  • Immune system problems
  • Physically unfit muscles 
  • Disturbance in brain chemistry
  • Sleep Disturbances or Insomnia
  • Infection with the Epstein-Barr virus
  • Food allergy
  • Emotional stress
  • Intestinal candida overgrowth
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Adrenal exhaustion
  • Chronic mercury poisoning from amalgam dental fillings
  • Anemia
  • Hypoglycemia 
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Fibromyalgia is closely related to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which causes similar symptoms, except that in fibromyalgia, muscle pain predominates over fatigue, whereas in CFS, fatigue predominates over pain.
  • Muscular hypoxia

It’s that last one that I’d like to focus on. I’ve seen some interesting research that may provide hope. It has to do with ATP production. ATP is the substance that your body produces for managing and storing energy. It’s been found that fibromyalgia sufferers frequently have low levels of ATP in their blood platelets. Two nutrients that help to boost ATP production are magnesium and malate (or malic acid). One study showed that patients taking 300-600 mg of magnesium and 1200-2400 mg of malic acid per day showed an average 60% reduction in pain after only 48 hours.

Here are a few other things you can do to improve this condition:

  • Exercise — Fibromyalgia can be a downward spiral. The muscles desperately need exercise, but it hurts to exercise and can cause a flare-up that can last for days. Without the stretching, increased circulation and movement in the muscles, fibromyalgia symptoms will gradually increase. Exercise is an important component of the management of this condition. The keys are to start off very slowly and to make the exercise regimen part of an entire management program (see the other suggestions listed in this blog). I recommend starting off with walking and stretching.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids — Irritation leads to inflammation, which can cause more irritation (another one of those ugly spirals). Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EPA, DHA) naturally reduces inflammation.
  • Chiropractic — Regular chiropractic adjustments will improve both mobility and function. It will also increase your general health and well-being.
  • Stress/emotion management — Find reasons to laugh, let go of stress. Emotional stress can kick off fibromyalgia flare-ups and is even suggested as one of the causes. As much as possible, avoid negative physical, emotional, chemical and nutritional stress. I realize that’s a very broad statement, but in this context, that’s about as deep as I can go on that. As much as you can follow a proper path of health and reduce stresses upon your system, the less pain you will experience.

Try these things. Hope is an essential ingredient in the management of any condition or disease. Do what you can to take control. Giving up, giving in only empowers the problem more than the solution.