By: Dr. Samantha Jordan
“Why do you need to know about that? You’re just a chiropractor.”
This statement (and a few other variations of course) are very common to hear while taking a health history during a new patient visit. As a chiropractic student, this used to offend me and I viewed it as an attack on chiropractic. At the time (when I was eating, breathing, and living chiropractic), it was hard for me to understand how so many people, including my friends and family, were not aware of what chiropractic had to offer. You mean chiropractors do more than just “crack backs?.” In practice, it’s become extremely important for me to educate my patients, and anyone else who has a spine, about what chiropractic is.
Science, art, and philosophy. These are the ''big three'' ideas.
Thousands of hours are dedicated to science in chiropractic college. Let's keep our discussion short and sweet. There are a whole bunch of nerve tissues that control every single activity in the body. We call it, the Central Nervous System (CNS), and that includes your brain and spinal cord. At every moment of your day, trillions of messages are communicated between your brain and the spinal cord, nerves, tissues, muscles, and organs that make up your body. I explain this because this is responsible for our existence and expression of life, every day. Guess what protects our CNS? Our spine!
A misalignment, restriction of movement, or subluxation of the spine can cause interference with all the messages being sent to and from the brain and the rest of your body. This interference can lead to a number of different symptoms and/or diseases in as little as 14 days! Your expression of health then suffers because of this!
This is one of the reasons why a preventative plan for patients who may not be experiencing pain or symptoms (yet) can be beneficial. A specific and comprehensive chiropractic examination of the spine for any subluxations disrupting your CNS can evaluate your need for care even if you are not yet experiencing symptoms! Subluxations can be corrected with a gentle and specific chiropractic adjustment. The goal is for your body to function at its best helping you avoid pain, symptoms, and disease.
The art of chiropractic is the part you’re probably most aware of, especially when you’re at your new patient appointment or re-exam. This includes:
Health history: what brings you into the office or what’s causing you pain, past medical history, social history, family medical history
Radiographs; X-ray, MRI (if needed)
Chiropractic exam: checking leg length, motion and static palpation of the spine, looking for tissue changes within the muscles, etc.
Chiropractic adjustment: a variety of techniques may be used to remove interference within the spine
All of these findings and history, together, help lead me to your diagnosis, or what is causing your complaint. Once we have arrived here and it’s determined that you’re a candidate for chiropractic care, it’s time to get adjusted!
WARNING! The sought out benefits and side effects of your adjustment will:
return your spine to normal position and range of motion
increase your immunological (immune system) function
The philosophy of chiropractic recognizes that “the power that created the body can heal the body as long as there is no interference.”
A term that runs closely with this, that you may have heard before is innate intelligence. Innate intelligence is the belief that the body has an inborn ability to self-regulate and maintain health.
Homeostasis may be another word which comes to mind.
To me, this means that your body is constantly trying to protect you. For example:
If you’re exposed to a cold or flu, your lymph nodes kick in and go to work. They release the antibodies needed to respond to the antigens that are negatively impacting your nervous system.
If any joint of the body such as the spine, shoulder, knee, ankle, toe, finger, etc. becomes restricted and is experiencing a lack of motion for an extended period of time (as short as 14 days!), your body recognizes this. It perceives this lack of motion as an area that needs to be supported and begins the process of laying bone to protect the area. This often leads to arthritic changes in the affected joint.
If you ingest something that is not good, your body tries to get rid of it through vomit or feces.
I can go on and on, but I think you get the picture!
Our bodies are incredibly intelligent and everything that the human body does, including the symptoms we experience, has a purpose. It’s important to recognize, listen, and investigate the cause of symptoms and then address the root cause. In today's world the immediate response to our body’s healing processes, such as fever or swelling, is to stop them as fast as possible. Fevers and swelling serve a purpose! In some cases, it’s important to let the body run its course and provide it with the support it needs in the process.
Your ability to fully express your health and optimal healing requires high levels of function throughout your CNS. There is no better doctor to trust the integrity of your spine with than a well-trained Chiropractor!
Benefits of Chiropractic. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2019, from http://www.palmer.edu/about-us/benefits-of-chiropractic/.
Evans, R., & Leininger, B. (n.d.). Chiropractic. Retrieved October 24, 2019, from https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/chiropractic.