Radio Interview January 30, 2011

TALK TO THE EXPERTS

QUESTIONS

#1 Chiropractic was brought to the modern world by a Canadian named David Daniel Palmer in 1895.

Palmer was born in Owen Sound Ontario and moved to Davenport Iowa in the 1860's. He was a considered to be a magnetic healer, something that was popular at an age when snake oil and mercury were standard medical treatments along with the use of parasites and leeches. Blood letting was also popular at the time and was done by barbers. The barber's logo is representative of the blood letting aspect of ancient barbers.

The science of Osteopathy and village bone-setting were also popular. Concepts about bone and joint manipulation were popular and were being employed to correct dislocations and various obvious misalignments by various healing art disciplines. However, Dr Andrew Still had brought spinal manipulation into the scientific world by founding Osteopathy. He developed a number of schools teaching his methods. Dr Palmer was aware of Still's work as he was well read and interested in science. He was also a curious and intelligent investigator. He was called a magnetic healer, but was very eclectic in his application of his art. It is written that when examining a patient he always tried to determine what the cause was and looked further into the body. An example given was that when he investigated throat problems Dr Palmer thought that the cause of these various afflictions originated in the stomach. He knew the nerves to the stomach came from the mid back and he would trace or try to trace the nerves back to their source. He was quite aware of the anatomy, physiology and other scientific subjects as revealed in the books he wrote on early Chiropractic.

Albert Einstein formulated the Theory of Relativity in 1895 and Planck had already conceptualized Quantum physics.

#2 Palmer's discovery states that the spinal structures have a direct and an indirect connection to the Nervous system. How does the spine relate to the Nervous System?

Palmer had an office in Davenport Iowa and had been approached by his Janitor, Harvey Lillard, for help with his 17 year problem with deafness. Palmer examined him and found a displacement in his upper back. Lillard indicated that his deafness had occurred when he was in a "cramped" position. Palmer reset the spinal displacement on two occasions before Lillard regained his hearing. This event was the turning point that leads to the development of the science of Chiropractic.

Chiropractors have always been able to show that there is a functional relationship between the spine and the nervous system. For example a person with stomach problems may get symptomatic relief when an chiropractic adjustment is administered to the mid back. The only way this can occur is via the nervous system.

The brain descends into the spine and the spinal nerves go to all parts of the body and into every cell. These are the nerves we can see in the dissections we saw in the Bodies Winnipegexposition. We know that s mall amount of pressure on the nerves leaving the spine can be adversely affected by the slightest pressure. It has been scientifically documented that the weight of a dime on the sciatic nerve will reduce the function of that nerve by approximately 25%. This can also be a serious cause of pain when this pressure is high. Disc herniations in the neck and lower back are well known to be a serious cause of pain along the nerves coming from the spine.

Science has also revealed that the spinal cord membranes can be biomechanically affected my adverse tension due to space occupying masses in the spinal canal, but also my the bio-mechanical alignment of the vertebrae and posture and that this spinal cord tension can affect the way the nervous system influences the way the body works. If all works well and the nervous system has no interference in doing its work you will experience wellness.

Wellness is often described as the situation that exists in your body and in your life when everything is working the way it should! This goes far beyond the basic concept that you are well because you feel good or that you have no symptoms. You are well when you are able to adapt to the various situations and stresses that life provides you for your personal growth and development.

#3 What is the relationship between structure and function? How does this relate to the continuum of EASE, DIS-EASE AND DISEASE?

It is a basic law in the sciences of Physiology and in Anatomy that degenerations follow whenever we halt the normal function of a body part. For example: if you tie your right arm to your chest so that it does not move and you can't use it and you leave it that way for 10 years, the arm muscles will wither and become small and quite useless. If you don't use it you lose it is another way of putting it! On the other hand if you lift weights regularly with your arms, you will get large muscles, strong tendons and a great bone density.

As an example, it is well known that one of the best treatments for osteoporosis is not drugs or calcium, but exercise. Walking appears to be the best exercise. The use of vibration has also been demonstrated to be very potent to help strengthen bones in cases of Osteoporosis.

If you body is working right, and it is in good function, you will experience the feeling and the state of being we can call "ease". Further "ease" is also associated to a deep sense of well-being where you feel strong, vital, calm, and confident. In other words, you have your act together. Ease presupposes that everything is working the way it should. This is also associated to proper spinal function.

If something happens to you that causes you to lose your calm and your confidence, like emotional and physical stress, an injury your body your body starts to work differently. It does not work as well. When you lose your normal function your body is in some form of distress. This is "dis-ease" or loss of ease.

"Disease" is what occurs when the loss of normal function has gotten to the point where there is a loss of normal structure. This can be described as pathology. An example is an indigestion form eating wrong foods as opposed to a stomach ulcer. This first is a loss of normal function…it is not digesting and it is not working the way it should while the second is when the loss of normal function has caused the cells to change their normal appearance. If you don't use it you lose it combined with advanced changes associated to degenerations or use of only a small part of the whole.

Another example is found in the spine. If a spinal vertebra becomes misaligned it will stop functioning normally. This will lead to changes in the soft tissues like ligaments, tendons, cartilage and disc material, and the body stops repairing and maintaining the area because it is not working with the same flexibility and strength it previously had. This leads to disc degenerations and is the basis for the development of osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common arthritis and is clearly associated to abnormal function of a joint. It does not matter which joint because all joints respond to the same pattern. This is the factor that determines whether or not you will be old when you get to be in your 60's or 70's or your 80's and on. Being old has nothing to do with your age. It has everything to do with your flexibility and your musculo skeletal health!

If you get this concept, you will understand a very basic premise of chiropractic and why chiropractic care continues to grow inspite of continuing medical opposition. Patients know better.

#4 A major premise in Chiropractic is that there is a distinct relationship between spinal function and health. How does that work?

We live our entire life, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual through our body. For example, we know from the study of body mind psychology that all our emotions are the result of physical interactions of muscles, joints and connective tissues. All emotions are physical. Symptoms are also perceived as a feeling or an emotion. We are conditioned in our society to think of symptoms as an emotion.

Our body is contained within a structure that is held up by the spine.

The importance of this fact is heralded by Dr Roger Sperry PhD who states that 90% of the nervous system is dedicated to managing the musculo-skeletal system. To take care of this system requires a person skilled in the intimate mechanics of the spinal system. This person has to have an ability to maintain, repair and resolve problems in this complicated system.

If what holds you up against gravity does not work properly, the body in general, organ systems included, will also not work the way they should. Research and clinical experience suggest strongly that the link is found in the spinal cord and in the spinal nerves being influenced directly and indirectly by spinal alignment.

#5 What is the function of the chiropractic adjustment? Or put another way, why do Chiropractors do what they do?

Chiropractic care has one essential goal….that of restoring function. Many chiropractors see the primary goal of chiropractic care as being to relieve pain or control symptoms. This is what is taught in most schools as a basic style of correcting spinal displacements. Post graduate courses teach far more advanced systems mostly based on neurological correction through adjusting vertebrae to normalize spinal function. This is based on the reality that the symptoms are never the cause.

Correcting spinal displacements or misalignment called "subluxations" restores function to segments and whole sections of the postural mechanisms. For example it is rare, in my experience, to not find the cause of a very acute lower back problem with severe pain to not be caused by a neck problem. We know this to be true because correcting the upper cervical fault restores will help to restore lost motion and alignment to the lower back in a very high percentage of cases. And the pain goes away.

This phenomenon exists throughout the spine because of an astronomical number of neurological reflexes that link every segment of the spine to the whole spine. The arms, legs and feet are also part of this complex of inter-relationships. An example would be how degenerative knee problems are always associated with knee problems.

#6 Are there many styles of spinal adjustments in the profession?

There are at least 110 different methods of assessing and adjusting the spine. Approximately 50% are structurally based while the other 50% are neurologically based. These two make up the two major styles of chiropractic practice.

Structurally based chiropractic teaches and utilizes the traditional methods of correcting the spins through manipulations that are directed to the bony segments. These joints make a popping noise we call cavitation. This is thought to be caused by the breaking of a vacuum in the joint space. This is the system employed by chiropractors who focus uniquely on relieving the symptoms localized to the area of complaint, as opposed to correcting the cause.

The other approach is called Neurologically Based and is practice by about 40 % of the profession. The spinal correction may include joint cavitation of a spinal joint, but many other approaches are employed that are very gentle. Some methods employ adjusting tolls that produce a gentle vibratory thrust and others use very gentle contacts.

Many patients do not feel comfortable having their spine cracked and popped and there is a very good reason why this is common.

#7 Patients generally see a Chiropractor to find relief of pain to various parts of their body. Is there more to it than that?

Whenever there is a symptom in the body, it is associated to an inability to adapt to present conditions. Pain in any part of the body is a symptom that tells us that not only is there an inability to adapt, but also serves as a guide to tell us what not to do. It is simply a signal to tell us that something in our life has to change. Most patients do not understand how that pain in the neck or lower back or else where may have roots into our emotions and stress patterns.

An example would be someone getting a Flu after a period of intense stress. The immune system weakens and the body becomes susceptible to a viral infection. The same applies to symptoms in the lower back, neck, shoulders etc, given that it is your spine that holds you up against gravity.

When the chiropractor gives an adjustment that restores "ease" into the body, bones and joints start to work better and the body heals itself.

It is important for patients to make an important distinction between the different types of care available from different chiropractors. Many concern themselves only with relieving pain. Once the symptoms are gone or reduced, the chiropractor discharges you from further care. The doctors who practice this approach do not concern themselves with what may have caused the problems in the first place, and if they do it is only for the area that had symptoms. A patient may get exercises or undergo a series of treatments with electro-therapies to reduce inflammation.

On the other hand, many others chiropractors concern themselves with correcting the underlying problems that led to that one part of the body that was unable to adapt to existing conditions. This leads to a very efficient control of symptoms and more than that, it leads to a correction or resolution of the underlying problem.

While there is nothing wrong with either of these differing approaches to spinal care the best long term results are found in the corrective approach.

I have practiced both types of chiropractic care and focused on relief of pain especially when I was training to become a Board Certified Chiropractic Orthopedist. The work was satisfying, but always left me with the feeling that I was not doing anything to correct the cause nor to prevent further occurrences. I decided to change my approach and became far more concerned about stopping spinal disc degeneration and promoting long term spinal health. This meant long term care with very satisfying results. I have seen patients who had experienced decades of back or neck pain and seen many chiropractors and still be in constant pain get symptom free and restored in their ability to lead a normal life.

#8 Describe the procedures a new patient goes through when they make an appointment to see you?

Every patients completes a History questionnaire that allows me to know who they are, what their past history is and what to look for during my examination. My examination is very thorough taking up to 20 minutes. I employ the use of X-rays to determine if there are any areas of degeneration in the spine. Spinal degenerations are the main cause of being old. Age has very little to do with being old.

#9 What Chiropractic method do you use in your office and why? What are you trying to accomplish?

Science has shown us that the spine is largely controlled by spinal cord dynamics. In other words the spinal cord is protected by the bony spine. If something causes a bulge in the spinal cord or to the membranes of the spinal cord, the bony spine will displace itself to prevent further pressure.

This was demonstrated clearly by a Swedish Neuro-surgeon in the 1960's. We always knew there was a spinal cord connection associated to the techniques we have developed over the years. In the early 1980 a Chiropractor by the name of Epstein networked a number of chiropractic techniques to identify what components would have a spinal cord influence. He identified that many of these techniques had a different way of approaching the spine giving excellent results and fully correcting the spine. These methods were mainly gentle contacts. It also became apparent that structural work could be done much more efficiently if the spinal cord tension was removed.

This is the approach that I use. After a thorough examination and a chiropractic assessment gentle contacts are taken the places in the spine where the spinal; cord attaches. The clinical evidence shows that there is a lessening of the tension in the spinal system that can only be attributed to lessening of spinal cord tension. The spinal segments re-align themselves and the entire body manifests more "ease" which is necessary for healing.

If there is a need for structural, I perform the structural adjustment once the spinal cord is relaxed. That means that the patient is not tense when the joint is adjusted. Most time then need to do structural adjustments is gone and when necessary, other methods can be employed with our any harsh thrusts into the spine.