For Chiropractic Skeptics ONLY!
“To those who believe, no proof is necessary. To those who don’t, no proof is possible."
I understand this statement might be true, and it's okay to be skeptical, but please take some time to at least learn the facts about chiropractic before you say no. Why is there such a gap between those who “believe” in chiropractic and those who don’t? And, what is there to actually “believe” in or not “believe” in? On a plane coming home from a seminar in Chicago I jotted the following down when I was asking this question to myself. It seems appropriate here:
Where did you get your beliefs about chiropractic? First hand experience? If you tried chiropractic once and said, “It didn’t work for me”, what if Edison had tried to make the light bulb once? All Medical Doctors are not “created equal”. The same goes for Doctors of Chiropractic. If you got your notion from what someone else said, there is a reason that kind of evidence is not permitted in court. Worse yet, maybe you got your idea about chiropractic from a T.V. slogan, magazine or newspaper article. These things are not evidence. I offer the following as evidence for why chiropractic works, and will continue to thrive:
1. Its longevity: Chiropractic has been around since 1895. That’s over 120 years. If it was just a passing fad, it would have gone out long ago, like blood letting by medical doctors. Actually, manual adjusting of the spine has been around long before that. Hippocrates, who is considered the father of medicine, made a diagram of a table he used for manual adjusting of the spine more than two thousand years ago.
2. The Supremacy of the Nervous System: It is a scientific fact, that your brain, spinal cord and nerves control every cell in your body (Gray’s Anatomy). Your nervous system is an inborn intelligence that controls all the details needed to keep you alive. It is also a scientific fact that the 24 moving bones of the spine can get locked up or misaligned (called a Subluxation). This can cause interference with the “information superhighway” that is your nerves and spinal cord. Nerve pressure can cause weakness, numbness, pain or poor performance of the organs and tissues that these nerves control. Hundreds of years and billions of adjustments is a strong argument that chiropractic can and does work to unlock these spinal bones and relieve interference to the nervous system. Improved nerve communications between your brain and the rest of your body restores the body’s ability to regulate and heal itself. Without drugs and without surgery.
3. Consumer Reports: In a May 2009 article, Consumer Reports gives Chiropractic the top review. The article was entitled “Relief for Aching Backs”. Their Health Ratings Center recently surveyed more than 14,000 consumers who had back pain in the past year but had never had back surgery. Hands-on therapies were among the top rated with Chiropractic at the very top. Chiropractic beat out physical therapist, acupuncturist, physician specialist and primary care physician in descending order. Certainly, this many consumers lend some evidence for the effectiveness of Chiropractic.
4. The U.S. Government on Chiropractic: The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health. In the largest study of its kind ever done, they found that spinal manipulation as done by Chiropractors is the preferred treatment for acute low back pain. From the results of this comprehensive study, they produced guidelines for the treatment of low back pain. These new guidelines offer clear, state-of-the-art information. Their main purpose is to shift the emphasis from treating only the pain to improving the function of the spine. This has been the clear objective of the Chiropractic Profession for over 100 years!
5. Proper Alignment Improves Function: Surely you believe this basic statement. Consider your car’s alignment. Have you ever had to pay $400-800 for a new set of tires because bad alignment wore out your other tires prematurely? Poor alignment causes uneven wear on your tires often ruining a good set of tires. Don’t you suppose that improper alignment of the spine could cause premature decay of spinal joints? Certainly the scientific literature says that it can. A search of the medical journals will reveal many studies like this one:
Misalignment Leads to Injury and Decay
“Spinal misalignments cause uneven load on the joint surface. This abnormality increases stress on some regions of the joint and decreases stress on other regions. As a result, normal physical activities produce damaging levels of stress in specific regions of the joint surface, leading to cartilage injury and joint decay!”
Buckwalter, MD, Lane Nancy E, MD.
American Journal of Sports Medicine 1997; 25(6):873-881.
6. Motion = Life, Lack of Motion = Death: Chiropractors provide motion to stuck spinal joints. Not only does this provide pain relief, but it does far more for the life and health of the discs which are the cushions between the spinal bones. Consider the following studies:
“The disc is an osmotic system that lives from motion. Because of the human sedentary non-moving lifestyle, disc degeneration is progressive.”
Kraemer, MD. Spine 1995 Mar 15;20(6):635-9
“Regardless of the mechanism by which a joint becomes locked, a restriction of mobility is pathologic and should be remedied. A joint that is left in an immobilized state will show the following changes. A decrease in nutrients, a lack of water, and an increase in scar tissue.”
Plaugher, DC. Textbook of Clinical Chiropractic. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore 2001: 198.
“Without motion: the disc deteriorates; acidity increases: joints stiffen; ligaments shorten; bone density decreases; muscles become deconditioned. Recent evidence shows that a damaged disc becomes more acidic and that acidity causes spinal pain. The disc does not have a good blood supply and depends on diffusion for its nutrition. Diffusion is increased by a pumping action through spinal motion. Lack of motion hinders diffusion.”
Nelson, MD et al. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 1999;80(Jan):20-25
Dr. David Sanders is a Functional Health Practitioner, and owner of Classic Functional Health. He derived a passion for the industry after some devastating family diagnosis left him searching for answers that he just wasn’t getting the traditional way. An avid student of Biochemistry, Immunology, and Endocrinology, he stays on the cutting edge of any new developments and how he can apply this knowledge to his patients. His primary focus is in helping patients who suffer with chronic and degenerative conditions.