Chiropractic care is a healthcare science that focuses on the body’s innate ability to heal itself. Chiropractic philosophy is deeply rooted in science and neurology. It is bound by one absolute principle, Innate Intelligence. This philosophy states that the expression of innate intelligence can be interfered with when subluxation occurs.
Chiropractors detect and correct vertebral subluxation through Chiropractic Adjustment. When the body is free of subluxation and Nervous System Interference, the body can optimally heal itself. The glossary page will help define some of these key terms.
Although it is best known for treating back and neck pain, Chiropractic does not treat any symptoms. Instead of treating the disease, Chiropractic treats the person who has the disease.
Symptoms are merely a sign of an underlying problem. Covering a symptom will never correct the cause. Chiropractic has the potential to help a person with any ailment as it’s the patient’s body that does the healing.
History of Chiropractic Care
Although the word “Chiropractic” (literally meaning “done by hand”) has only been around for just over 100 years, Chiropractic treatment has been around for far longer. Ancient writings from both China and Greece have shown that spinal adjusting methods were employed up to 5,000 years ago.
The famous Greek physician, Hippocrates, was a very big proponent of “manual manipulation” and stated, “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite of many diseases.” Evidence of past nations and cultures treating the spine for the common disease has been found all around the world, from “bonesetters” in ancient Europe to “back walkers” in old Native American culture.
Chiropractic, as it is known today, was founded by Daniel David Palmer in 1895 when he delivered a direct thrust to the spine of his patient, Harvey Lillard, and reportedly restored Lillard’s hearing, which had been lost for decades after an accident. At the behest of his son, B.J. Palmer, the two opened a school and taught this new healing art. B.J. Palmer went on to be one of the early pioneers of x-ray, especially for Chiropractic use and took over the school.
Early Chiropractors were often ridiculed and tried for practicing medicine without a license. Their defense to the charges was that they were not practicing medicine, but were practicing Chiropractic. Many Chiropractors were incarcerated during this time period and continued to adjust fellow prisoners, the guards, and their own patients who came to their cell. This prompted the creation of new licensing boards recognizing Doctors of Chiropractic. However, the persecution of Chiropractic care did not end there.
In a landmark 1987 court ruling, the AMA was found guilty of engaging in an unlawful conspiracy of restraint of trade “to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession” by its actions over the prior several decades. The false propaganda spread during those years, which included forbidding MDs from even talking to Chiropractors, still stigmatizes Chiropractic Care today. More often, practitioners of all healthcare specialties are coming together for the good of the patient.
Today, Chiropractic is a recognized health care discipline in all 50 states and several countries around the world. It was included in Canada’s national healthcare system. It is fast becoming more popular as Americans are turning more towards natural healing.
Philosophy of Chiropractic Care
The early pioneers of Chiropractic learned that the body is the greatest healer and that the root of many diseases can be traced back to the spine. Hippocrates stated, “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.”
Chiropractic Philosophy is based on the body’s inborn wisdom. We call this “innate intelligence.” Health is the optimum expression of your body’s innate intelligence, or ability to properly adapt. This inborn wisdom is transmitted through the nervous system.
The nervous system is the master system and conveys all-electric signals throughout your body. From touch, to smell, to the movement of muscles, to the digestion of food, it is all controlled by your nervous system. This is the first system to form in your body and controls the development and function of all other systems from cradle to coffin.
In order to protect it, the body encases it in bone. Your brain and spinal cord are encased in your skull and vertebral column respectively. There is an extremely intricate connection of the Central Nervous System (CNS) to the bones that surround it. It is not completely understood.
When a vertebra is subluxated, or out of functional alignment, even minimally, it affects how signals are transmitted by the nerves around it. This can be due to impingement of soft tissue onto the nerve, by distortion of blood flow to the nerve, by compression of the nerve by disc material, or, in severe cases, caused by compression of the nerve by boney prominences due to degeneration in the spine (arthritis).
Degeneration of the spine is the long-term effect of trauma and resulting subluxation. Correction of subluxation by the adjustment, and thus the optimum ability of the nervous system to convey your body’s inborn wisdom, is the main principle behind Chiropractic.
Unlike modern medicine, Chiropractic predominately focuses on the electrical aspects of the human body instead of the chemical. Since the nervous system controls your entire body, electrical controls chemicals. It is because of this fact that no drug can ever cure the cause of the disease, but only mask the symptoms. It is for this reason that chronic problems are often managed with medication for life despite the sometimes terrible side effects.
A fast-acting inhaler opens your airways when you have an asthma attack by applying a chemical stimulus to the smooth muscle and glandular tissue inside of the lungs. This relieves the symptoms you were experiencing at that moment, but eventually, you will have the same problem as the cause was not addressed. Why did your body react the way it did? Why was your body’s ability to adapt impaired?
Chiropractic care looks to the spine and the nerves that control the function of organs. In this case, the lungs, as the source of the problem. Much like how an asthma attack is not due to a deficiency of a bronchodilator, migraines are not caused by being deficient in pain relievers.
The problem must be taken care of at its root, the cause. Chiropractic believes that disease is the failure of the body to adapt to the stressor that is causing the disease. This is why chiropractic care treats no specific disease or symptom.
The body is what does the healing. This is how adjusting the spinal bones into proper alignment. Motion can have profound effects on other organ systems of the body.
How Chiropractic Care Works
When a vertebra subluxates, the nerves that exit around it can become irritated via lack of proper sensory input from the joint capsules of the bone, from decreased blood flow, or from compression by the soft tissues or bone around it. If left untreated, the body often tries to stabilize the damaged area by the proliferation of bone. This results in calcification of the surrounding soft tissues and the formation of bone spurs.
When a bone does not move properly, the discs above and below it, which have no blood vessels and receive nutrients only through the pumping action supplied by motion, eventually desiccate and degenerate, further complicating the process.
The Chiropractor uses their hands to feel the static position and end range motion of your spinal segments. The Chiropractor then uses either their hands or an adjusting instrument to restore proper motion to subluxated vertebrae via the Chiropractic adjustment thereby decreasing and eventually removing, the nervous system interference caused by the subluxation.
This high velocity, low amplitude thrust takes the bone to its proper end range of motion and helps to align it with the surrounding segments. When the spine is in optimum alignment and free of motion restriction (subluxation), the nervous system is free to express the full signals from the brain to the body and your body heals itself, as it is designed to do.
At the Myerowitz Chiropractic & Acupuncture Clinic, we emphasize proper spinal curvatures as even a slight misalignment can have profound effects on your body. The effects of even slight spinal curvatures have been known since 1921, when Henry Windsor, an M.D. seeking to test Chiropractic’s claims, wrote the following in response to a long study of human and feline cadaver specimens.
“221 structures other than the spine were found diseased. Of these, 212 were from the same sympathetic (nerve) segments as the vertebrae in curvature. Nine diseased organs belonged to different sympathetic segments from the vertebrae out of line. These figures cannot be expected to exactly coincide…for an organ may receive sympathetic filaments from several spinal segments and several organs may be supplied with sympathetic (nerve) filaments from the same spinal segments. In other words, there was nearly a 100% correlation between minor curvatures of the spine and diseases of the internal organs.”
We often recommend a series of visits in order to achieve proper alignment of the spine. Much like how a dentist will tighten braces over time, the spine must be moved slowly as the muscles and ligaments that support it must be given time to change. This is why adjustments don’t “hold” as well early in a care plan as they do for a long-time patient. Essentially, your spine must be re-trained to function in the proper position.
Chiropractic Wellness Care
“If Chiropractic care is good for you when you are sick, or in pain, shouldn’t it be good for you when you have no symptoms?” The answer, of course, is, absolutely. Many of our patients choose to come in for elective, or “wellness care,” after having been seen for other problems.
Like many professional athletes, these patients come in for the health benefits of Chiropractic to prevent illness and maximize performance through the optimum expression of innate intelligence. Professional sports teams have found Chiropractic so effective in returning athletes to the field and enhancing overall physical performance that it is rare to find a professional team without its own Chiropractor on staff.
We are often asked, “I don’t have any symptoms, so aren’t I healthy?” Not necessarily. The first sign of a heart attack is usually the heart attack itself. Was that person healthy the day before the heart attack?
No, of course not. Being checked for subluxation should be as important to your regular health regimen as eating healthy and exercising. In addition to chiropractic care, we also offer basic nutritional and exercise consultation.
What Is Innate Intelligence?
Innate Intelligence is essentially your body’s life force. It is the sum of all the automatic processes that occur in your body daily, hour by hour, second by second, without any direct conscious control.
For instance, when you eat a meal, your body breaks down what you consumed all the way to the molecular level, determines what parts of your body require what nutrients, then sends the nutrients where they are needed.
Trillions of blood cells carry oxygen to the other trillions of cells in your body all working together in order for you to perform your best. When you cut your finger, your body heals it for you. When you get scared, your blood vessels dilate, your lungs expand, and your heart beats faster in order to give you a greater chance to survive in a dangerous situation.
It is what governs the body’s growth from a single cell at conception to trillions of cells in adulthood. It’s how an acorn becomes an oak tree. It’s what separates the living from the dead.
Innate is an automatic knowledge far beyond our understanding that we are all born with. However, “innate” is not a static absolute. Your body’s expression of innate can be interfered with what is called a subluxation.
What Is Subluxation?
A subluxation is when a bone, most commonly a vertebra, is “out of place” and irritates the nerve fibers exiting from the same level. “Out of place” refers not just to the static position of the bone, but how it moves along a normal dynamic range of motion. A subluxation can be caused by three components, traumas, thoughts, and toxins.
Traumas can be anything from a baby falling down while learning to walk to sleeping in the wrong position to a serious motor vehicle accident. Trauma effects are cumulative. Often, a person will have little to no pain despite years of abuse to their body, then all of a sudden, a slight injury becomes “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Thoughts encompass the mental and emotional stresses we face every day. When we are under mental stress, our sympathetic nervous system (part of the autonomic nervous system) is excited. Our digestion slows, sweat glands are stimulated, and muscles become tense.
This can lead to physical changes and imbalances in not just the neuromusculoskeletal system, but the endocrine system as well. Toxins cover our diet and environmental exposure. Through visceral-somatic reflexes, chemical challenges to our body will directly affect the health of the spine.
What Is Nervous System Interference?
The nervous system is the master system of your body. As such, our bodies encase it in the bone to protect it. Your skull and spine enclose your brain and spinal cord respectively.
It is the first system to form and governs the actions of every single cell in your body. It is an extremely complex design, with some vertebra having as many as ten separate joints. When one vertebra becomes subluxated, whether it be by mental stress, physical stress, or chemical stress, it affects the whole spine.
Every bone functions together for optimal movement and expression of the nervous system or your body’s Innate Intelligence. When a nerve is irritated, its expression of the signals sent from the brain is affected. These signals, which tell the end organ the nerve runs to (your eyes, your muscles, stomach, intestines, etc.), do not provide the end organ with the full information.
It’s like being on a phone call with patchy reception. You may eventually get the idea of what the person you’re talking to is saying, but you may completely misinterpret the conversation. If you sever the nerve connection to a muscle, the muscle will atrophy and die. It cannot live without stimulation by the nervous system.
Only 10% of the nerve fibers in your body carry pain signals. The other 90% could be compromised by vertebral subluxation and you would still be pain-free. Pain is not a requisite for disease. In order for your body to have pain, you have to have tissue damage.
What Our Clients Are Saying
Thank you so much for your dead-on diagnosis and effective treatment of my lower back pain. As you know, I was in agony when I first came to your office. Your x-rays revealed the root of my discomfort to be a slight misalignment of my hips, which was putting pressure on my lower spine. In less than two weeks and just four visits, my hips are back in proper alignment, the pain and discomfort are completely gone, and I feel good as new! I also want to thank you and your office staff for the care and concern you show for your patients. It is truly refreshing to be treated with such respect and dignity. – G. B.