Every man, women & child should see a good Chiropractor on a regular schedule. Don't wait until your back goes out, you're in pain, or you develop a less mobile "military-neck" before going in. It's aboutprevention, folks. Moreover, I admonish that there is abundant science supported as regards a "spine in line." Mind, don't be too quick to turn up your nose.
Besides, have I yet steered you wrong?
Sincerely, keep reading because I'm going to give you practical information, both positive & negative, that I bet you've NEVER heard concerning Chiropractic science... its adjustment philosophy & some of the more arcane things chiropractors can do other than just twist your neck & spine. There's a lot more going on than you'd think.
These are things with credibility, remember... not some of the "woo-woo" stuff I will address at the end of this piece. Everything below has happened to me ... except the child bed-wetting.
First, the primary thing is to find a good Doctor of Chiropractic (DC)! Ask around to see who has a good reputation... but as far as philosophy & style, the 2 biggest complaints that I have had with DCs extant are:
1). Does the DC do a "complete" adjustment every time, or do they only adjust where the problem is located... for example, if you have a stiff-neck or a headache they only adjust your neck... or if you have lower back pain they only adjust your lower back. You don't want that.
You want a total neck/upper-spine/lower-back/pelvis/hips, adjustment every time! Seriously, I can't respect a DC who's too worried about cranking patient volume to do the job right. Besides ...it only takes a few extra minutes to do everything.
I'm not an expert but I will go toe to toe with any Chiropractor who thinks you only need to adjust the area where the pain is. For my money, this is laziness & wrong. Every vertebra all the way up to your head & back down, to include your pelvis & hips can effect your lower back, etc. It's all connected in an anatomical synergy... your neck can be out of adjustment & it will bend the whole spine causing one leg to "appear" shorter than the other, even!
On the first visit to a new DC in our small town I chastised him because his info-form only had blocks & questions about your complaint - so I ask him where was the block for a person like me with no complaints, that just wanted a complete regular maintenance adjustment so I'd likely never have a complaint?
He said I was absolutely right but unfortunately 95% of the folks came because of pain and that most people were "not so thorough" (which I interpreted as "not so anal"); still I suspected right then that he was very perceptive & would turn out to be a great Chiropractor & good friend...which he did. If your Chiropractor does not believe in adjusting everything... find a different DC. A lot on that, but it's important.
Before you make an appointment? Just call first and ask about the preceding...or the following, for that matter.
2). Some "money-hungry" Chiropractors dealing mostly in insurance & Medicare claims jack up the bill by charging $10 or $15 for the use of each of a series of manipulation "machines." These are mechanical or electrical devices that roll up & down your spine or cause muscles to contract & relax by electrical stimulation... or any number of other different machines you're charged for individually. Their *use* results in a $70 or $80 visit instead of a $25 or $30 visit... but who cares, eh? As long as someone else picks up the bill... which actually means "we all pay," actually, right? If the money comes out of your own pocket you are more discerning? I digress.
If the Chiropractors wants to do one short machine session to relax the muscles before the adjustment & will still only charge $25 or $30, then no problem, but multiple machines at multiple dollars is a smoke and mirrors rip-off. Incidentally, the $25 quoted is the price in lower Alabama. One needs to adjust for big city cost of living... like maybe the standard starting price is $35 a visit instead of $25. Be prepared to pay about $100 or more for the first visit because they will insist on X-rays. That's rational.
3). Once when my DC was on vacation I went temporarily to another guy, when my lower back gave out... he required X-rays for which I paid about $100. But when my regular Chiropractor got back, this temp-guy would not give me my X-rays, X-rays that I paid for! He is also one of those guys who only adjusted my lower back (I'll admit he was very skilled).
On the third visit that week (my back was much better) I finally ask him to also adjust my neck ... he said..."Oh, (long pause)... you want me to adjust your neck?...ah, OK" - he really acted like that was an unusual request... adjusting the whole spine in one visit... what a revolutionary concept!
Here is my small sampling... I have been to 8 DCs... 4 automatically did a "Complete" Adjustment while 3 only adjusted where the pain was... and one I'm not sure because I told him before he opened his mouth that I wanted a complete adjustment. A complete adjustment is important!
Onward, the spine is not the only thing a skilled DC can manipulate to better functionality. More unusual things that DCs can adjust are (This is physics, remember, not "Crystal-Squeezing"):
1). Shoulder-Pain from sleeping on your side - This is simple physics! The arm is gradually pulled out of the shoulder over the months & years just a tiny amount from sleeping on your side w/o the proper support... especially if you favor one side & if you are a big person like me at 6' 3" & 230.
I had this problem for years, WHILE going to the DC every month... and I never thought to mention it for 2 reasons; It never dawned on me that they could fix this, one, because I didn't know what "this" was (I thought it was just weight-lifting aches & pains). Secondly, the shoulder pain rarely bothered me except when I did bench-presses or tried to reach across my chest & back over my shoulder trying to itch a spot humankind must be unintelligently designed not to be able to scratch... which is to say an unusual movement... so I never even thought about it while at the DC.
Fortuitously, I mentioned the pain one day and he confirmed that I sleep on that side most often. Then he said astonishingly "no problem, we'll just pop that thing right back in there"...which he did! While I'm laying on my back he gives a sharp downward push with the arm & I could feel the little "pop" as the bone moved that little 1/16 of an inch or so back into the socket... INSTANT Relief. Of course, if you keep sleeping the same way, it will work its way back out again in a few weeks or months... so in between my regular visits for a total adjustment (and both shoulders), I have showed my adopted son how to push it back in. Of course he doesn't quit have the "touch" of the professional, but it does work pretty well.
2). Knee-Pain - My knee would "go out" at times when I made a sudden lateral or backward movement resulting in a sharp little pain & then I had a slight limp for the rest of the day. The next morning it would be OK after staying off it over night. Again, I never mentioned it until one day it was actually bothering me while at the DC, so boom... he fixed it in about 2 seconds & showed me how to fix it myself in the future by putting a rolled up dish-towel behind my knee and pulling my leg together...again a tiny pop & pain/limp are gone instantly.
Then later I got to where I could just pop it back in w/o a dish-towel... so after about 8 months of keeping it popped in everytime it even remotely felt like it might pop out, now it almost never goes out! You see, this is a basic tenet of Chiro-Med' - "keeping *it* in the proper place, long enough, eventually fixes it"...or pretty much fixes it, anyway. Better than pharmz and knives, assuredly.
FYI: Some things can be fixed with one adjustment (like the proverbial "threw out my back or whatever") but if some particular vertebra has been "out of adjustment" for a long time it will take several, if not multiple visits because the muscles have re-grown to this new "out of Whack" position, trying to compensate. This means the DC has to put the vertebra back in the correct position (the pain gets better), BUT the old musculature keeps trying to pull it back out of position... subsequently, the next day or next week, the pain starts coming back, so the DC is there putting it back! Each time it stays fixed a little longer & the time between visits gets longer until eventually it stays in place pretty much forever... hopefully.
Bone-Head Anecdote: I carefully explained the preceding physics to a fellow Helicopter Instructor Pilot (he had to have an IQ of at least 115 to even attempt Army Flight-School) who was permanently "grounded" for low-back pain. After going to my DC for one visit, he told me that his back felt better for about 2 days but then the pain gradually returned so he decided there was no point in going back because obviously the Chiropractors couldn't fix it.
I said - "Uh-huh... but it did feel better for 2 days?" and he said "Yes"...I told him he was right and that it would be better if he never returned to the Chiropractor and I even reminded him how those Codeine pain pills & muscle relaxants that the Flight-Surgeons pass out like Tic Tacs, were breathtakingly "mellow-yellow"...Dude. Besides, there was always surgery!
I gave him the old "Keep'em Flying Thumbs-up", then turned & walked away. I did my best to never inter-act with that oxygen-stealing, idiot, ever again... I'm afraid if you associate with bone-heads, some of that stupid might rub off on you.
One more anecdote: Another grounded Instructor Pilot, who was an "Older than Dirt" grouchy aged bastard, was certain Chiropractors were Quacks & Thieves... especially after reading the Soulless Prostitute for big Pharmz and predatory medicos, "Quack-Watch" who reports all Chiropractors are fakes.
My "friend" had a whip-lash. This meant that he could not move his head to either side more than about 30 degrees. To get him to go to the Quack (my DC), I told him I would pay for the adjustments if after about a month or two he wasn't any better, that's how confident I felt.
Besides I had disliked the guy for years, so I wanted him to eat his stupid, bone-headed words referencing the vile "Quack-Watch"... assuming my Chiropractor fixed his neck. So I was risking a few hundred dollars to be able to "eviscerate" him later... his neck getting fixed was not my major concern, proving him wrong, was... I know that's very small of me, but you had to know this guy.
Anyway, not having to pay if later he felt he was ripped-off, convinced him, so he started going twice weekly. All I ever hear, initially, is moaning & groaning about how he didn't think it was helping much... so after about 3 weeks, I was sick of it. I tell him to stop going & that I would reimburse him the $250 or whatever, for his costs so far, but he said No, wait... that he thought he would stick with it a couple of more weeks - like he was doing all this... for me.
A couple of days later I left for 2 months on an assignment. Upon returning, I walked onto the flight-line and was met by this old fool, who jauntily showed me how he could turn his head both ways almost 80 degrees! So he was back on flight status, I didn't have to pay a dime & he was able to keep his instructor pilot's job. He was one of our civilian Instructors so he didn't have the protection of being in the Army if grounded for very long... they would have put him out to pasture in pretty short order. Chiropractic, sans pills and knives, saved this man's professional life.
To be honest, even though I never particularly liked the old Guy & he never apologized for Quoting "Quack-Watch"... he did tell me (slightly misty-eyed) that the thing he would have really missed the most (if permanently grounded), was not coming to the Flight-Line every day and hanging out with all the "Kids," the fresh-faced cream of the American Crop boys & girls who are Army Helicopter student pilots.
On reflection they really can make you feel like we are not all doomed... you know? Chiropractic returned all this to him. Seriously, if he had to go home and sit by the pool & talk to his wife all day, everyday, he'd be dead in a year.
3). Bed-wetting child - Before you completely screw-up a kid by subjecting them to expensive "Psyco-Babble-Crapola" or toxic drugs, just let a DC give them a few adjustments to see if that helps. It very likely might...what the hell do you have to lose?
If it helps, then you would want to keep getting adjusted until the problem is corrected. Most kids like to go to the DC because he doesn't hurt them & there are NO needles.
4). Hiatal-Hernia (w. bad heart-burn) - OK, this the strangest maneuver of all - I wrote about this procedure in my 2nd NewsLetter "The Antacid Myth".
While on your back (again, simple physics) the DC sharply pushes his fist right below the sternum...this pulls the stomach-lining down out of the LES (lower esophogeal spinctor), allowing it to close so the acid won't splash up onto the unprotected Esophagus.
I had terrible Heartburn for years resulting from an HH...the first time my new DC did this to me, "I saw God"...the relief was that extraordinary. Not just the heartburn but I could take a really deep breath & breath easily... not having realized how the HH interfered with other organs like your heart & lungs. I almost did a Mike Meyer's "I'm not Worthy," for the guy.
Unfortunately, this is usually just a temporary relief... my HH worked its way back up through the LES in about 2 weeks. So the idea is to take drastic dietary measures while the thing is temporarily fixed so hopefully it will stay fixed without too many returns to the DC to get it pulled back down. If you go to the paper mentioned above <>http://www.alienview.net/ALLT1.html#AntacidMyth it will tell you those things to help correct the HH.
My Chiropractor told me about a way to do the "HH maneuver" at home - WARNING - if you break your neck doing this... don't blame me:
On an empty stomach drink about 1/2 quart of water, then stand on something about 6 inchs or so off the ground (OK, this is where weight, age, balance, condition of knees & probably 2 or 3 other things I'm missing, come into play) then jump off with your knees locked so you come to a sudden stop but the inertia of the water pulls the stomach lining down out of the LES. If you are young & slim, you might want to jump off something a little higher...like maybe a chair - if you weight 300lbs and do this from a chair... forget my name. It's best to go to a professional who understands the procedure.
Also this home procedure works better after the DC has pulled it down & then later you catch it with the home procedure at the first sign it is creeping back up. And then hopefully the "Chiropractic Tenet" will kick in & the thing will eventually stay fixed if you keep it in place long enough.
Now this is especially true if you help it along by loseing 10 lbs, strengthen your "Core" with exercise, eat 6 or 8 small meals daily, NEVER consume Tums, carbonated drinks, calcium CARBONATE, milk, sugar and a few other things that you will find in my "Antacid Myth" paper.
5).. Ribs - Did you know your ribs can be out of place & pinch a nerve under your shoulder blade, or other places, that usually only hurts when you move a certain way or can be an excruciatingly constant pain... this is a difficult thing to adjust at times... my mother's high-priced, big-city DC in Ft Worth failed to fix it, so I drove in periodic jabbing pain all the way back to LA (lower AL) where my regular DC finally did...
That was about 1999 & it has not bothered me since.
1st things 1st: In problem solving, there are qualifying steps & it is widely accepted that the second step is the most important ... To wit: "Understanding the nature of the problem"
Briefly, the 1st step of course is:..."To realize you have a problem." In the Uncle Al's "1st things 1st" Health Problem-Solving Steps, the 1st step is the same but the 2nd is different because it is hard to understandthe nature of the problem with all the crap that doctors & dieticians are feeding you.
So here are the Steps:
# 1 .. Realize you have a problem -- Chronic malaise, the blues or feeling tired is most certainly a problem, pilgrims! Don't ignore it!
# 2 .. Go get a complete adjustment & evaluation by a DC. There is no point in moving to something more involved or invasive without checking to make sure all the bones are in alignment precluding any pinched nerves!
# 3 .. Get your gut & digestion working at peak efficiency with Betaine HCL w. Pepsin, digestive enzymes, Probiotics; no Tums or Carbonated drinks, no sugar, no Gluten from wheat, barley or rye, no Tap-water, Soy, Milk... on & on. There is no point trying to get your body to repair itself if it can't absorb the building materials, right? Moreover, how is the gut expected to rebuild itself if it must endure assaults from toxins that keep dragging it down, anyway, by suppressing the immune system? Diet counts big folks.
# 4 .. Take all the necessary nutrients so your body can repair itself... every Vitamin (especially 2 or 3 times the %dv Vit.D-3)...every "big" Mineral, indicating over 100mg daily dose (especially AVOID calcium CARBONATE & magnesium OXIDE)... every "bigger" Trace Mineral (especially Selenium)... every "tiny" Trace Mineral (about 72 or so)... and most important, reader, are EFA's like Krill or Fish Oil...or if Vegetarian, Flaxseed Oil, Hempseed Oil & Black Currant Oil.
#5 .. Avoid Toxins that attack your Gut , brain & immune system...like tap-water, Fluoride in toothpaste, sugar, Trans-Fat, high Phytate/Oxalate Foods like Soy & Grains...and more.
#6 .. Try to eat more Alkaline-Forming Foods - all raw fruits & veggies, especially lemons & limes that you might think are acid but after digestion they are about the most Alkaline of all. More raw food is not only Alkaline-forming it generally means less processed foods... which are all Acid-forming. Don't avoid slightly Acid-forming Foods that are natural like Olive Oil & some berries.
Physical Therapy (PT) vs. DCM -
Ordinarily, I do not believe in "name-calling" & personal attacks... (ordinarily the scabrous SOB's regarded don't rate the energy expenditure!) so you can imagine how it pains me to make comments about the parentage of the evil, lying, otherwise misrepresenting little psychopath over at "Quack-Watch"... I can only assume he was badly abused as a child to hate humanity so much... that he would drop to his knees before Satan, reader... a euphemism for your typical Pharmz Executive... and one not used lightly... that's right, Satan IS the "euphemism", not the other way around, because...
... I would rather live-down being called a Spawn Of Satan than endure same as a Pharmaceutical Exec!
Anyway, this "Quack-Watch" weasel said that if he had a "Muscle-Spasm" in his back he would go to a "Physical-Therapist" not to a chiropractic charlatan! I'm paraphrasing because I can't even stand to go over to his site for an exact quote... I feel so dirty after... OK, that was just a modicum of hyperbole. On reflection though, decidedly small.
<>BBC NEWS | Health | Physio 'does not cure back pain'
Researchers at the University of Warwick and Oxford University analysed the treatment of 286 people who had had low back pain for more than six weeks.
Some 144 people had physiotherapy sessions while 142 were given advice about how to remain active.
After 12 months, the British Medical Journal study found no difference in how the two groups felt.
See, PT is great for recovering from trauma as a result of an accident, sure. But these are essentially exercises to strengthen & regain flexibility ...this will likely not encourage your misaligned vertebra, causing that nerve pinched and wracking pain, to move back to its proper position.
After a while the PT exercise will give the false impression that it is helping by strengthening the muscles around the still errant bone, which will try to compensate for the misalignment by reforming to the new position. So after a few weeks the sharp intense pain might recede to a dull pain...so you think you are getting better...but you haven't really fixed anything.
Also in reference to "Muscle-Spasms"...when a person complains to me about some pain in their back or neck -- I recommend they go to the DC to get adjusted ...then I think "here it comes"...because they invariably say "No, it's just a Muscle-spasm, it's over on the side... it's not at the backbone"
I hate to break this to you but most Muscle-Spasms are caused by a nerve being pinched, or periodically being pinched, at the vertebra because something is out of alignment! It doesn't matter one twit that the pain is not at the spine!
In fact, I may be going out on limb, but thinking back I don't believe I've ever heard a DC say... "your problem is a "Muscle-Spasm" ...because your problem is NOT a Muscle-spasm... likely, your problem is a pinched nerve due to a misaligned vertebra, Rib, pelvis, etc., etc. that is causing the so-called "Muscle-Spasm".
OK, I hate to do this but it's necessary...
Mumbo Jumbo Chiropractic "medicine" -- Applied kinesiology & Surrogate testing: A method of diagnosing problems by testing the muscle strength of the person or of a third person who is touching the patient. I have only ran across one DC that used this very questionable method of testing... and he used it for any & everything & I mean everything.
I went to this sweet old man for years because no one could do a better job of adjusting the spine (he was also the Hiatal H. guy), but along with it you had to put up with his mumbo jumbo about kinesiology... even though a dozen times I proved to myself, and I thought to him, ...that it was 99% crap.
This "procedure" is usually done by holding your arm out very stiff & then he would try pushing it down after saying the area or organ or "thing" he wanted to test... if the arm stays strong then that is good but if he appears to easily push the arm down then that is the "bad area" or whatever.
Please understand that I believe on some distant planet there might be some valid science involved here, but I am also sure that most people who use this diagnostic method either don't have a clue if it is actually working or they use the technique to arrive at the conclusion they want to come to.
Let me give you an extreme example that I think illustrates the total CRAPNESS of it... My crazy old DC (remember, I almost loved him like a Father) in order to determine how many Calcium tablets I needed, would lay one on my chest, test my arm strength, then continue to lay tablets on my chest until he hit the right number by the arm test.
Is it conceivable that this MIGHT work...yes, maybe...is this old fool doing it & arriving at a correct answer ? Not in this lifetime.
After a few years I finally told him I thought the whole thing was crap but he kept it up till he died... in fact every time he would do the arm-test I would say "Doc, you do remember that I think this is Crap?"...he would say Yeah, but continue on regardless.
Anyway, don't be put off by these irrelevant negatives! Like every profession, reader, there are weak, half-stepping individuals who get by on fluff, jive, or a Kirk Douglas Chin-Dimple... for instance, you could always tell a weak Army Helicopter pilot, who feared for his job, because he would take every opportunity to intone with his square-jaw something bigoted to undermine the growing ranks of female aviators. So anyway, check around - there are good DC's out there.
And consider, reader. Major insurance companies pay off on a chiropractic claim. That's a transfer of funds that is not going to happen unless it works. Savvy? Let the obvious psychopath over at "Quack-Watch" roll that and smoke it.
That's enough. Well be!