Surely you’ve heard, “once you go to a chiropractor you have to keep going to feel good” or “it’s only temporary relief” or some version of this idea.
Here’s the truth: A chiropractic adjustment opens up the communication between brain and body by clearing a subluxation – a misalignment in the spine.
When you are subluxated, it’s like a dimmer on a light switch. The dimmer has a resistor in it that restricts the flow of electricity thereby dimming a light; just the same way a subluxation resists the flow of nerve energy/electricity to the organs and tissues of your body. When we adjust you, the power is restored. Now what will invariably happen is the stresses of your life: sitting, standing, work, exercise, mental and emotional tension will cause the subluxation to return. What is key is for the chiropractor to figure out the rate at which a person subluxates at a given point in their life. So if a new person comes to my office with subluxations that have been uncorrected for many years plus lots of daily stresses then when I adjust them they are only going to hold that adjustment for a few hours or a day. What else would you expect? That’s why for these people we’d need to see them every day or two in the beginning of their care to keep the pressure off their nerve system, keep the flow of nerve signals from brain to body, thereby giving them a chance to heal and return to healthy function. As the person’s spine and nerve system begin to stabilize they won’t subluxate as often so they may only need to be adjusted twice or once every week to keep the power flowing between brain and body. This really goes to the purpose of chiropractic care: it is not to relieve symptoms with an adjustment. It IS to maintain full brain-body connection to allow for the healthiest version of you possible!
You can see that with chiropractic just like anything else in life consistency is required for maximum benefit. You can’t workout once a month and expect to be fit, you can’t go to work once a week and expect to be wealthy. I could go on but I think you get the point! Thanks for reading and giving us the opportunity to help you live your best life through chiropractic!
There are a few things to be aware of when you begin getting adjusted that will help you move with ease into better health. Firstly, if you have been living with subluxation and the damaging effects of nerve system interference for years it’s not uncommon to have some ups and downs in the first few weeks or months of your care. Remember that although unhealthy, your body is used to being subluxated and in the beginning of care you will only hold your adjustment for a few hours to a few days. That is like having intermitting bursts of power flowing through your nerve system and then having the flow blocked again. For example, suppose you have numbness and weakness of your arm due to uncorrected neck subluxation. You may notice after your adjustment that there is relief of the numbness/tingling as well as improved strength as the nerve signals from your brain to arm are restored. In a few hours or a day however as your subluxation returns your symptoms return. You may even feel a bit worse at these times, because you had a break from the discomfort and are no longer used to feeling bad which so often occurs when a person has been suffering for a long time. It’s also important to realize at this stage WHY your adjustment schedule is three times per week: in order for us to consistently get the pressure off your nerve system and allow your spine to begin to correct we need to adjust you every few days, so it’s vital that you keep your scheduled visits to maintain progress. As you continue to get adjusted your symptoms gradually improve (i.e. less intense and more infrequent) as you begin to hold your adjustment longer. This pattern of on-off symptoms is one possibility however there are other patterns that can occur. In some cases the symptoms gradually ease over time as your body heals. In some cases the symptoms hardly change at all for a few weeks or months because there is so much damage in the tissues that they need more time to begin healing. Symptoms patterns can also change (i.e. instead of feeling numbness you may feel heat, or other types of discomfort) or feel things in different locations. I have also seen patients whose bodies need to activate fever or other mechanisms to move the healing process along. Remember your body uses fever to help clear out bacteria, viruses, pre-cancerous cells AND fever allows your immune system cells an ideal operating temperature. Again, if there is a lot of healing to do in your case there may be some unusual symptoms in this early part of your care. Finally, there are some people whose symptoms seem to vanish after their first few adjustments and although we’d love this for all of you we can’t promise it because every body is different. If this does happen to you it’s still just as important to continue with your required adjustment schedule to correct your subluxations and allow you to have the healthy future you desire. It’s all worth it of course because the end result is a better, stronger body receiving full power from your brain! If you have any questions about how you are feeling please ask and please share this article with others to help them better understand the healing process under chiropractic care!
Posted in Blog, Chiropractic Care, Pain and Symptoms
Tagged acid reflux, back pain, carpal tunnel, headaches, health, infertility, migraines, neck pain, pregnancy, rotator cuff, sciatica, shoulder pain
Okay think back to high school physics…don’t try too hard 🙂 but realize that there is a force that is always acting on us and affecting our body and it is called…GRAVITY! Gravity is the force that keeps us from floating off planet earth by exerting a downward stress on our bodies. We can’t really feel gravity acting on us but when we are standing or sitting (waking hours for most of us) gravity is compressing our spine and putting pressure on our spinal bones and discs. This can cause vertebral subluxations (spine out of alignment interfering brain to body communication) in two ways. Gravity acting through our head and neck WILL over time cause abnormal spinal postures leading (i.e. loss of cervical lordosis) and poor health. If you are already subluxated then gravity is actually locking and worsening your subluxations, leading to early degeneration, decay and loss of health. Not a good situation but we are stuck with it so let’s do what we can to minimize the negative effects! How can we do that you ask? By keeping our spine moving! A specific chiropractic adjustment UNLOCKS a subluxation restoring normal alignment and motion to the spine. This procedure done regularly will help minimize spinal decay due to gravity. The improvement in nerve flow which occurs when your subluxation is adjusted will also normalize muscle activity thereby preventing joint damage due to chronically tight soft tissues. This is one way to avoid spine, hip, knee and shoulder problems that often show up as people age – we are not aware that as the years go by tight muscles due to nerve interference are putting abnormally high stresses through our joints causing them to wear out. Getting adjusted regularly to stay subluxation-free could save many from joint replacement surgeries that are so common. Another thing I tell my patients to do to in this area is to take 20 minutes or more each day to lie down to get a break from the compression on the spine due to gravity. Many cultures take advantage of an afternoon “siesta” and we are now beginning to understand the health benefits of this from a scientific point of view. In fact it used to be a common practice for chiropractors to have their patients lie down and rest following an adjustment for 20 minutes to several hours! This was routinely done during the 1930’s-50’s but has since been abandoned not for health reasons but likely due to the increasingly hectic pace of life and demands on our time. If it is possible for you it would be a wonderful idea to go home after your adjustment and lie down and rest for a while to allow your nerve system to process and make corrections as needed. If you can’t do so then taking 15-20 minutes at another time of the day where you lie down, relax and breathe deeply will be very beneficial in helping maintain your alignment. I hope this article has you thinking more about what your body is dealing with every day and how your care is an investment that will reward you with positive health and wellbeing for man years to come!
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Now I can hear you saying “Dr. Pete, that is useless advice because what do I do now that I have a problem?” Well you may have a problem now and of course there are things that can help but what I really want you to think about is the concept of staying in alignment so that you don’t get so dysfunctional and dis-eased that health problems show up. And I can tell you from many years of experience with patients and even myself that it is actually easier, cheaper and less time consuming to just stay healthy by choosing to live subluxation-free than to wait until you FEEL a problem. You have to realize that by the time you can feel a symptom your body has been subluxated and malfunctioning for days, weeks, months or years. So logically if we can correct the subluxation BEFORE you get sick that is the BEST option. That is IF quality of life and health are of value to you. A study that will soon be published in the journal Brain Research demonstrated that following a chiropractic adjustment there was an improvement in strength and electrical activity of muscles (watch this video to see a demonstration of this). This was found in people who did not have symptoms (i.e. they felt fine before they were adjusted). But this does imply that even though they felt no symptoms they were subluxated and their body was not performing at 100%. The longer your body is forced to operate at less than 100% brain to body communication the more likely health problems will show up. So would you rather spend a bit of time and bit of money every week or two to keep your body functioning at 100% or would you rather wait until you are sick and then spend lots of time and money to get back into alignment? Not to mention the interruption in your life that is required if you become sick – you may not be able to work, exercise, care for your family and enjoy life!
Staying healthy is actually easier than you think with chiropractic care. And please remember not to forget your children because they also can’t tell if they are subluxated and who wants their kids to be sick? When your kids are sick then multiple people are affected – your child plus your stress of having to see your child suffer and care for them!
If you are reading this chances are you already are investing in a healthy today and tomorrow through chiropractic care. If not then do yourself and your family a huge favor and hire a chiropractor to take care of you…FOR LIFE!
A few years ago one I noticed a strange problem with one of my vehicles. As I accelerated beyond 100km/hr, a very noticeable and very annoying shaking was felt. As I came off the highway and resumed driving at normal city speed the problem seemed to disappear. I forgot about the issue and just assumed that my vehicle was fine. A week or so later on another highway trip the problem again surfaced as I sped past 100km/hr. The seats and entire vehicle shook at highway speeds and yet again vanished at lower speeds. I knew then that I had a problem that needed addressing. But before I could get the car to a mechanic, the problem began to show up at lower speeds. During city driving the shaking felt more like a wobble, just as annoying and disturbing as the high speed vibration. The mechanic diagnosed ruptured belts in one of the tires, something that could not be seen from the outside, but that required immediate fixing as it could mean blowing a tire which would be bad news for all vehicle occupants!
I’m telling you this story because it PERFECTLY demonstrates how most people experience symptoms due to lack of proper body function when living with subluxation. Let’s say you have a subluxation in your lower neck affecting strength to your right arm and lungs by 30%. Under low demand living, i.e. sitting, walking, watching TV, driving etc. the power loss is likely not noticeable. But as soon as the demand is increased when you work out, put in some overtime at your job, or experience some relationship stress, then symptoms such as numb and tingling fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome) or slight shortness of breath (asthma) develop. Perhaps when the demands go down, like work gets slower or your stress subsides, your symptoms may disappear just like when my vehicle speed dropped below 100. That does not mean that the problem (SUBLUXATION) is gone, just that the demands placed on your body are lower so the power loss is not as noticeable. However just like with my car, when the problem progresses (your subluxations get worse) then your symptoms may show up more often, get worse, or be there all the time. This story should help you understand why for some people their symptoms come and go with long breaks in between and why they may seem to suddenly worsen after being mild for a time. Please realize that your symptoms are just signals telling you that the actual problem (SUBLUXATION) is getting worse, just like it was not the shaking of my vehicle that was the problem but the damaged tires!
I meet a lot of people with a lot of ideas. It seems that everybody has pet theories on what to eat or not eat, what to drink or not drink, how to exercise or what exercises to avoid, and what therapies are right for certain conditions. The reality is that with each theory on the “right way” to live there exists conflicting data. Some which supports a claim, some which refutes it. So when patients ask me, “Dr. Pete should I follow this or that diet, workout plan, etc…” I usually say “if it seems like a good idea to you then do it”. But I actually like to stay out of the discussion and debates of what is good or bad.
More and more I like to live in the realm of TRUTH. Truth differs from theory in that truth is self-evident. Truth requires little explanation (i.e. a child can grasp it easily). With truth if one is honest you will find no evidence to the contrary. Many years ago I was introduced to the TRUTH of Chiropractic. It goes as follows:
Truth #1: All the functions in a human being are controlled and co-ordinated by communication between the brain and body via the nerve system. Our nerve systems control our bodies and make us who we are.
Truth #2: Interference to communication in the nerve system disrupts function in the body. This is never a good thing whether it is noticed by a person or not. When that interference to nerve function is found in the spine it is called a SUBLUXATION.
Truth #3: A specific and appropriate chiropractic adjustment corrects a subluxation improving brain-body communication and body function. YOU ARE ALWAYS BETTER OFF LIVING WITHOUT SUBLUXATION!
I look forward to helping you and your family live subluxation-free and super healthy in 2015!
It’s a question that my patients often ask: “How often do I need to be adjusted doc?” To answer this question I think it’s so important to first review the why behind chiropractic. Chiropractic adjustments correct vertebral subluxations. Vertebral subluxations as you know involve interference to brain body communication resulting in less strength, energy and health. My goal for my patients is to help them live subluxation free, so that their body and life will not deteriorate due to the effects of uncorrected subluxation. With this in mind your adjustment frequency is developed specifically to help you live subluxation free. I take into account the state of your spinal health (i.e. a person just beginning care with longstanding subluxations needs to be adjusted more often than person who has gone though a year of corrective care and whose spine and nerve system is relatively stable) as well as the amount of stresses you are subject to each day that could cause you to subluxate (see the article on The Three T’s: trauma’s, toxins and thoughts). Also taken into account is your experience of how you are feeling and functioning, since some of you (myself included) know that to be your best you need to be checked and adjusted no less then weekly. We combine these with research that tells us that if a subluxation goes uncorrected for more than two weeks, changes take place in the vertebrae, joints, nerves, soft tissues and brain which make it much more difficult to correct and damaging to you. This is really important as sometimes patients ask me: “why don’t you recommend that patients come monthly or less?” You can see that doing so will mean that much of the time your body will be subluxated and not functioning properly and also subject to accelerated decay and aging. I know that although all of my patients want to be healthy, at times they are concerned about making the time for their appointments and the financial investment required. Most of you have decided that it is very reasonable to trade a few minutes each month and between $80-$160 a month to keep yourself healthy, able to work, exercise, play sports, digest properly, breathe fully, conceive and all the other wonderful things life in a healthy body has to offer. I hope this article helps you better understand the importance of chiropractic in helping you have an amazing life!
Dr. Pete checking a patient for subluxation
There have been a lot of conversations in the office lately about this topic so it was really on my heart to share. Hope you enjoy – Dr. Pete
A central idea in Chiropractic is that everything a human being needs to be healthy and feel well is inside. Here at Clearview Chiropractic we always make sure to help our patients understand that the wellness they desire does not reside in a bottle of pills or vitamins, a special diet or therapy, but lies within. The chiropractic adjustment releases interference to the flow of nerve energy allowing for an experience of greater wellbeing.
In a similar fashion we often think that something on the outside holds the key to our happiness and mental wellbeing. If only we could get the right job, find the right mate, get enough dollars etc. we could finally be happy. The truth is, happiness is a state that is natural so long as there is no mental interference in the form of negative thoughts and beliefs. And strangely enough (this is backed up by the work of Harvard researcher Shawn Anchor) when we choose to allow ourselves to be happy, this automatically helps us attract more of the things we want such as success, money and relationships.
It’s great to realize that everything we need lies not on the outside but within. What’s on the outside in your life is a direct result of what is going on inside. So make it a habit to think and project positivity and find your wellness where it actually is. Within!
Proper timing of functions in your body is crucial to your health and wellbeing. Timing of body functions is of course controlled by the brain, spinal cord and nerves – your nerve system.
What can happen when the timing in your body is disrupted by blocked nerve communication, known as vertebral subluxation complex? Here are just a few possibilities;
As you are enjoying your delicious turkey dinner (yes thanksgiving is coming up) the food hits your stomach and your intelligent stomach cells begin pumping out acid to digest the protein so your body can use it. Signals from the nerves in your stomach travel to your spinal cord and brain and an immediate response is needed contract the muscle at the top of your stomach to prevent the acid from travelling up into your esophagus. If the timing of these nerve signals is interfered with by subluxation, the message is delayed, acid spills up and you end up with heartburn. If this goes on repeatedly you are told you have acid reflux and may even end up on acid reducing medication which in no way addresses the real problem: the subluxation.
Here’s another example: after your thanksgiving dinner you decide to head outside and play a fun game of touch football. Being the great athlete that you are you decide to play quarterback. When you go to launch a deep throw to your receiver, very precise timing required by your brain sending signals to activate your rotator cuff muscles in a specific sequence to make the throw. If you have a neck subluxation blocking the nerves to your shoulder your timing will be off. This results in 1. a bad thrown and 2. likelihood of a rotator cuff strain. You will conclude (erroneously) that “I guess I’m too old for sports” and go back to being a couch potato.
These are just a few ways that subluxation interfering with the timing of brain to body communication can cause illness or set you up for injury. A chiropractic adjustment restores perfect timing in your nerve system moving your towards more wellbeing and a healthier future. So this you Thanksgiving you won’t be the one laid out on the couch but will be fully enjoying the food and festivities because you are subluxation free!
As I hope you are aware Chiropractic is much more than a job for me. It is a philosophy and a way of life. It has brought health and wellbeing to me, my family and so many patients I have had the privilege to serve over the years.
I am always looking for ways to help more people in our community live a healthier life via a healthy nerve system through chiropractic. So I periodically step back and take a look at what I am doing in the office and how I can improve in all areas. As I surveyed my practice recently it occurred to me that many of my patients are not bringing their children in to be checked for subluxation and adjusted. I had to ask myself why, and the honest conclusion I came to was that I have done a poor job educating you on the importance of your children living subluxation free. I’ve even heard comments like “my kids are fine, they don’t have pain or any health problems” which tells me that I have taught you to think about your care more in terms of symptoms than in terms of keeping subluxation free. So I’ve been doing a lousy job in this area but this is about to change!
Let’s review a few things. Your health, present day and future is dependent on the proper function of the master control system in your body: your nerve system. Spinal misalignments = subluxations that occur from the “three T’s” (traumas, toxins, thoughts) interfere with your nerve system resulting in loss of strength, performance and eventually health. For children in the critical developmental years from 0-10 it is imperative that their nerve systems are functioning properly to set the foundation of health for the rest of their lives. Children who are subluxated are more likely to have weakened immune systems (more tonsillitis, ear infections) and postural abnormalities that can lead to scoliosis and later in life joint problems. Living subluxation free gives your kids a huge advantage in terms of protection from illness and injury now and in their future. If we adjust your kids and keep them subluxation free this puts them on a trajectory for a healthier life than would be if they stay subluxated. And as you know you can’t tell if you or your kids are subluxated based on how you feel! And we don’t want to wait for your kids to have a health problem before looking into how well their nerve system is functioning. To get your kids under care it is simple. Bring them in for a check up and get them on a regular schedule. Most kids need to be adjusted every week or two weeks to be subluxation free depending on lifestyle (i.e. a 9 year old playing rep hockey may need to be adjusted more often than a two year old who is at home most of the time). You can find the child health history forms here so fill them out for your kids, schedule their checkups and get your kids on track for the healthiest life possible!
A child receiving a chiropractic adjustment before playing sports.