One of the most common tests used in healthcare today is the blood test. It is a routine procedure that is used by the medical profession to 1. screen apparently healthy individuals (people with no symptoms) for underlying problems and 2. to aid in diagnosing those who present at hospital or clinic with a complaint. You may have heard of possible findings such as “increased cholesterol”, “decreased red blood cell count” or “increased white blood cell count” that can give clues to the problems going on in your body. And the most common treatment used by the medical profession is to give a medication to artificially alter the blood chemistry to get it back into “normal” ranges.
Have you ever thought about what controls your blood chemical levels? Your blood levels actually represent the function of the various organs and tissues in your body. An improperly functioning liver will cause increased liver enzyme levels in the blood. An improperly functioning kidney can cause increased levels of waste products that can be measured in the blood. We could go on but the point is what shows up in your blood is simply the result of what is going right or not so right in your organs. So a blood test is an indirect measure of what is going on with organ function.
What is it that controls organ function? Do organs just work on their own or is their function monitored and co-ordinated by a supervisory “master system”? In humans, the brain, spinal cord and nerves, known as the nerve system, is the master system that controls and co-ordinates all functions, including the organs. So what shows up on your blood test not only tells you about what your organs are doing but also how well the nerve system is regulating organ function.
You see, your brain “talks” to the organs of your body through the billions of nerve fibres that run through the nerves and spinal cord. The brain can also “hear” what is going on in the cells and organs of your body through these pathways. The relatively new science of neuroimmunology studies among other things how the brain and nerve system communicates with white blood cells and other immune system cells. This field is helping us understand how stress affects nerve and immune system function and how this could relate to susceptibility to illnesses such as cancer. It should be obvious to you at this point that communication between brain and body is absolutely critical for proper body function and health!
The spinal cord and brain are so important that they are protected by bones including the skull and spinal vertebrae. When the spinal vertebrae and associated soft tissues are damaged or deteriorated it can compromise nerve function, interfering with brain body communication and eventually organ system function. Vertebral subluxation complex (VSC) is the name of the condition where physical, chemical and emotional stresses cause spinal misalignments which prevent proper nerve communication between brain and body. Doctors of Chiropractic are the only health professionals in Canada licensed to analyze your spine for the presence of VSC. Unfortunately VSC is not at the forefront of people’s mind’s when it comes to health and wellbeing. So right now it’s up to Chiropractors to make the public more aware of VSC and it’s effects on human health, as well as how VSC is corrected and prevented.
Back to our discussion of your blood chemistry. The next time you have a health problem or are concerned with how your body is functioning from a preventative standpoint, what do you think would be more useful, a blood test OR a spinal exam to test for VSC? Luckily you don’t have to limit your choice to one only! But I’d like to encourage you to get checked for VSC if you are not currently receiving regular chiropractic care. Remember that what shows up in your blood is intimately related to how your spine and nerve system are functioning. I’ve personally had patients who under chiropractic care have seen changes in their blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, thyroid hormone levels and iron levels, to name a few off the top of my head. There is also research that demonstrates how chiropractic adjustments affect blood chemistry, including work done in the 1990’s that showed that upper neck adjustments improve the white blood cell counts of HIV positive individuals.
Chiropractic care in the form of regular spinal adjustments is one of the best ways to keep your body functioning properly and help you score a passing grade on your next blood test!