One of the most common difficulties being a chiropractor is attempting to explain that the whole of the body is greater than the sum of its parts. Our bodies have been compartmentalized into specialties among medical professionals, and this can often create blinders for the doctor and the patient.
One of my most common instances of this is when a person enters my office with a medical diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome. They point to their hand, explains that the symptoms are from overuse, adding a bit of information that they read on Google. Taking the entire body into account, most chiropractors will look at impingement in vertebra between the fourth cervical vertebra and the first thoracic vertebra. When these specific areas are being compressed, choked, or pinched, they are capable of effecting the brachial plexus or thoracic outlet. So the symptoms may actually have nothing to do with the nerve tunnel in the hand and wrist, and everything to do with the thoracic and cervical spine.
Another good example was with a fellow I met while training, and he was explaining the amount of “heart pain” he had been having for over three years. He had been to every specialist, and had every special test done to verify that his heart was fine. In this instance he was about to be checked into a hospital for three days for observation. I explained that some heart and chest pain can be caused by impingement of the nerves between the ribs, and even potentially from the insertion points at the sternum, and even potentially just the thoracic vertebrae at the top of the spine being out of alignment. He trusted my opinion enough to make an appointment to be properly examined. After the very first chiropractic adjustment, the pain went away and it has never returned. All of this because we never take the entire body into account, just the areas that might be hurting.
The examples I’ve used, mind you, are simply about pain and discomfort, and in my next post I will cover a couple of instance of larger health scope that had nothing to do with pain symptomatology.
These type of instances have been happening more frequently lately, which reminded me of some excerpts that are still available on Dr. Dan Murphy’s website. These quotes really sum up the potential of what a chiropractic subluxation is capable of, and why we should never just chase pain and symptoms around the body.
“We tend to divide the examination of the spine into regions: cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine clinical studies.
This is a mistake.
The three units are closely interrelated structurally and functionally – a whole person with a whole spine.
The cervical spine may be symptomatic because of a thoracic or lumbar spine abnormality, and vice versa!
Sometimes treating a lumbar spine will relieve a cervical spine syndrome, or proper management of cervical spine will relieve low backache.”
Dr. John Bland, M.D. Disorders of the Cervical Spine
Professor of Medicine, University of Vermont College of Medicine
WB Saunders Company 1987 Page 84
These findings give so much credence and validity to whole health chiropractic practices, yet the common belief continues to be a divisional look and understanding of the body. This is also a wonderful to explain so people understand why a chiropractor might be adjusting their neck, when their back is the area of chief complaint. Without this communication and similar understanding of the body, the true value of the chiropractic adjustment might be lost.
After examples like the ones mentioned above occur, there is no better time to speak about the entire function of the body, and the importance of the chiropractic adjustment on their system as a whole. These missed opportunities have delayed the tipping point of the public’s opinion on the healing nature of the body, which continues to feed the beast of endless drugs, tests, and surgeries. There is nothing more powerful then helping a body restore health naturally after the person has lost all hope in its innate ability to heal.
Let’s get the message out there.