Myths vs facts

I heard from several people that chiropractic care made them worse

It is very common for a patient who has just begun chiropractic care to feel worse before they feel better. If the patient discontinues care after only two or three adjustments because it ‘only made them feel worse,’ they haven’t allowed the body to adapt to the changes that are occurring in the body. Most of the time, a patient beginning care in their adult life have had years and years of accumulated spinal misalignments. The first few adjustments may cause discomfort due to the changes that are happening, even though they are positive changes. If the chiropractor doesn’t explain this process as being very normal and natural, the patient, expecting pain relief, may be disappointed to see that they may feel temporarily worse.

Much like beginning a new exercise program, the body needs time to adapt to the changes that are taking place. The first time you go for a run, your body may feel tired, weak, sore and nauseous. However, give it a couple weeks and your body adapts to these new positive changes and you begin to feel much better and stronger. If misalignments that have been present for years are suddenly being corrected, it is expected that the body may ‘complain’ somewhat at first. It takes time for the muscles, ligaments and joints to re-adapt to the vertebra’s new and improved position.

Have patience… Chiropractic care is a process that may take some time. Honor and be grateful for the changes. After all, you are likely beginning chiropractic care because you have recognized that something needs to change in your body! Remember that the purpose of chiropractic adjustments is not to relieve symptoms, but to help your body function at its optimum level by removing interference from your nervous system. Once the interference is gone, your life energy is able to flow to all parts of your body as it is needed. With time and regular care, you will be very happy you made the decision to begin the process. Your “life” depends on it!

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Does cracking your knuckles really cause arthritis and big knuckles?

If cracking your knuckles truly did cause arthritis, this could potentially be a problem. However, there is no research showing that any damage occurs when you crack your knuckles. In fact, joints need movement in order to function properly. It is usually a lack of movement that causes problems such as arthritis.

The myth about arthritis being a side effect of cracking your knuckles was probably started by a mother who grew tired of her child cracking their knuckles so she told them that if they kept on, they would get big knuckles and arthritis. The child stopped cracking their knuckles, therefore this success story was passed on to others until the rumor became a modern day societal concern.

Misalignment in the spine results in certain vertebrae lacking movement or “getting stuck”. Proper joint mobility is critical for a healthy spine; chiropractic adjustments restore proper motion and allow the nervous system to flow as it was intended to flow.

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My back doesn’t hurt… How does a spinal misalignment affect my bowels if I have no pain?

Ever notice how when you stub your little toe, a little tear forms in your eye? The whole body is truly connected.

In terms of the nervous system, we are aware of less than 3% of what’s going on in our bodies. That means that what we can feel through tickle, touch, hot/cold, numbness, tingling, pain, etc. is less than 3% of everything that is happening in our body. Unfortunately, most people rely on that 3% (symptoms) to tell them if they are healthy or not.

Can you feel your liver processing fat molecules? When you eat a donut, do you know how much insulin to secrete to store the sugar in your body? When was the last time you thought about converting and exchanging a couple of oxygen molecules for carbon dioxide molecules? The list goes on and on!

There are millions of processes occurring in the body every second. If these processes are not working correctly, over time, disease will manifest. If we wait for a disease to manifest and try to deal with it at that point, it is invariably much more costly and difficult. The other option is to assure that our life energy is communicating with all the parts of the body, thus continuing to constantly create our bodies in a healthy manner. It is up to you to choose how you take care of yourself.

Relying on pain to tell you when there is a problem is not a healthy way to live. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis have usually been manifesting as poor physiology in the body for 10 to 25 years before they become apparent as physical disease.

Most people know they have heart disease when they either die, have a stroke, or have a heart attack. This is not the ideal time to identify lifestyle choices which could benefit your physiology. If this does occur, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all hope is lost, although it becomes much riskier, more invasive and more complex!

Health is all about proper function; 100% communication between the brain and the rest of the body; 100% physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Health is not merely “feeling good”!

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Chiropractic is expensive and not covered by medical plans or government programs

Unfortunately, our insurance, government programs and medical plans only cover crisis management. This is the focus of our “health care” system. Truly, it is not really health care at all – it is “disease care.” We have excellent facilities for first aid/crisis management. But these systems were never designed to create health, to increase health, or be used for the long term.

Once medical plans and government programs start paying for your chiropractic care, gym pass, bottled water, organic food, supplements, yoga, massage and other natural, proactive, life-enhancing health systems, we will then know that the governments truly have our health in mind.

Some food for thought:
In Canada and the US, we make up 5.5% of the world’s population, yet we consume 78% of the world’s pharmaceuticals! If that were the answer to ‘health’, we should be the two healthiest nations. Yet according to the World Health Organization, we rank 32 and 38 respectively out of 40 industrialized nations. It’s time that the government stop following the money trail and begin focusing their time, money and energy on what works to keep our nations healthy!

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If I start getting adjusted, will I need to keep being adjusted for the rest of my life?

I’m not sure about you, but when I had my first haircut, they never told me that in order to keep my hair looking neat and well-kept, I would have to keep returning for haircuts for the rest of my life!

If you started to exercise today, for how many years would you need to continue exercising in order to maintain a good level of fitness?

If you started to eat healthy today, for how many years would you need to continue to eat well in order to maintain a healthy figure and healthy digestive system?

If you started to think positive today, would you need to continue doing so in order to be an overall positive person?

If you slept for 24 hours tonight, could you stay up for the next three days, and still feel great and be healthy?

Is it necessary to keep brushing and flossing your teeth for as long as you live? No! Unless you care to keep your teeth…

So, truly, the answer to this question must come from each individual’s decision on whether or not they feel it is an important part of their healthy lifestyle. That decision is ultimately up to you.

As a chiropractor, I make exactly the same recommendations to each of my patients as I would to any cherished members of my family. In order for you to be stronger and healthier, chiropractic adjustments are a regular part of your healthy lifestyle. And, just like the other lifestyle choices I mentioned, the more consistent and committed you can be, the better the health outcomes. I will be adjusting my children, my wife, and getting myself adjusted on a regular basis for the rest of our lives. I know we will be healthier and stronger because of it. It is up to you to decide what you want to do with those recommendations.

You are only as healthy as your spine and nervous system. What spine would you like to have in 5 years from now? 10 years? 25 years? The choice is yours…

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If I eat properly and exercise regularly, why would I need a chiropractor?

Short Answer:
When we talk about health, we often leave out several key components. Proper balance, healthy spinal motion and a resulting healthy nervous system are all integral to health. Very often, the missing piece of the puzzle in the picture of health is a healthy spine and nervous system. During exercise, it is important to have your spine moving properly and your body to be balanced. Imagine hitting a large pothole in your vehicle. The tire may not be affected immediately; however, if you keep driving with this imbalance, eventually the tire will wear out, along with all its attached components. Your spine works in the same way. If your spine is imbalanced, the physical impacts of exercise will actually wear it out faster. Likewise, if you are taking the time and energy to eat well, you want your body storing and using those nutrients at an optimum level.

Eating well and exercising do not replace the need for chiropractic. In fact, many of the professional and world class athletes get adjusted regularly. They use chiropractic not merely for aches and pains, but to get that extra edge, to push their bodies even further! If you have 100% life energy flowing through your body, healthy eating and exercise will only push you in a more positive direction.

Long Answer:
First, you must understand why chiropractic care is so important. In essence, the focus of chiropractic care is to reduce “subluxations” (more correctly, the Vertebral Subluxation Complex). Subluxations cause nervous system interference. More specifically, the brain/body connection has been negatively affected.

Physiology shows us how the brain controls every single organ, cell and tissue in your body. It does this by means of life energy, often called the chi in chiropractic. The flow of life energy in your body is decreased by subluxations. This is the energy that controls and coordinates every single function of your body! You can see why it is incredibly important in terms of health. So how do you lose this connection?

The process (the subluxation) is an adaptive state in response to stress. Stresses to our spine and nervous system come in three major forms: Physical, Emotional and Chemical.

1. Physical: Injuries from slips, falls, car accidents, trauma, and micro-traumas which include poor posture, computers, couches, driving, etc. Birth would fall under this category of physical stress. The head is usually the first thing to present in a typical child birth. Doctors can pull up to 30 lbs of pressure with bare hands and 60-120 lbs of pressure using tools such as forceps and vacuum extraction. A cesarean section actually causes more torque and tension to the cervical spine (neck) than vaginal birth. And that is just the beginning!

Toddlers then learn to walk, falling an average of 38 times per day, straight on their butt! The forces encountered would be enough to break an adult’s hips. Then they play sports, fall off their bikes and swing sets, scrape knees, etc. You can certainly see why it would be important to ensure the proper functioning of an infant’s spine. Many symptomatic problems we experience as adults start in infancy, and could have been prevented with chiropractic care.

2. Emotional Stress: Imagine you are a passenger in a car on a wintery Canadian highway. The roads are pure ice and you can’t see more than a car length in front of you. After a few hours of this tense driving situation, how does your body feel? Stressed? Tight neck, possible headache, possible nausea, tight shoulder blades, low back aches… a large list of PHYSICAL symptoms, yet nothing physical has actually happened. We respond to emotional stress by asymmetrically tightening our spinal muscles, releasing many hormones, breathing shallow breaths, increasing blood pressure, increasing cholesterol, decreasing insulin receptors, and a long list of other amazing physical changes. These changes, by the way, are the perfect response to a stressful encounter with a grizzly bear. It is called the fight or flight response. In the short term, the physiological changes allow you to protect yourself from an attacker, or better yet, run away. Either way, you can see how emotional stress affects our physical body.

Unfortunately, in our society, emotional stress has become a chronic, long term problem. The grizzly bear is now replaced by traffic, meetings, finances, relationships, negative media, and our busy, busy lives. We get locked in the fight or flight mode and the physiological changes get labelled as “disease”. Hypertension (high blood pressure), hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), diabetes, obesity, decreased immune function, cancer, etc. These are diseases of lifestyle. All affect spinal integrity, nervous system function and overall health. It is estimated that 100 years ago in North America, it would take 30 days of living to accumulate the amount of stress we now accumulate in 1 day!

3.) Chemical Stress: A large part of this is uncontrollable. Atmospheric and environmental toxins in our food, water and air supplies, smog… Large consumerism irresponsibility – products that are damaging to our health and the environment. We have a constant stress to our bodies in the form of these chemical stresses. Just like emotional stress, chemical stress will eventually manifest as a physical symptom.

Have you ever sat in a freshly painted room or a garage full of exhaust? Or drank too much alcohol? Your body can often react violently to these chemical stresses. The physical manifestations can be headache, muscle tension, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, etc.

The most devastating chemical stressors we expose ourselves to is the overuse of medications. Medications were never designed for long term use. ALL medications have negative side effects. We look for quick fixes in North America and it is killing us! Canada and the U.S. make up as little as 5.5% of the world’s population. Yet, we consume 78% of all the world’s pharmaceuticals. If this were the answer to health, we should be one of the healthiest nations in the world. The World Health Organization ranks the top 40 industrialized nations based on an extensive list of health parameters, with #1 being the healthiest. Unfortunately, Canada and the USA are at the bottom of the list; 32 for Canada and 38 for USA. We have a failing system; perfect for first aid management, but never designed to make us healthier and stronger.

As you can see, the need for chiropractic care has never been greater. Even if you are incredibly healthy, feeling great, active, etc., your everyday life exposes you to continual stresses that have a significant effect on your spine and nervous system. Chiropractors assess the function of your body and not merely treat the symptoms. Chiropractic can help ensure that your body’s life energy is flowing fully, allowing every part of your body to be connected and functioning at 100%; that is what true health is all about!

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Chiropractors can’t cure cancer and other diseases except back pain

Chiropractors do not claim to cure anything. Chiropractic adjustments help restore homeostasis (proper function) to the nervous system, allowing the human organism to be as healthy as it can be. The only cure to anything is proper function.

Cancer is a great example. The average healthy individual can create upwards of 15,000 cancerous cells per day. Their healthy immune system identifies the mistake, deletes the mistake, and continues forward with healthy cells. The cure for cancer is a properly functioning body with all channels of communication open; nervous system, immune system, hormonal system, lymphatic system, etc.

The power that made the body heals the body.

We are always either heading towards health or heading away from health. Similarly, your body is either in a state of developing cancer cells or in a state of eliminating cancer cells. The direction in which you are heading is determined by the everyday choices that you are making…

Eat processed, unhealthy foods… head towards disease.
Eat wholesome, natural, organic healthy foods… head towards health.

Stay on the couch all day and watch TV… head towards disease.
Stay active and fit… head towards health.

Think angry, negative thoughts continually… head towards disease.
Think happy, healthy thoughts… head towards health.

Neglect your spinal misalignments which result in nerve interference… head towards disease.
Maintain a well-adjusted healthy spine and nervous system… head towards health and full expression of life energy!

It’s that simple!

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I don’t have any pain, so why should I see a chiropractor?

The most important thing people need to understand about health is this:
HEALTH IS NOT ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL, IT IS ABOUT HOW WELL YOUR BODY IS FUNCTIONING.
By the time you feel physical diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease or arthritis, they have been manifesting for 10-25 years. In 60% of cases of cardiovascular disease, the first symptom is either a heart attack or death. Alarming? It should be.

People with heart disease and breast cancer may feel fine, but their bodies are not functioning properly. The same is true with your spine and nervous system. This is where chiropractic comes in. We can assess the function of your body, primarily your nervous system. The nervous system heals, controls, regulates and coordinates the function of your ENTIRE body. Therefore, it is crucial that it is working properly. Even though you may feel ‘fine,’ a chiropractic assessment can identify areas of subluxation, or decreased brain/body connection, so we can allow these areas to function properly.

Remember that you were born to be healthy! When you keep your body’s life energy flowing by removing any interference in your brain/body connection, you will express your health potential you were meant to express!

“As long as that power [life energy] within you has control of your body, a state of HEALTH exists. Should something interfere with normal control of that internal power, then you cease to enjoy your birthright-HEALTH-instead a state of dis-ease becomes prominent.”
– Dr. BJ Palmer

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Can chiropractic adjustments cause a stroke?

Since Chiropractors deal with the neck, this would appear to be a valid concern. However, science is showing us that there is absolutely no need for concern. Take into consideration these facts:

  • A shoulder check, while driving, stretches the vertebral artery up to 80% more than during a chiropractic adjustment (Study from the University of Calgary by Dr. Herzog)
  • There have been many studies analyzing the risk of stroke following a Chiropractic adjustment. The best estimates are showing that the likelihood of stroke following an adjustment range somewhere between 1 in 15 million people to 1 in 2 million people. This is in the same likelihood as being struck by lightning. There is a small amount of correlation but NOT causation. According to the July 2000 issue of the Chiropractic Journal, the risk of having a stroke in a medical doctor’s office is equal to that of a chiropractor’s office. The journal has also documented cases of strokes occurring in the waiting room of a Chiropractor’s office prior to being adjusted. If that person had been adjusted five minutes before the stroke, who would have been blamed? If someone leaves a specific department store and has a stroke, would they blame that store for their poor lifestyle habits that precipitated their stroke?

To put these huge numbers in perspective, please consider the following risk assessment.

  • The risk of hospitalization and death from taking NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil, Motrin and Nuprin) is about 1 in 1000.
  • The risk of death from cervical spine surgery (neck surgery) is about 1 in 200.
  • The risk of irreversible neurological damage, from the same surgery is 1 in 65.

A quick review of malpractice insurance rates gives us good insight into the amount of claims against health care practitioners. Consider the following:

  • OB-GYN in Canada – $12,000 per year
  • OB-GYN in Florida – $237,000 per year
  • Dentist – $1500-2000 per year
  • Chiropractor – $681 per year

Insurance companies have done their research. As a company, they fully understand how much they will have to pay out for people being injured. Chiropractic is and always been very safe.

Futher reading: Adjustments, Strokes, and Errors in Medicine, by Dr. Christopher Kent

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If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!

How many times have you heard that statement?

We, as chiropractors, often hear our patients tell us that they are feeling good and therefore don’t need to be adjusted on a regular basis. “If it’s not broken, why fix it?”

The fact is that if there is a misaligned (subluxated) vertebra in your spine interfering with the proper function of the nerve system, you are not fine… there is something “broken”. In fact, the most important system in the body, the nervous system, is broken. The inborn wisdom of your body, which controls and coordinates the function of every cell in the body, is not free to do its job. Your body is simply not working as it should.

Have you ever wondered what percent of the nervous system you can actually feel? Do you actually feel the brain telling your stomach how to digest, or your lungs how to breathe, or your immune system how to function? We only actually only feel approximately 3% of our nervous system. Just because it is not noticeable, it doesn’t mean that dysfunction is not occurring or that the damage is not accumulating within the body. The end results could be disastrous. How many years of accumulated nerve dysfunction, caused by unrecognized spinal misalignments, does it take before a heart problem manifests in the form of a heart attack? Or, for a stomach problem to show up as ulcers? For a deteriorating liver to show up as a terminal case of liver cirrhosis?

When your car just begins to burn or leak oil, you do not notice it. Further, if the warning system is not working properly, you may continue driving the car, completely unaware, until your car is permanently damaged. That is why it is smart to have the oil level in your car checked regularly. You also wouldn’t think of avoiding oil changes because your car has no symptoms, would you? For that same reason, it is in the best interest of your health and life to have your spine checked regularly for vertebral subluxations even if it does not appear to be “broken!”

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