The Complicated Simplicity of Chiropractic
This article was provided by Dr. Craig Cheple DC, a chiropractor at Overland Clinic of Chiropractic in Olympia, WA. If you'd like to learn more please visit https://www.overlandclinic.com
Following graduation from Palmer College of Chiropractic, I knew that I had received a solid chiropractic education. But it didn’t totally prepare me for the real world and what was going to happen to me in both the near and distant futures. Let me share with you.
My first chiropractic position was deep in the Amish country of South-Eastern Pennsylvania. I was practicing in a country office just outside of Quarryville, PA. I can recall this particular event clearly, just like it happened last week.
A young Amish farmer was in my office with an elbow problem. When I examined his elbow, there was a small one inch or so egg sized lump right on the tip of his elbow. It was somewhat soft and squishy to the touch. I asked him how long he had this problem. I recall that he stated about six months, give or take.
In my mind I was wondering what he was doing in my office with this type of problem. After all, I’m a chiropractor, and chiropractors work on low back pain and neck pain … right.
My thinking wandered … this lump needs aspirated and the contents analyzed. But I don’t do that. I’m a chiropractor. I adjust the spine. So what should I do? Refer him out?
I got bold.
Knowing the neurology and how the parts of our bodies connect, I told this young Amish farmer that the nerves which go to that part of the body come directly off of the neck, and to be more precise … the lower neck. I further informed him that I was going to adjust his lower neck and watch his body perform.
The adjustment was delivered.
He scheduled to see me the following week.
When he returned the following week about the first thing out of his mouth was “Gee Doc, you’re pretty good! You know your stuff!”
I looked at the six month old lump.
It was gone!
I got excited!
Well … that was my real first taste of the inborn, innate abilities that our bodies have to heal ourselves. I’ll never forget it.
Throughout the years, I have been witness to a multitude of changes people have had with chiropractic care in my office. As I am writing, another striking event comes to mind. It occurred in the 1990’s.
A young lady was treating in my office for the usual things … neck pain and low back pain. She was been seen on an “as needed” basis to help manage symptoms. Nothing too much out of the ordinary.
An employment position opened up in my office. She applied, and following my interview process, I hired her. One of the benefits offered to our employees is unlimited chiropractic care. With that in mind, she decided to receive adjustments on a routine basis. So like clock-work, she got adjusted.
Over time the pain management symptoms faded. She continued with her care.
Then one day she came to me and said … “I have to quit working here.”
My response was something like … “What, you don’t like it here? You’re such a good employee and we all get along really great!”
She replied and said “No, no … nothing like that at all! Do you recall that my husband and I have tried to have a baby for years? Nothing worked so we just gave up. With all the chiropractic care I’ve had, it must have opened up the nerve pathways that went to my female organs. Chiropractic gave my body the opportunity to have a child!”
And in hind-sight, she was initially seen for low back symptoms. Nerves from the low back also travel to the female organs giving those organs the needed electrical nerve input for proper function. So it makes sense.
Years later, I bumped into her and her son, and she introduced him to me. What came out of her mouth was … “This is Dr. Cheple. He’s the one responsible for you being here!”
These are only two of several health “miracles” that I’ve seen in my office over the years. How did these things happen? What’s behind all of this? After all, isn’t chiropractic just a low back pain therapy?
To me, the principle of chiropractic is simple and easy to understand however the mechanisms behind it are not.
Easily put … your brain is the master “computer” of your body. It sends and receives messages over your nerves. These messages come from and go to literally every cell, organ, gland and tissue in your body. If the message is scrambled or altered in some way … that organ, gland or tissue will begin to fail.
As it begins to fail, we may get a variety of symptom expressions. It might be in the form of a pain or numbing or tingling. Or it might be that something just doesn’t work right … a loss of function.
My job comes down to finding where your system is failing. In chiropractic, we look to the misaligned spine as a probable culprit. Why? Because the nerves pass through the openings of the spine as they go to the different organs and tissues.
Science has shown that a misaligned spinal bone (vertebra) will exert undue pressure on the nerve. This abnormal pressure alters the expression of information down that nerve. The name of this phenomenon is called a “Subluxation”.
If I can sufficiently reduce your subluxation, then the probability of your body healing … goes up.
A note on the word “subluxation” …
Medical terminology has encompassed the condition of a subluxation as being something like a dislocation of the bone, but not as severe.
However, the term “subluxation” is a purely chiropractic term that was coined in 1895 by the founder of modern day chiropractic, D. D. Palmer. The word when broken down …
sub … below
lux … light, or in this case … Devine light
ation … a condition of.
Thus, the term “subluxation” is a condition where a person is functioning below that at which the Devine would have intended for us.
In other words, life between the brain and the body is malfunctioning.
So if you are subluxated, I can help you. If you are not subluxated, then there is nothing for me to work on, except finding you a referral to someone who can help you.
When you do begin Chiropractic, you’ll want to know that there are different levels of care that a person can embark on. The very best explanation of levels of care that I have seen has been described by Bill Esteb, a patient advocate in chiropractic. He has stated:
Relief Care: to address your most obvious presenting problems.
- “I want to feel better for the least amount of my time and money.”
Correction Care: to strengthen and retrain supporting soft tissues.
- “I want to stabilize and retrain the muscles and ligaments of my spine.”
Maintenance Care: to avoid a relapse of your original problem.
- “I want to preserve the progress that I’ve made.”
Prevention Care: to detect new problems before they become serious.
- “I want to avoid losing my health.”
Wellness Care: to maximize your health and overall well being.
- “I want to be all that I can be.”
Whatever level of chiropractic care you choose, I applaud your decision … even if it’s to do nothing at all at this time. Please know that my staff and I are always here to help. I do realize that we all have different goals with our health and that we all take care of ourselves in different manners. Some people brush their teeth, some don’t. Some eat healthy, some don’t. Some people exercise, some don’t. Chiropractic is no different than anything else out there in the real world. Some people take care of their spine, some don’t.