Garden Hose Analogy
One day you look out your window and notice that there is spot on the lawn that looks unhealthy. The grass is wilted and brown in a large area. It certainly did not get this way over night, but it was a gradual onset.
Perhaps you were not paying attention that closely as you are busy and very distracted with life. You take it upon yourself to look a little further into the situation.
Once you investigate more, you see that the sprinkler is not spraying water to hydrate the surrounding area. Once you check into the sprinkler even further, you see the sprinkler works just fine. Not to be defeated, you search with determination to find out why your lawn is not being watered and suffering.
As you follow the hose from the sprinkler up to the house, you discover that there is a kink in the hose impeding proper flow. After you remove the interference, the sprinkler begins dispersing water and allowing the lawn to rejuvenate and thrive. Does the grass instantly turn green? NO…there is a healing process.
Your symptom or condition may have presented abruptly or even overnight, but there had been an issue of dysfunction for quite some time. The body will try to adapt as best as possible and for as long as possible until it reaches a breaking point….Boom, there’s your symptom.
Daniel David Palmer practiced alternative medicine and was a magnetic healer in Iowa. One September day in 1895, he was working late in his office when he had an interaction with a janitor working nearby. DD had learned that the janitor, Harvey Lillard was hard of hearing and it had begun after hearing a pop in his back some 17 years prior.
There was a visible and palpable lump on Harvey’s back. DD Palmer had determined this was a misaligned vertebra in the spine. He then had Harvey lay face down and proceeded to administer what became the first intentional chiropractic adjustment using the spinous process and a lever. These spinal misalignments are referred to as subluxations.
DD Palmer is known as “The Discoverer” of chiropractic. He chose the term chiropractic because in Greek, it literally means “done by hand.” He established that there is a science, art, and philosophy to chiropractic. Harvey Lillard had described his experience in an issue of The Chiropractic:
DD Palmer’s son, BJ Palmer is known as “The Developer” of chiropractic. BJ was a marketeer, educator, and inventor. He not only incorporated The Palmer School of Chiropractic, but also claimed the upper cervical complex at the Atlas (C1) was the only segment that could truly be subluxated and that all others were compensatory.
He birthed the upper cervical technique called Hole-in-one, or HIO. It was BJ who said that healing begins from above down, inside out.
ADIO Chiropractic focuses on the upper cervical spine, but still corrects subluxations throughout the entire human frame.
I was deaf 17 years and I expected to always remain so, for I had doctored a great deal without any benefit. I had long ago made up my mind to not take any more ear treatments, for it did me no good. Last January Dr. Palmer told me that my deafness came from an injury in my spine. This was new to me; but it is a fact that my back was injured at the time I went deaf. Dr. Palmer treated me on the spine; in two treatments I could hear quite well. That was eight months ago. My hearing remains good.
- HARVEY LILLARD, 320 W. Eleventh St., Davenport, Iowa.
Are You Balanced?
When it comes to balance and symmetry, the upper cervical region can be the keystone. If your Atlas (C1) and Axis (C2) are misaligned, then your head may not be sitting on your neck straight. The bottom of your skull is round or convex, like a bowl.
The Axis is also shaped like a bowl, but upside down. The Atlas is concave on both top and bottom and rests between the two rounded surfaces. It is held in place only by soft tissues and is otherwise freely moveable. It is very common to have an upper cervical misalignment to some degree.
It is a lot like the foundation of any building or home. If the foundation is not level, the walls will not be straight. If the walls are not straight, the windows will not sit square.
Also, the roof may be pitched askew if the walls are not straight due to the unlevel foundation. So, you see there can be a multitude of issues that stem from an original foundational issue.
If the head is not sitting on the neck straight, the eyes will be viewing the horizon at an angle. The brain is not meant to process the horizon at an angle, so it will subconsciously raise a shoulder to level the head.
Now your center of gravity is off because you’re pitched to one side, so your body will raise a hip on the opposite side to compensate. These compensatory misalignments can travel all the way down the human frame presenting as aches or pains anywhere along the way.
Also, the neck has a lot of musculature that serves different functions. Most of the larger muscles you can feel and know about are the muscle movers and provide the range of motion and mobility in the head, neck, and shoulders. However, there is a set of muscles beneath that layer called the Sub-occipital muscles.
These muscles have more sensory fibers than muscle mover fibers and help detect where you are at in space and help with balance. If vertebrae in the neck, especially in the upper cervical region, the patient could be experiencing dizziness, vertigo, unbalanced gait.
“Once you see a chiropractor, you always have to see one.”
This person is right, but not for the reason they may be implying. Usually a patient begins treatment after an injury, or they are dealing with an issue or condition at the moment. Once a condition or symptom(s) has resolved, you are released to maintenance care.
It is my job as the doctor to educate you about what is going on in the body, why you are experiencing dysfunction, and how chiropractic can help. We correct small misalignments within your body frame and structure called subluxations.
Fixing these subluxations allows the body and all of its tissues and organs to function optimally. An upper cervical misalignment can be particularly important given the complexity of the area and how much can be affected.
The concept is you should be checked for subluxations every so often. We all get our vehicles checked once in a while. We get the oil changed, the fluids and filters replaced, tie up loose ends.
Your vehicle while you are here on this Earth is your body and it is vital that you pay attention to what you put into it and have it properly maintained.
Some people have a bad story about a chiropractor or they themselves may have had a bad or unpleasurable experience. These people tend to shut down or turn away from chiropractic care and never get themselves examined and adjusted again.
If you had a bad experience at an auto care center, you would just need to find another mechanic or garage that can do the job correctly. You cannot just ignore the problem and hope nothing ever breaks down or has dysfunction.
Some patients like to be checked monthly if they have a more active lifestyle, or their particular condition may require it. Others like to go 2-3 months and that suits them just fine.
Then there are those patients that call when they need to be seen and they must get themselves out of a hole. Unfortunately, these patients do not understand the value of maintenance care; however, it is good that they know chiropractic works and always call back.
What is a subluxation?
As of 2014, the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners states:
The specific focus of chiropractic practice is known as the chiropractic subluxation or joint dysfunction. A subluxation is a health concern that manifests in the skeletal joints, and, through complex anatomical and physiological relationships, affects the nervous system and may lead to reduced function, disability or illness.
The WHO definition of the chiropractic vertebral subluxation is:
A lesion or dysfunction in a joint or motion segment in which alignment, movement integrity and/or physiological function are altered, although contact between joint surfaces remains intact. It is essentially a functional entity, which may influence biomechanical and neural integrity.
When diagnosing a subluxation, the current ICD-10 code is called Segmental and Somatic dysfunction in a particular region. The term “segment” refers to a specific joint, or articulation, anywhere in the human skeleton.
“Somatic” is referring to the body, especially distinct from the mind. It can become a question of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Somatic dysfunction means the body is not working properly. Segmental dysfunction means the spine and joints are not moving properly.
Every single cell, tissue, and organ in your body is controlled by a nerve. If the signal to and from these tissues and cells is disrupted, there could be dysfunction in the body. The nerves travel next to and near bone for protection.
When bones are slightly misaligned, they can potentially be creating extra stress and tension within other soft tissues, like muscle, tendons, and ligaments. These misalignments, or subluxations, can also be putting pressure on surrounding nerves.
Just the amount of pressure equal to the weight of a dime on your fingertip can be enough to reduce nerve function by close to half.
It is a Doctor of Chiropractic’s job to find these spinal subluxations and correct them with spinal manipulation. The doctor can find these areas of dysfunction by instrumentation, examination, and palpation. Once located, the doctor can administer the adjustment or correction by a number of different techniques.
Straight chiropractors insist on delivering these adjustments with their hands manually without the use of any tools or instrumentation. Then there are mixers who have perhaps a more progressive approach and utilize instruments and tools designed to administer the correction usually faster, gentler, and with less force.
By realigning the upper cervical region and full spine and frame, interferences within the nervous system and circulatory system may be removed and allow the body to heal and function properly as it should…
From the Above Down Inside Out
What is that “cracking” or “popping” sound when you get adjusted?
When a patient is manually, or traditionally adjusted, they hear what is referred to as a cavitation. Another term more recently used is tribonucleation. It is a release or creation of gas that spontaneously expands when the volume of the joint expands and the pressure changes, such as when you “pop” your knuckles.
At ADIO Chiropractic, we utilize an instrument for most treatment that is extremely gentle, fast, and accurate making it safe to adjust patients of all ages and body types.
What causes a bone or vertebra to be misplaced?
Toxins, traumas, and thoughts can affect your health and your body. What you put into it can weaken tissues and ligaments. Physical trauma or injury, even as minor as sleeping in a bad position can cause a malposition of the bone called a subluxation. Also, stress can have an extreme effect on the body. Basically, daily living can cause subluxations that might go unnoticed for weeks, months, even years.
The body is extremely resilient and will try to adapt to its environment the best it can. This is why it is a good idea to have maintenance or get checked regularly. Sometimes there is dysfunction that has not manifested into a symptom that you feel or notice.
What can I do to help stay in alignment?
With a healthy, non-sedentary lifestyle, chiropractic care, and light activity you can reduce the frequency of subluxations, or misalignment of bone or vertebra. Eating a healthy diet and practicing stress-reducing activities can help keep yourself in proper alignment.
Also, one should be aware of ergonomics in the workplace and in general. Maintaining proper posture and form through lifting can greatly reduce risk of injury and subluxation.
I’m not feeling well and I don’t want to get anyone else sick…should I reschedule my appointment?
No! That is a prime time to be adjusted. Plenty of water and rest along with chiropractic care can boost the immune system and help your body recover from what it is ailing.
*Too often people run to the medicine cabinet for a headache or runny nose. Your body is trying to tell you something and you are telling it to “shut up” by covering up the symptom*
I have an appointment, but I feel fine…should I still get adjusted?
Yes! Just because you “feel” fine does not mean there is not dysfunction somewhere in the body. It is the doctor’s job to find this dysfunction and correct it so that the body can communicate with itself and operate at optimum capacity.
Maintenance is always a good idea. Many do not see the value in getting adjusted regularly and only come to the chiropractor when “need” one. Had the patient been properly aligned, there is a good chance their current issue may have been avoided, or at least reduced in severity.
Why do you always have to keep coming back once you start seeing a chiropractor?
Sometimes due to injury, natural abhorrence, or other complications one just has a problem site or issue that needs maintenance to improve quality of life.
Other times and quite often, subluxations are caused from another misalignment somewhere else along the kinetic chain. These are called compensatory subluxations and are an indirect result from a problem elsewhere that may have been overlooked or neglected.
What if you cause a problem, because I “feel” fine?
A lot of patients that begin care for wellness report feeling “taller, straighter, more balanced, better posture, improved sleep, and more energy. Sometimes a patient goes through a healing phase or shift that was compensatory. Upon the body straightening and learning its new normal, the patient may feel discomfort or pain and confuse it for a new problem or issue.
Every patient responds differently to all forms of treatment, techniques, medicine, etc. It is never a good idea to commence treatment with an expectation in mind or another patient’s testimonial in which to compare. Patient compliance also plays a large role in the patient’s healing.
Are Chiropractors real doctors?
All licensed Chiropractors are physicians of the body and have completed 4 years of post-graduate studies and earned a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from an accredited college recognized by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Each must pass a series of Board examinations to receive licensure.
Doctors of Chiropractic do not receive education in pharmacology but, get a tremendous amount of knowledge about nutrition. Chiropractors endure more hours of education pertaining to the human anatomy and physiology as well as radiology and diagnoses.
Will popping your knuckles give you arthritis?
Dr. Donald Unger did an experiment on himself where he only cracked the knuckles on his left hand at least twice per day for 50 years. At the end of the experiment, he examined his hands for arthritis including with x-ray images and found no difference between the right and left hand.
Several studies have been done that show no proof that cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis.
Is popping your own neck bad?
It’s not good. One is at the risk of doing damage or hurting themselves when they pop their own neck. Though it may still release endorphins and provide a bit of relief in the area, it is temporary and not actually fixing the problem.
Often times the “pop” is coming from the joint above or below the problem site and not actually correcting the issue. It is the doctor’s responsibly to find the subluxation and correct it with the proper knowledge and training they have received.