Chiropractic and Your Health
Chiropractic and Your Health in Bradenton, FL
When most people think of chiropractic, it conjures up thoughts of back and neck problems. Chiropractic is very successful with neck and back pain, arm and leg pain, headaches, herniated discs, etc., however there is much more to chiropractic then "meets the back". The benefits are directly related to your health through its effects on the nervous system.
According to Dorland's Medical Dictionary (it is to the medical world what Webster's is to the general public), health is defined as "a state of optimal physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". In other words, just because one is not sick, does not indicate that he is healthy! For example, a 40 year old man wakes up in the morning feeling perfectly fine. He does not have any symptoms, no fever, no malaise; He is in excellent shape. He walks to the bus stop when he sees the bus and begins to run. Suddenly he suffers a heart attack and dies. How did this happen? How did a man, who appeared to be in good health drop dead of a heart attack? The answer is he was not healthy. He just thought he was because he was not sick ("absence of infirmity").
There are five basic components of health:
- Good Nutrition
- Regular Productive Exercise
- Positive Mental Attitude
- Adequate Rest
- Properly Functioning Nervous System
It is the last component that is directly related to chiropractic. Let's discuss the first four components and then we will return to number 5.
The old expression "you are what you eat" certainly applies, as well as "garbage in, garbage out". In this day and age, the word "organic" is very popular when applied to meats, poultry, vegetables and fruit. Chiropractors have been educating the public about the avoidance of toxic chemicals for over a century and now the public is finally getting the message. Chemicals are in the food we eat, mostly in the form of preservatives. They are also in the air we breathe, the sofas and chairs we sit on, the carpeting we walk on, the clothes we dry clean and the household cleaners we use, just to name a few. Of course, the obvious are the medicinal drugs that are taken for relief of the mildest cold symptoms and headaches to the controversial antibiotics prescribed for throat and ear infections, and more serious illnesses. Medications have positive effects as well as negative effects that can cause serious harm to the users. The public must weigh the advantages vs. disadvantages when taking medication. Chiropractors have been against the misuse and abuse of medications and have warned the public about their over-usage causing the evolution of supergerms, which are germs that have become resistant to the abundance of antibiotics. I mention this in the Nutrition category because antibiotics and growth hormone are given to animals to fatten them up, making them more profitable. However as we consume dairy and meat products, we are also consuming these chemicals, which result in other health issues. For more information about this area, there are many websites you can visit with more detailed information such as http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/. Fruit and vegetables are loaded with pesticides, which have been found to be detrimental to our health. The latest theory is that some of these chemicals, when mixed with others, provide an even higher health risk. A good healthy eating regimen would consist of the most natural foods. Avoid canned food and fast foods. Limit your intake of dairy products. Avoid cold cuts and definitely stay away from fried foods, which are high in saturated fats and trans fatty acids. Limit your red meats.
Now for the Do's: Fruit and Vegetables should become not only staples in your life, but the majority of your food intake. The greens are very healthy because of their alkalinity. Read The pH Miracle by Robert O. Young, PhD. and Shelley Redford Young. They discuss the balance of acids and bases in your foods and how this affects your health. You want to stick to the dark green and yellow vegetables which are alkaline foods. If you want to eat bread, limit it to dark breads such as whole wheat and multigrains, staying away from flour, which is refined carbohydrate. Make fish and chicken an important part of your diet. Remember we "eat to live" and not "live to eat". Would you buy a Porsche and then add low grade gas and oil? Of course not. So why would you respect your car more then your body?
Regular Productive Exercise
What does this mean? I have been running every day since 1971 and couldn't tell you the millions of people I have passed who are just wasting their time. You know those people. They go out for a walk "to get some daily exercise", but walk so slow that they are not deriving any benefit whatsoever. I compare it to sitting at your desk and "exercising your biceps" by flexing and extending your elbow while holding a pencil in your hand. Then you wonder why after a year, your biceps has not gotten any stronger. You have to place a little stress on the body to be effective. Now I am not telling you to start running 10 miles or to bicycle 20 miles or swim 10 laps after not having exercised for 10 years. After receiving authorization from your doctor, you should slowly start an exercise program that includes aerobic exercise as well as some light weight training. This is to build up your heart muscle, your lung capacity and your muscles, which hold your skeleton and organs together. The list of benefits from exercise is endless and we are probably not aware of them all. Childhood obesity is all too common due to poor nutrition and a lack of exercise. This results in juvenile diabetes and early heart and lung disease. I have heard all of the excuses. "I don't have the time", "I don't like to exercise", "my body can't handle it", "I am too tired". I wake up at 5:15 AM to go running every single day and I work out with weights three days per week. Why? Because I want to live a long, healthy, and high quality life. As the sneaker company says, "Just Do It".
Positive Mental Attitude
You are what you eat as I mentioned above and you are what you think about. If you see yourself as a fat individual, your subconscious will make sure you reach that goal. If you think you are stupid, you will find a way to constantly prove that you are. If you think poorly of yourself, your mind will convince you that you are inadequate. The same is applied to your health. If you see yourself as a healthy person and your health becomes a prime goal in your life, you will find and do the things necessary to become healthy. Instead of the old associations of food and pleasure, you will create new associations in order to be and stay healthy. Before putting that hotdog into your mouth, you will first consider the effect it will have on your health. You will visualize the fat clogging your arteries and have second thoughts about consuming that hotdog. It is absolutely amazing how this works. If you can believe, you can achieve. Wayne Dyer, philosopher and writer, has said many times, "there is no way to happiness, happiness is the way". This can be applied to health. Health must first be the thought and the priority in order to become "the way". Health is a way of life! Once you can adopt this attitude, the other factors of health become an easy part of your life.
When you are resting, the body takes this opportunity to repair and rejuvenate itself. Metabolic processes that constantly go on throughout the day are at a minimum. Cells that are damaged are repaired and replication of other cells are taking place. Energies that are used throughout the day to contract muscles permitting you to move and to stabilize other muscles and bones while you move, are now used for the repair processes to take place. This is why when you are sick, you sleep a good part of the day and often feel better upon awakening. What happens when you go through a period of time without much sleep? Besides feeling tired, you often get sick. The immune system just cannot handle its normal day to day responsibilities of fighting off germs and infection without appropriate rest and repair. Unfortunately, most people do not plan adequate amounts of rest and sleep as part of their daily routine. They go to work, deal with family issues, take care of the children, squeeze in a quick dinner, take care of some work responsibilities at home and after they can't keep their eyes open, go to sleep for a few hours. You must plan your rest into your schedule. First, determine how much sleep you actually require. The eight hour average is just that, average. Who is average? Everyone is different. Some need only 4 hours and function very well. Others need 10 hours. Determine what is right for you and make it a priority.
Properly Functioning Nervous System
What is the nervous system? It is the electrical system of your body. it consists of the brain, an extension of the brain called the spinal cord and wires called spinal nerves, which branch many times and supply just about every cell in the body. The brain communicates with the body through the nervous system. It tells the heart to speed up when you exercise and slow down when you sleep. It signals the digestive organs (pancreas, gall bladder, stomach and intestines) to secret enzymes in order to digest the food we eat. The brain tells the immune system to battle bacteria, viruses and other types of micro-organisms. As a matter of fact, it constantly stimulates and inhibits bodily functions depending on the circumstances at any moment of the day. You obviously require a healthy nervous system in order for your body to function properly. When the body works correctly, it is healthy. The nervous system is plays a great role in your health, yet it is overlooked. The spinal cord and the beginning of the spinal nerves are protected by the spine, which is a long column of 33 bones. These vertebrae can move out of place and become locked or fixed in their misaligned positions and affect the nerves and the nervous system, limiting their function. These misalignments are called subluxations. Subluxations can cause symptoms. Neck pain that radiates into the arms and low back pain that radiates into the legs are common. This can be complicated by herniated, degenerated and bulging discs, which are discussed in this website. However, many other health issues can result as well. This is why chiropractic is such an important part of the healthy lifestyle. By eliminating nervous system interference, we allow the body to work efficiently and effectively, thereby improving one's health. Chiropractors perform "adjustments" to realign the spine and correct vertebral subluxations thereby improving bodily function and your health.
Is Chiropractic Safe?
You bet it is. Studies are proving the effectiveness of chiropractic care with many different conditions. It is very common to pick up a newspaper and read about a celebrity or an athlete undergoing chiropractic care for an injury or simply as a part of their health routine in order to prevent problems from developing. Jack LaLanne just before he died revealed that he went to chiropractic school many years ago. His children were adjusted at birth to help minimize future problems. Former President Ronald Regan was a chiropractic advocate and one of his first jobs was as a DJ on a radio station in Iowa owned by B.J. Palmer, DC, who was the son of the founder of chiropractic, D. D. Palmer, DC. Other celebrities such as Andy Griffith, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dixie Carter, Mel Gibson, Joe Montana, Jose Canseco, Emmit Smith, Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Evander Holyfield, Wade Boggs, and Bo Jackson, just to name a few have used chiropractic as part of their routine. More recently, Johnny Damon of the Yankees flew home to Tampa on an off day to see his chiropractor for abdominal pain he was experiencing. These people can afford to go to any specialist in the world and utilize chiropractic care because they know they are healthier for it. William Shatner of Star Trek and Boston Legal fame once said to a group of chiropractors in 2003, "you were the visionaries who were among the first to practice the science of natural healing. You are the ones who help the body to heal itself. You saw it long before it was accepted by traditional medicine and the public". I tell my patients that chiropractic was way ahead of its time.
Malpractice insurance premiums is a good barometer of the safety of healthcare professions. Chiropractic malpractice insurance is 1/10 the cost of the average physician's malpractice. So is Chiropractic safe? Without a doubt!
In summary, Chiropractic permits the human body to work better, more efficiently and proficiently resulting in better health. I personally take a holistic approach to health and teach my patients to live a healthier lifestyle by motivating them to make their health a priority and to improve their eating habits, to exercise daily and to reduce the chemicals and toxins in their lives. Things that chiropractors have been telling their patients for years are now coming to fruition, be it the dangers of drugs, the overuse of antibiotics, the toxic chemicals in our environment; Every week we hear about another study that proves this these to be true. No surprise to us! We need to take a holistic and natural approach to health. You can control your health destiny. It is your choice. You can truly take care of it and lead a healthy life or you can lead a sickly one.
This is why I have a poster in my office that says, "Chiropractic is a Family Affair". Why wait for problems to develop when you can take care of them before they manifest themselves? Prevention is always easier then treatment of disease....and safer too! I have two children and they were both checked and adjusted minutes after they were born! Childbirth is very stressful to that little spine and can create subluxations or misalignments which cause problems due the their effects on the nervous system. It is also important to them to develop good health habits at a very young age, be it nutrition, exercises and chiropractic.
Posted In: Chiropractic