Kids and Chiropractic
How often have you heard people say, "One day I felt fine, and then the next day I was just..."? Probably enough that you do not even recognize the absolute absurdity of that statement. Except for severe traumas, such as car accidents, major falls, gunshot wounds, poisoning, etc., people do not suddenly become ill. Disease does not occur spontaneously. Small traumas, long-term abuse and negligence, though unnoticeable at first, take their toll on the body over a period of time. By the time the first symptoms appear, the body has already been malfunctioning for some period of time - often years.
This is the primary reason to have children under regular chiropractic care. Studies have shown that 80% of children receive their first subluxation during the birthing process. Many of them will go 20, 30, or 40 years or possibly the rest of their lives with that interference in their nerve system. Even those who are not subluxated upon birth will have a variety of stresses put upon their spines as they grow. How many times does a child fall while he or she is learning to walk? And after they learn to walk, don't they run, skip, stomp, jump, and hop? Don't they fall out of bed, fall out of trees, fall off their bikes, fight with their brothers and sisters, stand on their heads, play football, basketball, hockey, dance, gymnastics, and on and on and on?
Any one of these things is enough to cause a subluxation. Left uncorrected, these will also begin to take their toll on the body. Lowering the ability of the body to be well will make it less able to concentrate, less able to fight off disease, less able to coordinate and harmonize, less able to make the food that is eaten into usable form, and less able to clean the blood of toxins. It will make it less able to make the proper chemicals in the proper amount to control all the body's functions, and less able to be strong, flexible and healthy.
It is important to note that the mechanism that originally brought two cells together and created the miracle that is you is still at work in you as it is in every other living being. It continually creates new tissue and maintains you in existence. The very mechanism by which we are able to be well is the same mechanism at work in the child. It is no less effective in the child than it is in the adult. Therefore, if it is important for you to be adjusted to remove interference in your nerve system, isn't it equally important to have your children checked for the same interference?
Many people are concerned about the forcefulness of an adjustment for a growing child. That would be a legitimate concern if all people received the same adjustment. Thankfully, they do not. Each person is adjusted according to their age, their size, their health condition and their subluxations. Men may not be adjusted as women, the same as children, the same as older people, the same as tall, or short people, or a mother-to-be. No two adjustments on the same person are even necessarily the same, let alone on two different people. Children, on the whole, require far less force than adults, mostly because time and the results of abuse and negligence have not yet taken their toll. Who better than children to be under regular chiropractic care? Who could profit more than those who have not yet developed problems?
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Do you really want to be healthy?
There is an old saying, "Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die to get there." A similar statement could be made concerning health. In almost any survey taken asking people what they wanted most out of life, good health is one of the top three things on the list. The only two things that ever top it are happiness and good family relationships. Yet how many of us allow other less important things to keep us from attaining maximum health? Like happiness, health does not come by luck. It is true that hereditary factors are important to good health but most people can be healthy in spite of hereditary weakness. Conversely, hereditary strengths will not overcome a failure to take care of yourself.
Most people who come into a chiropractic office indicate a desire to be healthy. Unfortunately, they often do not realize that it will take some effort on their part. The average person's experience with medicine has led them to believe that they will be made healthy by what the doctor does to them or what he gives them. They can just sit back, do nothing or at most, remember to take their medication every four hours. While this approach may be relatively effective in the treatment of disease, it has virtually nothing to do with health. For the most part, disease treatment is a passive activity. Health maintenance or health restoration is largely an active endeavor. Therein lies the problem. Sitting back and doing nothing will not promote or maintain health. Hoping or wishing for it will not make it happen. It must be actively pursued. A choice must be made. Good, nutritious, health-promoting food is available, but then so is junk food. You must make the decision as to what kind you are going to eat and then make extra effort to get it. Exercise is not a passive activity. You cannot get it by just watching P90X videos.
Chiropractic is not a passive activity either. While it is true the practice member lies on the table and relaxes, it is the body that makes the adjustment. The chiropractor introduces a force to the spine and the body's muscles actively move the bone to exactly where it belongs. Further, the benefits of chiropractic care occur after the adjustment, like exercise and eating, they are far reaching and unlike treatments, they are not designed for short-term, immediate effects. It is true you may feel good after eating a good meal or after a good workout. You may also feel good right after a chiropractic adjustment, but the real benefits are the long-term ones. When the body is working better it can actively promote health and well being and add years to life.
There is another aspect that makes chiropractic care an active approach. The practice member must make the commitment to care. The chiropractor cannot give you a bottle of adjustments and say, "Take one every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the next six weeks." The practice member must make the willful decision to come in, be regular and follow the program. The chiropractor cannot follow you around or take you by the hand.
Do you really want to be healthy? Sadly, too many people do not want to pay the price which is time, money and effort. Happiness does not come by accident. Fame and fortune are not a matter of luck. Similarly, you cannot expect to have good health unless you do those things necessary to attain it. Every individual has to establish his or her priorities. Is watching television more important than exercising for your health? Is saving money by eating poor quality food more important to you than spending the few dollars for good food? Is doing whatever you do that interferes with regular chiropractic adjustments more important than your health? Only you can answer these questions and how you decide on these and other relative questions could very well determine your health, your happiness and your life. Do you really want to be healthy?
Too often we just do not take advantage of good things that are available to us. We may stay at a hotel and never use the pool or exercise room because we do not have time. We may never use the cruise control on our car because we only ever drive around town. We may feel like we have wasted money staying at a hotel with those features or buying a car with extras that we may never use. But the real tragedy is not taking advantage of something because we just don't know about its advantages. Imagine having a television set that you could turn on and off but having no idea it also had a channel selector. You would never get the maximum enjoyment out of a television with an 181-channel hookup if you did not realize you could get anything more than C-Span! I usually cannot handle more than 10 minutes of C-Span so that would be a real tragedy.
Not utilizing its full potential is exactly what some chiropractic patients do. They go to a chiropractor for a back problem and never realize that chiropractic is so much more than a mere treatment for a musculoskeletal problem. When a vertebra becomes subluxated, probably the least important thing that happens is that back pain may result. It may be important to the person with pain, just as C-Span is important to someone who enjoys that type of programming, but there is a whole lot more to television than that one channel. Likewise there is a lot more to chiropractic than problems with the back. Chiropractic addresses the vertebral subluxation which interferes with the vital messages that travel over the nerve system between the brain and every organ, tissue and cell in the body. This interference seriously impairs the body's ability to carry on all its normal and natural functions. The body's chemistry is upset, organ function is affected, resistance is lowered and all coordinated activity is decreased. The digestive system does not work 100%. You cannot think clearly and you can not get all the benefit from your rest and exercise that you should. Even the food you eat will not be utilized properly by the body if there is nerve interference. When a vertebral subluxation occurs, the body begins to function in an abnormal manner. The individual in this state may be totally unaware of what is happening in his or her body. Unless someone tells them about the benefits of regular chiropractic care, they may never know until it's too late to regain their health. If all you could ever watch on television was C-Span, you could just find other forms of entertainment, like reading a good book. Unfortunately, there are no alternatives to correcting vertebral subluxations and keeping the life channels open so your body's nerve system works at its maximum. Consequently, it makes sense to have your spine checked on a regular basis and to have vertebral subluxations adjusted whenever and wherever they are found.
At least 80% of the American public will at some point suffer from back pain. Anywhere between $16 and $50 billion is wasted on medical expenses and lost work time annually due to back pain.
While it is true that thousands of people go to chiropractors across the country everyday for back pain, many of whom find relatively quick, affordable relief, IT IS NOT TRUE THE CHIROPRACTIC IS AN EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR BACK PAIN.
The fact is, some of those people would have experienced relief whether they received chiropractic care or not. For some, massage, acupuncture, hot/cold therapy or exercise might have been equally effective. Others would probably have felt better in time with no treatment at all. Unfortunately, what seems to work today may not work tomorrow. For many years the medical community suggested two weeks in bed for back pain. Today it is commonly understood that more than two days of bed rest can often make back pain worse. We realize not that as the muscles that support the spine are not used, they become weaker and less able to do their job. The variety in what constitutes effective treatment can partially be explained by the fact that the causes of back pain are as varied as the sufferers themselves.
Eighty percent of all low-back pain originates in the muscles, ligaments or discs. Some pain is caused by sheer overuse of muscles, whether it be by repeated use or by asking a muscle to do more than it is capable of in a single situation. Some back pain is caused by joint conditions - inflammation, arthritis or degeneration. Another leading cause of back pain is the herniated disc. However, interesting enough, 20-30% of people with herniated discs and back pain actually have discomfort for a reason other than the disc condition. This is noteworthy inasmuch as many of these people go on to have surgery for the disc which is not the cause of their pain. Still, other pain is caused by unrelated disease in the back area such as kidney or digestive problems or even cancer.
So with the variety of causes of back pain, you may be wondering how any one thing can be effective. For example, how aspirin works to relieve pain is yet unknown. If we don't know that, how can we know that there is not a less toxic or even cheaper means by which we can do the same thing? Or for that matter, how can we know that this unknown mechanism is not harmful to the body in some significant way?
While chiropractic is not a treatment for bad backs, it is good for the overall health of the body. Whenever you do anything that is good for your overall health, your whole body benefits. When you get a good night's sleep, you are more energetic, more coordinated and more clear minded. Exercise, diet and rest obviously play a significant role in lessening back pain, not because they are effective treatments, but because they are good for the body. They promote health. Likewise, while back pain may improve under chiropractic care, it is not because chiropractic is good for bad backs. Chiropractic is good for your whole body. So have your spine checked regularly whether or not you have back pain or not. You'll love the results!
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What is Health Maintenance?
There are various types of health care available to individuals. All health care fits into one of these categories. Each one has a place and value in the health care delivery system as we know it today.
The most common and most widely practiced type of care is crisis therapy. There is a wide range of procedures that fits into this system. Taking an aspirin for a headache, putting hot or cold packs on a pulled muscle or even emergency surgery or a heart transplant would fall into this category. The procedures may vary and the severity of the condition may vary greatly, but the objective is the same: to relieve the symptoms or the life-threatening effects of an illness or injury. This type of approach makes up the majority of the practice of orthodox medicine.
The second type is early detection. This has come into popularity within the medical profession relatively recently. With the advent of HMOs and other similar programs, those in the field of medicine are finding that early detection of a disease saves more lives, enables the doctor to treat the patient with more conservative procedures and is less expensive to the insurance company. Unfortunately, this early detection approach is often mistakenly referred to as a "wellness program" or a "health maintenance program." It is not. It remains a disease treatment program. Early detection under most circumstances is naturally far superior to crisis therapy. If heart disease can be detected and treated conservatively before the need for a coronary bypass or a heart transplant exists, the patient is obviously much better off. Early detection is important, and it may prevent early death or needless suffering, but it is not disease prevention.
Disease prevention, then, is the third type, and obviously a superior one. Early detection by definition means that the disease is present. Realize, however, that thousands of people die each year having recently had thorough medical examinations that gave no indication of any illness, let alone a life threatening one. The practice of medicine has concentrated its efforts primarily on the first two types of health care and other than vaccination, has done very little in the area of disease prevention. More recently, researchers in the area of nutrition have theorized the relationship between certain diets and the prevention of certain diseases. Needless to say there is much controversy and much disagreement in these areas. There appear to be so many variables and so many other factors that effect an individual that drawing substantive conclusions is extremely difficult. For example, people who cut cholesterol out of their diet may still experience heart problems. Conversely, those who take in high levels of cholesterol may never experience heart problems. The controversy extends to smoking. There are people who never smoke and yet die of lung cancer. There are others who chain smoke all of their adult lives with no evidence of cancer. It appears the best that can be said about this third approach, that of disease prevention, is that it can lessen the tendency toward a certain disease. But it falls short of the fourth approach.
Health maintenance is by far the best approach but unfortunately the least practiced and least understood. Disease prevention and health maintenance may appear to be the same thing but they are very different. The primary difference is in the attitude of the individual. Disease prevention involves doing specific things to prevent specific diseases, whereas health maintenance involves one's overall attitude toward life and health in general. A person worried about preventing heart disease will cut out cholesterol. However, a woman concerned about maintaining her health will eat good food in the proper quantity, will exercise for her body regularly, will maintain her body with a good nerve supply by seeing her chiropractor regularly, and doing all the other things necessary for good health, like getting proper rest, avoiding excess stress, etc. Disease prevention is usually a result of worry over the disease ("there's a history of heart disease in my family"). Health maintenance is a positive approach toward health and life in general. People involved in a program of health maintenance do not expend their energy worrying about disease. If they like eggs they eat eggs recognizing that by keeping their body healthy the cholesterol in eggs is not going to cause a heart attack. These are the people who truly enjoy life and get the maximum out of it.
As we stated earlier, each approach has its place. Each one is needed under the present level of health that exists. But ideally, health maintenance, if practiced by the majority of people, would lead to less need for the other three approaches.
Back pain Linked to stress
Did you know that stress is a leading cause of illness? Stress can cause anxiety, depression and even sleep difficulties. It can also trigger physical pain, especially in the back. Our emotions can cause muscle tension, affecting the function of our spine. Back pain often results from this mind-body connection.
If neglected, back pain can become chronic. Which in turn limits our ability to engage in physical activities. The resulting social isolation can produce depression, adding still more stress, becoming a vicious cycle.
What's the best way to reduce emotional, physical and chemical stress? For starters, be grateful. Look for the silver lining in difficult circumstances. Journal your thoughts. Talk to a trusted friend. Exercise and take time to relax. Breathe deeply, improve your diet and of course, get adjusted. Chiropractic care can help reduce nerve system tension, improving your ability to tolerate stress.
If you're looking for a chiropractor in Santa Barbara or the surrounding areas schedule a consultation with Dr Kori - Chiropractic. His calming disposition will set you at ease. He is a human potential specialist and trusted by many to guide them to health and their best LIFE.
Dr. Kori Mortenson, DC is a chiropractor in Santa Barbara, CA. In his spare time he enjoys tango dancing, running, biking, hiking, kayaking... just being active.