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Common Questions and Myths about the Chiropractor 

Common Questions and Myths about the Chiropractor 

“Once you go to a chiropractor you always have to go for the rest of your life.”Or …“I hear people get addicted to it.”

People do get addicted to feeling better than they have in a long, long time. Will you be going to a dentist, or your medical doctor or optometrist the rest of your life? How long should you exercise or eat right? These are just healthy lifestyle choices. Many people recognize the value of having a nervous system free of interference and choose regular adjustments to keep it that way.

“Why do I need to come in so often?”

We are doing something physical to change your body physically. Two things are required for that: enough frequency over a long enough time, just like getting in shape to run a marathon. It doesn’t matter how out of shape you are. If you work out frequently enough over a long enough period of time you can get into shape to run a marathon.

“Chiropractors aren’t real doctors.”

Our schooling is the same as medical schools. The difference is our philosophy. M.D.’s have two ways to treat: drugs and surgery. Their philosophy is that healing comes from the outside. This pill will make you better, or I’ll remove this body part to make you better. Our philosophy is that healing comes from the inside and our bodies are self healing as long as there is no interference and we give it the right ingredients for health (nutrition and exercise). We remove the interference to the the nervous system.

“Is it going to hurt?”

There are many techniques in chiropractic. One technique in which I specialize uses an adjusting instrument that gently taps to get the bone off of the nerve. Sometimes people go through retracing, which can be uncomfortable but is a wonderful sign because it is the body getting rid of old traumas from the past, allowing for a more complete healing.

“Chiropractic is too expensive.”

Compared to what? Braces for the teeth – $4,000-$6,000, M.R.I. for the full spine, – $1,800-$2,400, Lasik Eye Surgery – $3,500-$5,000, Breast Augmentation – $4,000-$10,000, Dental Implants – $1,250-$3000 per tooth, Year supply of Claritin – $1,200, Year supply of Cholesterol lowering drugs – $1,500 (without doctor visits), 6-12 month Chiropractic care plan – $1,800-$3,600 (plus the savings of getting off of medications), What is the value of having your brain communicate properly with the rest of your body?

“Chiropractic is dangerous”

Studies show that there is very little risk with the chiropractic adjustment and virtually none with the adjustment instrument. Statistically, it is more of a risk to take 2 Advil a day for 2 weeks than to get adjusted. A look at malpractice insurance premium costs says it all; M.D. costs $22,000 – $175,000 per year while Chiropractic malpractice insurance premium costs are $1,500 – $3,000 for the same liability limits.

“Infants and Children should never be adjusted.”

Do they have a spine and a nervous system? One of the biggest traumas we ever go through is being born. Have you ever seen a child learn to walk? They will fall 30 times a day. Children respond to chiropractic care so much faster than adults. They haven’t had the years and years of physical, emotional, chemical stress and traumas that we have accumulated as adults.

If I can crack my own back, why do I need a chiropractor?

There is a big difference between cracking your own back and having a specific spinal adjustment. When someone feels the need to crack their own spine it is a sign that things aren’t working right. When you crack your back, if you don’t mess it up, it will generally feel better but main subluxations (misalignments) can’t be gotten yourself. So a few hours later you feel the need to do it again. All this self cracking creates looseness in the joints that can lead to degeneration. The main subluxations will still be there, creating havoc with your nervous system.

What is a subluxation?

In simplest terms, a subluxation is when one or more of the bones of your spine (Vertebrae) move out of normal position and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves. This pressure or irritation on the nerves then causes a change in the signals (or nerve energy) traveling over those nerves. Therefore, the area where the signal ends up will not function the way the brain intends.

So how does Chiropractic help with other health issues besides back pain (i.e. asthma,allergies, ulcers, bowel movements)?.

Well, if a nerve is pinched and it’s responsible for your stomach working, your stomach will decrease its function by as much as 60%. So if your stomach doesn’t digest your food as it should, it could lead to ulcers or acid reflux.

Can I tell if I have a subluxation without consulting a Chiropractor?

Not always. A subluxation is like a dental cavity-you may have it for a long time before symptoms appear. That’s why periodic spinal check-ups are so important. Although it may be possible to know you have a subluxation, it is rarely possible to be sure you don’t. An occasional spinal check-up is always a good idea.

Glucose Metabolic Changes in the Brain and Muscles of Patients with Nonspecific Neck Pain Treated by Spinal Manipulation Therapy

Glucose Metabolic Changes in the Brain and Muscles of Patients with Nonspecific Neck Pain Treated by Spinal Manipulation Therapy:

A [18F] FDG PET Study {a radioactive glucose PET scan study}. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2017

 The study has four important findings:

  • The brain is affected by chiropractic adjusting
  • Chiropractic adjusting inhibits pain
  • Chiropractic adjusting inhibits muscle tone, improving ranges of motion
  • Chiropractic adjusting inhibits sympathetic tone, a key influence on immunity and other factors in systemic wellness

 

PET (positron emission tomography) scan is a powerful neuroimaging technique to investigate neuronal activity in the human brain and muscles.

18F-labeled fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is a radioactive analogue of glucose, and is an excellent imaging marker of brain glucose consumption (brain metabolic activity).

 

A PET scan can visualize brain metabolic changes induced by spinal manipulative therapy (SMT). The aim of this study was to investigate changes in brain and muscle glucose metabolism using positron emission tomography with fluorodeoxyglucose.

 

Twenty-one male volunteers were recruited for the present study. Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) was applied using an Activator in accordance with the Activator Methods protocols. The Activator applied impulses to specific vertebrae or joints. “SMT was performed on the subject in a prone position without movements such as cervical rotation, lateral flexion, and extension, in order to prevent the muscular FDG uptake due to muscle contractions during the therapeutic procedure. SMT was carried out on the whole spine, the scapulae, the ilium, and the sacrum, as necessary for each subject. The mean number of SMT adjusted sites was 8 per subject.”

 

Glucose metabolism of the brain and skeletal muscles was measured. Also measured was salivary amylase levels as an index of autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity, muscle tension, and subjective pain intensity. “Other measurements indicated relaxation of cervical muscle tension, decrease in salivary amylase level (suppression of sympathetic nerve activity), and pain relief after SMT.” “SMT on all subjects was performed by the same Chiropractor, who was an advanced practitioner of Activator Methods.”

KEY POINTS FROM THIS STUDY

 1) Spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) has “been applied mainly to musculoskeletal problems such as neck pain or low back pain.”

2) Previous studies have shown that “SMT has beneficial clinical effects, including pain relief and reduction of blood pressure.”

3) “The intensity of subjective pain was evaluated using a 0–10 visual analog scale (VAS) before and after SMT in the treatment condition.”

4) “Cervical muscle tension was measured bilaterally at the superior part of the trapezius muscle using a tissue hardness meter.”

5) “Salivary amylase levels were measured for each subject using an amylase monitor to evaluate changes in autonomic nervous system (ANS) function.”

6) “Salivary 𝛼-amylase levels correspond to plasma norepinephrine levels and are utilized as an accessible measure of sympathetic nervous reactivity in stress research, with lower levels indicating lower activity.”

7) “We observed multiple changes in brain activity after SMT.”

8) “The findings of the present study demonstrate how stimuli to the mechanoreceptors of the joints and skin during SMT are processed in the brain.”

9) “Brain processing after SMT may lead to physiological relaxation via a decrease in sympathetic nerve activity.” [Key Point]

10) “Comparisons of VAS pain scores in the treatment condition revealed a significant decrease after SMT.”

11) “Cervical muscle tension was significantly reduced bilaterally after SMT.” “Our results suggest that stimulation of joints during SMT induced relaxation of reflexive muscle tension.”

12) “Salivary amylase level decreased significantly after SMT.”

Changes Following Spinal Manipulation

-Visual Analogue Pain, VAS, Significantly Reduced By About 65%

-Muscle Tension Significantly Reduced

-Salivary Amylase (as an indicator of norepinephrine sympathetic tone)Significantly Reduced

-Cingulate Cortex (part of the limbic system)emotions, learning, memory

-Increased Cerebellar Vermis (spinal proprioception)posture/movement, emotions Increased

-Somatosensory Cortex (pain perception/localization)Reduced

-Prefrontal Cortex (executive function) personality, planning, decision making, moderating social behavior Reduced

13) The Cerebellar Vermis:

  • “The Cerebellar Vermis receives somatic sensory information from the spinal cord and via the vestibulospinal tract or reticular nuclei of the brainstem through the spinal cord, connecting indirectly or directly with motor cells on the ventral horn. These systems control involuntary muscular tension and reflexes.”
  • The cerebellum has many roles in non-motor functions.
  • “The cerebellum is also thought to have a functional role as an integrator of multiple effector systems, including affective processing, pain modulation, and sensorimotor processing.”
  • The Cerebellar Vermis is activated during mental recall of emotional personal episodes in humans. 14) “Our assessment of body responses in this study showed relaxation of muscle tension and decreased salivary amylase levels—phenomena that are associated with reduced sympathetic nerve activity.”[Key Point]

14) SMT stimuli to the joints may result in “decreased sympathetic nerve activity.” [Key Point]

15) These authors believe that the relaxation of muscle tone documented in this study occur as a consequence of two mechanisms:

  • Inhibition of sympathetic autonomic nervous activity
  • Improvement of the range of joint movement

16) “We observed that SMT stimulus induced physical responses such as muscle tension relaxation, pain relief, and reduced amylase secretion.”

17) “Neural inputs evoked by SMT stimuli via various receptors in muscles, tendons, and joints may ascend to the somatosensory areas of the brain through the medial lemniscal system. “

18) “In summary, we observed metabolic changes in the brain and skeletal muscles, as well as reductions in subjective pain, muscle tension, and salivary amylase, after SMT intervention. These results may be associated with reduced sympathetic nerve activity,” suggesting that SMT induces sympathetic inhibition (“relaxation”).

20) “The brain response to SMT may reflect the psychophysiological relaxation that accompanies reduced sympathetic nerve activity.”

COMMENTS

This study used the most sophisticated technology to date to assess the affects of chiropractic spinal adjusting:

  • Changes in radioactive glucose metabolism as measured with a PET scan in both the brain and in muscles
  • Changes in muscle tone
  • Improvement in pain using a VAS
  • Changes in sympathetic nervous system production and release of norepinephrine (sympathetic tone)

 

Akie Inami, Takeshi Ogura, Shoichi Watanuki, Mehedi Masud, Katsuhiko Shibuya,Masayasu Miyake, Rin Matsuda, Kotaro Hiraoka, Masatoshi Itoh, Arlan W. Fuhr,Kazuhiko Yanai, Manabu Tashiro:Takeshi Ogura is a chiropractor.Arlan Fuhr is a chiropractor and owner of Activator Methods International, Ltd.

This study was done at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan, along with the Division of Cyclotron Nuclear Medicine at Tohoku University. This article has 47 references.