Printer Friendly

Understanding chiropractic natural alternative care.

"The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."--Thomas A. Edison

Throughout my nearly four decade-old chiropractic practice, I have observed countless instances where patients have suffered musculoskeletal pain, yet had no idea of the benefits of chiropractic natural alternative care. I also believe that there are patients out there with special healthcare needs that perhaps suffer needlessly, yet, could and should have chiropractic care as an adjunctive part of their daily treatment plan. The question becomes, "Why does the public not know about the benefits of chiropractic care?" Perhaps it is just a matter of education regarding this form of treatment that has withstood the test of time, despite the prejudice and expense to compete in this highly competitive healthcare industry. Fortunately, the onset of alternative natural treatment has seen the introduction of chiropractic, nutritional therapy, acupuncture, massage, and a plethora of other natural remedies being introduced to our finest medical institutions across the country and the world.

To "practice by hand" has been, from the onset, the foundation of what chiropractic is about. We use our hands to stimulate the body's immune system to heal itself. To this, one will then ask, "But how do you do that with a hands-on approach and no medication from the outside?" We know that every organ tissue and cell of the human body have incredible jobs to do so that the body can work in a coordinated, harmonious balance that I like to call resistance. For example, the islets of Langerhans, where the cells of the pancreas are produced, are far different from the acinar cells that make up the stomach. The pancreas is responsible for producing insulin that is then allowed to attach itself to the glucose molecules, and then pass through the cell membrane and supply the cell with the energy to do its particular job. Without that insulin, there can be no glucose reaching the cells, causing high blood sugar levels and, eventually, diabetic coma. Therefore, without this insulin molecule, the body cannot get the energy to function. In much the same way, when we put food into our stomach, there is a message that is sent to the cells of the stomach. The acinar cells then do their job to release acid and continue to digest this food into, for example, new cells for the eyeballs that allow the body to see. This is a demonstration of the "innate intelligence" of the human body. This is, in fact, the same type of innate intelligence that allows a cat to give birth to a litter of kittens. She may have never have seen another cat to do this same birth miracle and yet is able to do her job naturally and perfectly.

This innate intelligence that regulates and controls the body is constantly working day and night. Our hearts pump 72 times per minute, while our lungs are continuing to breathe, day and night, to transport oxygen to the tissues and then take carbon dioxide out. This doesn't stop when we lay down at night. In fact, it is when we sleep that the body is very busy replenishing itself with new cells. This innate intelligence is centered in the brain. The brain is the center of intelligence in the human body and, through this incredible vast network of nerves, connects every organ tissue and cell. Every organ tissue and cell, whether directly or indirectly, communicates through innate intelligence and therefore knows how to work. So, from here, we see that harmony within the body is coordinated innate intelligence involving the organs, tissues and cells and this harmony, or coordination if you will, is what defines "resistance".

When a person is healthy, it doesn't mean a lack of symptoms. What it means is that the resistance of the body is as close to 100 percent as possible. Resistance is 100 percent nerve cell to tissue cell communication as possible. For example, when a patient has a cold and the nose starts to run, and the temperature starts to rise, these uncomfortable processes are really evidence that the body is doing just fine. It has raised the temperature in a defensive way to burn out the virus. The nose starts to run because the body uses this as an exit for more of the toxins that have originally caused the cold. So you can see that an absence of symptoms is not a way to determine if somebody is well or not.

It is when these symptoms make us uncomfortable that most of us go to the medicine chest to take something to feel better. The problem is, now that the antihistamine we took to stop the nose from running does in fact work, and the nose stops running, and the cold medicine we took also brings down the temperature--now the body has to work twice as hard, and take twice as much time to do the job it was trying to do in the first place. It's never the medication, it's always the innate intelligence of the body that finally does get us well.

What the Chiropractor Does

Here, we need to investigate the anatomy and physiology of how the body performs. The spine is made up of 24 moveable vertebrae with an elaborate network of 31 spinal nerves that connect from specific areas of the spine to specific organs, arms and hands, legs and the entire lower and upper extremities. The chiropractic doctor is trained to examine the spine and, through an artful technique of palpation, along with neurological and orthopedic tests and x-rays, the doctor can determine if there are subluxations, individual vertebrae that are out of place, causing nerve interference to the specific organs and external tissues. He is then trained to gently, and without pain, reposition these vertebrae and restore the vital innate intelligence that this body needs in order to work well and continue on in harmonious condition called "resistance."

If we do a quick search of the anatomy, we see that out of the neck vertebrae, the spinal nerve roots exit the spine and go to innervate the shoulders arms and hands, from the upper cervical spine the nerve roots go to the head, ears, eyes, nose sinus, and mucous membranes of the throat. As we continue down into the thoracic spine, it is here that we find the t1 t2 spinal roots go to the heart and lungs, further down it goes to the gall bladder, stomach, pancreas, and then again further down to the intestines, bladder sexual organs, rectum and kidneys. The nerve roots of the lower spine, the sciatic nerve, run down the lower extremity into the legs and all the way to the feet. Upon examining the 24 vertebrae, the chiropractor then determines if there is, in fact, subluxation nerve pressure. In conjunction with that, orthopedic and neurological tests and X-rays are also prepared to make the diagnosis.

The "adjustment" is what the chiropractic doctor does to restore alignment and the resultant nerve interference. The chiropractic doctor is trained to gently, yet without hesitation, make the adjustment. In so doing, the nerve supply is then restored and positive events may follow. For example, headaches that have been present for years, or shoulders that have been out of alignment perhaps years and may have been causing pain and restricted range of motion, or low back pain that has been chronic or that is acute--all these are just some examples of what can be helped or corrected by chiropractic natural alternative care, after many other types of treatment have been found to just be symptomatic in nature, fall to the wind in comparison to the value of the adjustment that has gone to the cause of misalignment.

If these subluxations (as we now know what to call the cause of the nerve interference) and resultant pain are removed, then we sometimes hear some patients provide positive feedback. The sometimes immediate relief that patients experience is best described as a finger that has been squeezing inside a vice that is now opened, and the pressure is no longer present.

Chiropractic, an American-born profession, is helping people naturally and without medication. It can offer an alternative for treating musculoskeletal disorders. As an example, consider the benefits to helping patients with cerebral palsy

Benefits for Patients with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a condition that has affected many infants. It is a non-congenital condition and seems to have its cause, in most cases, when the fetus is in the uterus. It is caused by damage to the motor control centers of the developing brain.

Management of the CP patient is a lifelong challenge, However, it is not progressive, as the brain has the capacity to reroute many of the pathways. The earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcome for the child, as he can potentially overcome many of the developmental disabilities with the help of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and anti-seizure medication. There are also alternative interventions that have been helpful such as chiropractic care.

The chiropractor helps the patient with stretching techniques as well as vertebral manipulation. When the patient presents himself with severe muscle spasm, the individual spinal vertebrae that are freely moveable are, oftentimes, if not always found to be misaligned. These "subluxations" (vertebrae out of alignment, causing nerve pressure) can be adjusted. The result can be quite gratifying for the patient. The severe muscle spasm cannot be permanently removed with adjustments, nor can any of the other treatments bring about a permanent cure. However, this modality of treatment is often not provided to the patient. This is primarily true because patients and caregivers generally are not aware of chiropractic care or its efficacy. Hence, this article is an educational piece that the entire healthcare field should know about. Many times, the subluxation preventing 100% nerve communication from brain cell to tissue cell can be the underlying cause of a lowered resistance to these associated tissues. A lowered resistance can lead to a vast number of organic difficulties. It begs the question: Why should the CP patient not have chiropractic care as another modality that is natural and non-invasive and as another arrow in the quiver of health care professionals?

Another issue that comes up with the CP patient relates to the loved ones that care for him or her. They are frequently lifting and bending over their patient in order to help. It could be with adjusting the patient's gait, or helping to move him into the bedroom, into a car, or getting him dressed, brushing his teeth, etc. All of these repetitive motions create musculoskeletal issues. Indeed, helping the CP patient throughout the course of their lives can be quite challenging. It is my hope that this article helps educate the public on the potential benefits of chiropractic care.


Exceptional Parent Magazine has a responsibility to report on both conventional and alternative therapies for a variety of developmental disabilities. The inclusion of any particular treatment is not an endorsement of the efficacy of the modality but merely presented for educational and informational purposes. We have always been proponents of the following axioms: Discuss with your managing physician and healthcare team any therapies you are considering before undertaking them; acquire and study the evidence that supports any treatment, make informed decisions and carefully evaluate the benefits of the treatment using accepted metrics that can be tracked, weighed and compared.



Jeffrey M. Davis, DC, who has been practicing chiropractic since 1976, is based in Hillsdale, NJ. He was introduced to chiropractic at a young age by his mother's brother, Dr. Robert Small, who had developed a practice in Monticello, NY and then moved to Israel to develop the first chiropractic center in the Middle East. In 1976, Dr. Davis took over that practice in Tel Aviv, Israel, and then returned to New Jersey to open the doors to the Hillsdale Chiropractic Center.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Davis, Jeffrey M.
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2013
Previous Article:Alternative Medicine: more hype than hope?
Next Article:Complementary and alternative medicine for children with healthcare special needs.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters