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How Does Chiropractic Promote Overall Wellness?

How Does Chiropractic Promote Overall Wellness?

Chiropractors know that adjustments are good for your general health. Millions of satisfied patients cannot be wrong. But what do chiropractors know that the rest of us do not?

They know the nervous system is the one system in the body that directly affects every other system. This is because nerves conduct sensory information from every part of the body and then delivers this information to the brain. Once there, the brain analyzes the information to determine what the body needs to maintain a healthy state. So the health of this system is paramount to the good health of the rest of the body.

Chiropractors recognize that misalignment in the spine can interfere with proper nervous system function. More specifically, chiropractors study the effects of vertebral subluxations – conditions of the spine where align- ment and/or movement patterns of the vertebrae are abnormal. When this occurs, imbalances cause irritation and inflammation. In turn this can cause interference with information that is transmitted along nerves and spinal cord. Chiropractors are the only health care professionals specifically trained to locate and correct spinal subluxations.

This is the principal reason why chiropractors should be called wellness doctors. Every time a chiropractor corrects a vertebral subluxation, the positive effects are felt in multiple systems simultaneously.

Where’s the Proof?

For decades, scientific research has focused on the use of chiropractic adjustments for low back pain, neck pain and headaches. In fact, there is now clear evidence to recommend chiropractors as the go-to professionals for spinal pain syndromes. However, with the rising popularity of wellness-based philosophies focused on non-traditional approaches to health, chiropractors are being asked to justify their role.

The traditional medical model of symptom-based healthcare is rapidly waning. We no longer feel we have to be sick to call upon a health professional for advice. Instead, we are focusing more on the detrimental effects stress has on our bodies, and the therapies that address the mind-body connection are getting much more attention.

In a recent report from the Center for Disease Control, the four most popular forms of alternative and complementary medicine were listed as: natural products, deep breathing, meditation and chiropractic!

People are casting their votes with their healthcare dollars and chiropractors are taking a leadership role in this new wellness model. As a profession whose core philosophy is about the optimization of the brain-body communication network, chiropractic can be viewed as a therapy with an emphasis on whole body health and wellness

Research is catching up to what chiropractors have known for years. In a recent study that reviewed all the available research to date, investigators found that “chiropractic adjustments, often for the purpose of correcting vertebral subluxation, confer measurable health benefits to people regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms.” More people are seeking what chiropractic offers: optimization of health and an improved quality of life, with a spine free of vertebral subluxations!

In a multi-nation study involving hundreds of chiropractors and thousands of chiropractic patients, researchers sought to measure the incidence of non-musculoskeletal responses to chiropractic therapy. What they found was that a number of patients experienced systemic benefits from their chiropractic treatments whether or not they mentioned any symptoms in these areas at the onset of care. The most common benefits reported in this study were breathing (27%), digestion (26%) and circulation (21%).

In yet another ground-breaking study, chiropractic adjustments were shown to actually decrease blood pressure, one of the leading causes for preventable death in North America (in relation to the incidence of heart-attacks and strokes). The study stood up to medical scrutiny and showed unequivocally that vertebral subluxations – of the upper cervical vertebra in this case – can be detrimental to the health of the individual, and not just a pain in the neck.

From these research results, chiropractors clearly have a greater role in your health and wellness than just treating sore backs. Chiropractic care should be considered an invaluable tool for you to not only help you feel well, but to also help you be well.

References and sources:

1. Dagenais S, Gay RE, Tricco AC, Freeman MD & Mayer JM. NASS Contemporary Concepts in Spine Care: Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Acute Low Back Pain. Spine Journal 2010 (Oct.); 10(10): 918-940.

2. Bronfort G, Assendelft WJJ, Evans R, Haas M & Bouter L. Efficacy of Spinal Manipulation for Chronic Headache: A Systematic Review. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2001 (Sept.); 24(7): 457-466

3. Thiel HW & Bolton JE. Predic- tors For Immediate and Global Responses to Chiropractic Manipulation of the Cervical Spine. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2008 (Mar.); 31(3): 172-183.

4. Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin R. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007. CDC National Health Statistics Report #12. December 10, 2008.

5. Hannon SM. Objective Physiologic Changes and Associated Health Benefits of Chiro- practic Adjustments in Asymptom- atic Subjects: A Review of the Literature. J Vertebral Subluxation Research 2004 (Apr.): 1-9.

6. Leboeuf-Yde C, Pedersen EN, Bryner P, Cosman D, Hayek R, Meeker WC, Shaik J, Terrazas O, Tucker J & Walsh M. Self-reported Nonmusculoskeletal Responses to Chiropractic Intervention: A Multi- nation Survey. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2005 (Jun.); 28(5): 294-302.

7. Bakris G, Dickholtz M, Meyer PM, Kravitz G, Avery E, Miller M, Brown J, Woodfield C & Bell B. Atlas Vertebra Realignment and Achievement of Arterial Pressure Goal in Hypertensive Patients: A Pilot Study. Journal of Human Hypertension 2007 (May); 21(5): 347-352.

How to Find a Great Chiropractor!

How to Find a Great Chiropractor!

If you already have a chiropractor that you love and feel comfortable with – you do not need to read any further. However, if you don’t know much about chiropractic and you are thinking about seeing a chiropractor…read on.

There are plenty of ways to get information on chiropractors. The Internet and Social Media have all kinds of links and sites. However, the best way to get information on a chiropractor is from his/her patients (word of mouth). An amazing website is great but it can’t substitute for a person who has been treated and cared for by the doctor in person.

Admittedly, I am a huge chiropractic fan but that does not mean that I think that all chiropractors are created equal. Here are the things to look for and do if you want to find a great chiropractor:

•    Scheduling – does the doctor limit his/her appointments to five minute increments? If they do, this is a sign that they are more interested in getting people in and out than they are in giving the patient the time and attention they need. (I call that a cattle chute operation)
•    Does the doctor listen to and then attempt to answer your questions? No chiropractor can take unlimited time with you but a great chiropractor will do their best to make sure your questions are answered.
•    Does the doctor take time to explain what he/she is doing? A great chiropractor tries to make the patient feel comfortable and will take the time to explain what they are doing.
•    Is the prime concern of the office efficiency (getting people in and out) or with making sure that the patient knows that they are genuinely cared for?
•    Is the doctor caring and does he/she develop relationships with his/her patients?
•    Is the doctor concerned that you feel comfortable?
•    Ask his/her patients what kind of care the doctor gives.
•    Does the doctor x-ray every patient? If so, they are probably more interested in paying for their x-ray equipment than in x-raying a patient only when there is a demonstrated need.
•    How does the doctor treat his/her staff? Does the doctor’s staff recommend him/her when they are away from the office?

Try not to pay too much attention to the décor of the office. Many doctors have very nice, well decorated offices – and offices of that sort are certainly easy on the eyes but they don’t tell the whole story of the care that the doctor is willing to give you. I would want a doctor’s office to be nice, clean and well organized but I would rather be treated by a “great” chiropractor in a modestly decorated office than be treated by a chiropractor who runs a “cattle chute” operation in a high end office space.

I am fortunate to be married to a great chiropractor.  It always makes me smile when my husband’s patients share their experiences with me; so many of them come not just to have an adjustment but to be with friends.  I understand how important it is to them that my husband takes the time to answer their questions, explain what he is doing and that he genuinely cares. My husband has not always been a chiropractor. I think that being a chiropractor as a second career has helped him see his practice through a lens of experience that is not common to many practicing doctors. I am grateful that life has taught both my husband and me the amazing things that chiropractic can do for those it treats! Grateful too to understand that genuine care and concern is always an integral part of any great chiropractor’s practice!

What You Need to Know About Depression – Oblander Chiropractic

What You Need to Know About Depression – Oblander Chiropractic

I was once a person with depression. Not “just” the baby blues or a few months of feeling down and out – I had all out don’t-want-to-live anymore depression for about 5 years.

It is surviving those five years of my life that has been a major contributor to my passion to help others have health and wellness in their lives.

The dictionary defines depression as: A condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.

My personal definition of depression is pain, anguish, torture, agony, grief, melancholy, and suffering, etc. which overshadows the life of an individual who has every reason to feel otherwise. Depression is the sponge that robs life of its joy and satisfaction while wreaking havoc with relationships, families, and the life of the depressed individual.

Most people think that depression is a mental illness – in the medical books that is how it is defined but I can tell you from personal experience that depression affects every area of health: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. I can also tell you that for each of those headline-grabbing stories about those with “mental illnesses” gone haywire, there are millions of depression victims suffering silently who are of no danger to anyone but possibly themselves. Those millions only want to be well again.

My own experience with depression included allopathic (MD’s) treatment and alternative treatment.

My first experience was with MD’s. MD’s sought to mask my symptoms with medications. The egos of the doctors who treated me did not allow me, as the patient, to be a viable participant in my own treatment. Unfortunately, patients with mental illnesses are often judged incapable by health professionals of being able to have clear, coherent thoughts. My doctors may have thought I was “crazy” but even now – these many years later I believe that I knew my body and what my body was experiencing better than anybody and that I should have been considered an essential participant in my treatment. However, the issues I had with allopathic treatment went deeper than that. I have always believed in addressing the source of a problem. Therefore, I wanted to get to the root of what was causing my depression. Getting to the root of a health issue is not something a standard MD does. A standard MD looks at symptoms, makes a diagnosis, and whips out the prescription tablet. For me, masking symptoms was not an adequate solution.

My second experience was with chiropractors. They tested my blood, found that I was suffering from severe adrenal fatigue and that I was in need of other nutritional components. They recommended the appropriate herbal remedies. From there, they worked with me to get to the root of the other physical ailments that I was suffering from – believing that all of the ailments I was suffering from were related. Finally, they encouraged me to do stretching exercises, deep breathing, and to incorporate inspirational books and literature into my life on a daily basis. Their treatment included regular adjustments to make sure that my nervous system (and therefore my entire body) was working as optimally as it could.

Eventually, we were able to find that my depression was directly related to my 24/7 migraines. I had been suffering from migraines for almost 13 years by the time I first received chiropractic treatment. The chiropractors who treated me helped me find the cause of my headaches and then eliminate them. Once my pain levels were significantly reduced – my depression left.

The chiropractic treatment and nutritional therapy that I received was not a “magic pill” and my depression and migraine headaches were not remedied overnight. However, they were eliminated and, for me, finding  and removing the cause was a much better solution than masking symptoms for the rest of my life.

As a former sufferer of depression, I can tell you what depression was and what it wasn’t and what I have since seen in common among those I know who suffer with depression.

Depression, for me, was not a complete withdrawal from life. It was also not a choice. I could not choose to be better just because I wanted to be. Although learning to have a more positive mindset helped – it too was insufficient.  What depression was was the loss of the emotional coordination I had once had. I was no longer able to navigate the normal ups and downs of life with the same tenacity and flexibility I had once possessed. It was not unlike losing muscle control in a hand or a limb but in this case it was my emotional state that lost its coordination and control.

I also can tell you that just like any victim of an accident or illness – my need for love and support did not go away – instead, it became even more important.

There are several components that I believe link themselves to depression:

Inadequate Nutrition – I believe that the absence of adequate nutrition can be a huge contributor to depression. Good whole food supplements are wonderful but a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains is not just important to a healthy body – it is also important to healthy emotions.

  1. Health Issues – Physical health that struggles can and usually will affect emotional health. Again, what we eat is so important and so is exercise. Those endorphins that help us feel better when we do not have depression also help us feel better when we do. Chemical imbalance is a common culprit in depression. (Sometimes chemical imbalances can be caused by prescription drugs.)
  2. Lack of Proper Self-care – How we take care of ourselves and the expectations we place on ourselves is huge. I was personally guilty of too often burning the candlestick at both ends. I see many sufferers of depression who are guilty of the same thing. Our bodies are amazing in their ability to adapt and compensate. For those who push the limits relentlessly there often comes a time when their body decides to give them a warning that they need to slow down and take life a little easier. Depression is often that warning.
  3. Negative Self-talk – We all talk to ourselves. We all have self expectations. It is common for those who suffer from depression to have unrealistic expectations of themselves and to be especially hard on and/or demanding of themselves. We all need to be as kind to ourselves as we are to our best friend or sweetheart. It is important that we love ourselves.
  4. Lack of Spirituality – Spirituality or the ability to look to a higher source of power to assist us in life is incredibly important. When we believe that we can only rely upon ourselves or that it is us against the world – just that thought alone can be depressing. I found that spending time each day with inspirational literature and working to build my personal spirituality helped me immensely.
  5. Lack of Faith – The faith I am talking about here includes faith in ourselves, in our fellow man and in our creator. Believing in ourselves and in our ability to change, to improve and to create a meaningful life is incredibly important. Believing that we can heal and that life can improve is critical.

 I remember once having a conversation with a woman regarding my depression. Frustrated with my inability to function in a healthy and normal way, she accused me of choosing to be depressed. I can tell you that no one “chooses” to be depressed. However, I do believe that our lifestyle choices can greatly influence our propensity for depression. I also believe that our lifestyle and attitude choices greatly influence the type of health we will enjoy and how we will age. It would be wonderful if depression could become a thing of the past. In the meantime, I hope we will all do what we can to minimize its likelihood and to help those who are suffering!

What You Should Know about Whiplash

What You Should Know about Whiplash

Nearly 27% of drivers have been involved in a car crash in the last five years. (I was one of them.) In 2008 there were 208 million licensed drivers in the U.S. Based on these numbers we can estimate that over a five year period about 56,160,000 drivers will be involved in a car accident. That comes out to 11,232,000 accidents a year and over 30,000 a day. In other words…there are a lot of motor vehicle accidents in this country every year!

One of the most common injuries associated with motor vehicle accidents is whiplash. Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused by sudden acceleration-deceleration force. This is usually the result of a stationary vehicle being struck from behind. This causes the torso to thrust forward while the head is thrown back into hyperextension and then whipped forward into a hyper-flexed position. This causes stress and strain on the soft tissues of the neck including muscles, tendons, ligaments and joint capsules. Symptoms of whiplash include, but are not limited to pain, stiffness, headaches, dizziness, tinnitus and weakness.

Many factors account for the severity of whiplash and the resulting symptoms. The severity of the impact and position of the head at impact are major factors in the potential severity of the injury. The health of the individual prior to the accident can make a big difference. A young person in good health will fare better than an older individual with preexisting degenerative changes in the neck. However, regardless of the perceived severity of the accident, all whiplash cases need to be taken seriously no matter how minor it may appear.

In many situations only the symptoms of whiplash are treated. Muscle relaxers, pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications are often prescribed along with adequate rest. Unfortunately, this is often the extent of the treatment.

Because of the damage that occurs in a whiplash injury, degenerative changes may be put into place that may not become obvious for many years after the initial injury. I was fortunate when my accident occurred in that I knew to seek chiropractic help right away. Being married to a chiropractor, I knew the risk factors involved. Another bonus was that I have had lots of interaction with the patients in our office that have been in accidents. Time after time, they have expressed a desire that they wish they would have known how much chiropractic treatment would have helped them when they first had their accident. Many have found that chiropractic treatment helped where medications and physical therapy failed. If you have been in a car accident and suffered a whiplash injury, talk to a chiropractor… you’ll be glad you did!

What I Believe Modern Medicine is Missing

What I Believe Modern Medicine is Missing

As many of you know, I have lived in both worlds…the world of using only allopathic medicine (MD’s) where prescriptive and surgical remedies reign and the world which uses alternative medicine where the body is honored for its self-healing capacity and where food and lifestyle modifications are utilized in addition to the treatment modality offered by the doctor (such as spinal manipulation).

 In all honesty, I don’t like calling chiropractic and other treatments rendered by “alternative” practitioners alternative at all. After all, what we call conventional medicine is little more than 100 years old and forms of chiropractic date back over 20 centuries. (Shouldn’t that qualify chiropractic as mainstream medicine?!!)

The actual profession of chiropractic – as a distinct form of health care — dates back to 1895. However, over 2000 years ago Hippocrates advised: “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.”

Herodotus, a contemporary of Hippocrates, gained fame curing diseases by correcting spinal abnormalities through therapeutic exercises. If the patient was too weak to exercise, Herodotus would manipulate the patient’s spine. The philosopher Aristotle was critical of Herodotus’ tonic-free approach because, “he made old men young and thus prolonged their lives too greatly.”

So now that I’ve inserted my little chiropractic soapbox, here are my feelings on what I believe modern medicine is missing and why that’s important.

Allopathic medicine, as a whole, declines to acknowledge any creative force and bases its belief system on evolution. As such, it only takes into account the physical body and the symptoms and/or illnesses it presents. By only acknowledging the body, allopathic disregards the spirit of the body (the other half of the soul). In so doing, it eliminates critical components of our health: spiritual, mental and emotional health.

Allopathic does a wonderful job of treating trauma and emergencies. However, I believe it dramatically fails in regards to honoring the patients it treats.

Eliminate giving a patient the time and consideration they deserve, ignore their emotional, spiritual, or mental health, discount that a patient needs to be a central contributor to or part of their own healthcare, or operate from a foundation that the doctor always knows best (in the five minute patient time slots that most allopathic doctors are forced to work within) and I believe you see patients and their health short-changed.

I have been treated by too many allopathic doctors who had no interest in my health history – their only interest was in my current symptoms so they could write a quick prescription. I have been treated by doctors who, when they found that no prescription worked, were all too quick to declare that it was “all in my head”. They were right…my headaches were “all in my head” but the causes weren’t. If I were the only one ever to have been told that a health issue was all in my head – this personal experience wouldn’t even be mentioned. Unfortunately, too many patients have been given that diagnosis by doctors who were unwilling to consider anything other than prescriptions and expensive high tech tests. I believe too many MD’s operate from the ego-driven assumption that prescription medicines, expensive tests and surgery are the only competent tools available in treating patients.

So…here is my short list of the components that I believe modern medicine is missing that should be vital to all healthcare:

  • Sufficient time with patient
  • Honoring the contribution of the patient in their own healthcare
  • Embracing the importance and power of nutrition in health
  • Recognizing the influence that a patient’s spiritual, mental, and emotional health has on their physical health
  • Eliminating the ego of the doctor in patient care
  • Respecting the creative force that created the patient and the world we each are a part of

Some allopathic practitioners are catching on…they have seen the difference that nutrition and chiropractic treatment makes and are chaning their mindsets. I look forward to the day when more of them get the big picture!