Hey, I’m glad you came back for Part 3 of my description of the wellness presentation I attended a couple of weeks ago. I said in Part 1 that I would revisit the topic of chiropractic care because I believe everyone should know there is a better approach to healthcare than the typical mainstream MD route. Besides, this just happens to coincide with the 5th point the doctor discussed in his presentation. I talked about the other four points in parts 1 and 2 (movement, healthy eating, supplements, and stress response), and here I’ll give you the rundown (according to my layman’s understanding) of his 5th point: nerve interference.
Remember in part 1 that I mentioned knowing nearly nothing (okay, absolutely nothing) about chiropractors or their field, so I found an old chiropractic textbook to read so I could learn something about it. All I’d ever heard about chiropractors was that they could help people who had hurt their backs. One or two of my family members had been to chiropractors a couple of times, and only because they had back pain, but I didn’t know anyone else who had been. I didn’t even know chiropractors were doctors! No, I really hadn’t been living under a rock, but I sure did need an education. So yes of course chiropractors are doctors, and from what I’ve seen of their curriculum, they receive more education in how the body should work than MDs do.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally respect MDs for what they can do for the body. I mean, if I foolishly dash out in front of traffic while out on a run and wind up with a broken arm, I want my MD to put it back together for me. I also want those precious pain-killers he’ll likely prescribe. But I don’t believe that every condition or malady along my traipse through this life requires drugs, which is the MD’s main tool. I’ll never forget the escalation, both in intensity and volume, of my MD’s argument a few years ago that I would need artificial hormones for the rest of my life once I reached the age of menopause. I disagreed, strongly. I figured nature had made me, and all other women, plenty able to handle every phase of life and that my body knew exactly what to do without any interference from my MD. As he unsuccessfully tried to convince me of various absurdities (like that I would become osteoporotic and my teeth would fall out, among other things. Can you hear my eyeballs rolling??), I began to pity him because I realized that this was what he truly believed. I also vowed to stay away from MDs unless I truly needed one. Mind you, I’m not saying you should avoid them too; I’m leaving that choice entirely up to you. Ooops, I find I have once again wandered….
I first sought a chiropractor because I had hurt myself running and couldn’t find anyone else who was able to help with a pesky and disgustingly persistent foot injury. I had taken to calling it my Grumpy Foot, and I was becoming pretty grumpy myself. Just ask any runner who can’t run. All I was sure of was that I didn’t want to be cut, and I didn’t want to take drugs to mask the pain. I wanted help to heal whatever was wrong, and I knew the MD route wasn’t going to get me there. I was pretty discouraged and didn’t expect much, but I had an unexplainable-to-this-day intuition that my best bet would be with a chiropractor. And I am forever glad I trusted that intuition.
Chiropractic care, if you don’t already know, involves manipulation of the spine with the intent of removing any interference in the transmission of the signals to and from the brain. In other words, making sure the body can “hear” the brain so it can carry out all its various activities like heartbeat, digestion, sleeping, etc. After all, if your bodily systems are getting garbled messages from your brain, you may well be experiencing symptoms of un-wellness that are called “dis-ease” in chiropractic terms. One of the many important things it does is keep the immune system functioning most efficiently. (The doctor gave another presentation just a couple of days ago about the immune system. You can link to it HERE if you’re interested (I was!)).
Anyway, given the idea that the body knows how to heal itself as long as it is without interference was a very attractive idea to me. It matched my beliefs exactly, and I had never heard of anyone else believing this too. I had always called it “getting out of my body’s way so it can do what it knows to do”, but the idea is the same.
As the doctor pointed out in his 5th point “nerve interference”, if we are living our lives not having addressed the first four points very well (not much exercise, poor diet, poor supplementation, and too much stress), then likely we also have a lot of nerve interference. As he said “…just 60mm of mercury pressure, which is the weight of a dime, changes the nerve function by as much as 60%”. I don’t know about you, but that sounds to me like a lot of interference that would lead to some seriously unclear messages to the rest of the body. Where does this pressure on the nerves come from? From subluxation, which is one or more spinal joints that are out of place. You can’t feel it, and you don’t know it, but they are there. As the chiropractor corrects these subluxations with a little manual manipulation, which they call “adjustments” (another term I’d never heard before, and no, it doesn’t hurt), the brain-body connection is cleared and your body can function as it was meant to, which means in my case it could heal itself and I would be able to run again (yay!!).
If the brain can clearly communicate with the rest of the body, and vice versa, then wouldn’t many conditions be improved by removing these interferences? Yes! Research shows that chiropractic care can help with allergies, asthma, headaches, chronic pain, symptoms associated with pregnancy, blood pressure, intestinal/digestive problems, and many other problems, including those in children. It can also improve the effectiveness of your immune system, and can improve your athletic performance.
So have any of these things been improved for me during the past two years of my regular chiropractic adjustments? Yes. Well… I haven’t been pregnant lately, so I can’t personally vouch for that one, but I did have seasonal allergies that are very nearly unnoticeable now. I also sleep better, and just generally feel better. Am I a better runner? If my 2-minute/mile improvement in my average pace is any indicator, I’d say yes.
So why am I telling you all of this? Because I want you to know that if you believe your body has its own intelligence and knows how to heal itself given the right circumstances, there are doctors who dedicate themselves to and practice under this belief. Chiropractors will work with you toward your own personal health in every aspect of your life, treating the causes of problems in natural ways, rather than narrowly focusing on merely stifling your symptoms with drugs or surgeries the way MDs are trained to do. Their respect for the human body and its abilities is refreshing, and goes a long way toward empowering you in your own journey toward living a healthy life. Oh, and in case you were wondering, efferent nerves are the ones that carry signals from the brain to the rest of the body, and afferent nerves carry signals from the body’s tissues back to the brain. Now you know!