Chiropractic and Our Shifting Health Paradigm

I have been a chiropractic patient since I was 17 years old (I hate to admit it, but that was almost 40 years ago ).  Back then I was suffering from a back injury I developed while chasing my brother (who I was fully intending to kill) on a wet driveway while we were washing my mom’s car.  Needless to say, in my urgency to catch and kill, I slipped on the wet pavement, flew into the air and landed hard in a slightly flexed position on my pelvis and lower back. I was traumatized in more ways than one and definitely hurt.  My mom took me to the pediatrician who did nothing to help.  Several weeks later and still in pain, my mom remembered a chiropractor helping her when she hurt her back, so she decided a chiropractor was exactly what I needed and within a few short visits I was back to my rambunctious, pushing the limits, self.

While I can’t remember the chiropractor at all, his treatment had a huge impact on my future.  Over the next few years, I had repeated episodes of lower back pain and muscle spasms that would stop me cold, totally compromising my ability to go about daily life.  Each time, I would see a chiropractor and each time I would be restoredto my usual healthy self. It isn’t surprising then, after graduating UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Environmental Studies and working for several years for the California State Park System that I felt drawn to more meaningful work, and ultimately to the profession that had made the most difference in my health and life.

Many patients ask me why the pain keeps coming back after chiropractic fixes it.  My response is a reflection of both my education and my own personal experience…     

Once we have injured tissue (whether its muscle, ligament, nerves, discs, or organs) that tissue is never the same.  One of the miracles of our body is its ability to heal (both from injuries, and disease).  The problem is in the way our body heals.  Any tissue damage in our body (whether from an injury or disease) heals with what we call scar tissue – and while scar tissue is one of Gods (or natures) miracles, it is also,  inherently weaker, less elastic and more pain sensitive than the tissue it replaces.

That means, although we have this tremendous capacity to heal, we are still never quite the same after illness or injury.  Our bodies are now inherently weaker, more prone to injury or recurring illness.  And while that is not good news, it also calls for us to take more responsibility for our health, vitality and longevity. That, my friends, is where chiropractic is miles ahead of the traditional western approach to health.  When I first entered Chiropractic school, I knew the value of chiropractic care when it came to treating injuries; what I didn’t understand and what ultimately inspired me to be more than just a mediocre, do what is expected chiropractor, is the understanding that permeates Chiropractic philosophy.  That philosophy is that we not only help people get out of pain, but we also have the ability to give people opportunity to live a fuller, more satisfying life, by keeping their body working at its highest level, the way God designed it to be.

(To be continued…)

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