I’m always trying to think of better ways to explain to people what is so different about NIS (Neurological Integration System) as opposed to various other methods of chiropractic, bodywork, etc. Well, as it happens, my little computer setup here handed me a good analogy. I’m typing this onto a tablet computer using a wireless keyboard. Once in a while. I guess the keyboard gets lazy or glitchy or something and will insert a character (usually a 6 or a j) at the beginning of every sentence. I try to go back and delete the unwanted character, but I can’t! It’s like the computer doesn’t recognize it since I didn’t type it, and yet there it is, and if I send the e-mail or print the document, yes, there they are, the very real and unwanted characters at the beginning of the sentence! What is needed here is a reset of the temperamental keyboard, and then all is well with the world. But without this keyboard reset, everything else is negatively affected. It seems like a small problem, but hardly anything works like it should while this problem is going on! NIS, for the human nervous system, is like restarting the glitchy keyboard. It helps to balance the core operating system of they body - the central nervous system, through the brain - and thus allows everything else to work better. It’s not the be-all end-all of everything, just the most important foundational thing! I don’t have any problem with the hundreds of other structural/functional approaches out there. In fact, many of my clients even see other chiropractors for specific things. (Heck, I myself see different types of chiropractors for different things!) But I can say this with absolute 100% certainty: anything you do for your health - whether it’s chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, meditation, sports, diet modifications - literally anything healthy - will work better if you’ve had NIS. Sometimes, people are overwhelmed with the choices and various therapies that they are using to tackle a health problem, and they hesitate to add yet another one to the list! I would not really think of NIS as a competing modality to anything, but as a basic all-systems-go check-up. A starting point. And that is all I have to say about that. :-) -DK
Your LIFE depends on your nervous system. No kidding - without a brain, you would die. I think everyone knows this. But what I'm talking about is the QUALITY of your life. How do you know when life is good versus when life is bad? While it may be easy to point to outside factors - life is bad when bill collectors are lighting up the phone and life is good when all the bills are paid in advance - it's not as simple as that. There are countless examples of people who seem to "have it all" killing themselves or otherwise self-destructing out of sheer misery. The truth is, whether life is good or bad depends on what's going on in the nervous system and how it's perceiving the world. When life is good, you can tell because there is a physiology that goes with it. Muscles feel relaxed, breathing is deep, the heart is steady, there is a mental clarity and satisfaction. Often, the sky even seems a bit bluer. Life is good. When life is bad, it's often the opposite. Muscles are tight and painful, breathing is shallow, the heart may be racing or beating irregularly, things appear dull or sounds are irritating, the mind can't rest. Sometimes, there really is an objective reason for the disquiet of the nervous system. For example, if you really do live in a literal war zone, then it's normal to have a distressed nervous system, and it might even save your life. However, most people reading this post do not live in a literal war zone. Most of you are just normal people living a normal life. So why do you feel like such crap?! Modern life has assaulted the human nervous system from multiple angles, from the constant electromagnetic stresses, to modified foods, accumulated toxins in the environment to constant emotional pressure to be or do more and more and more. It's no surprise that we feel overloaded! So how can life become good?? For most, the answer is much closer than your think. Small but powerful changes by way of diet, exercise and specific chiropractic and NIS (Neurological Integration System) treatments can literally make the difference between life and death. Just in the last month, two different patients have confided in me that they had been contemplating suicide before starting care, and are amazed at how that thought now seems so alien, and that in spite of outside circumstances remaining much the same, their internal world is far healthier and thus life itself is better and worth living. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the stress of life and are wondering whether it is even worth it anymore, come in for an assessment, and let's get you back on track! Life is short and precious. Let's make the most of it!
While most of my patients are referrals from other patients (or doctors), some patients find me through internet searches. When people are just looking for a chiropractor based on internet searches (without a personal referral or idea of what kind of care awaits them), one of the first questions they ask is, "How much is a treatment?" It seems like a simple question, and it seems like a reasonable one. However, in chiropractic -- especially in chiropractic -- the answer can be quite misleading. If you call around to all of the chiropractic offices in town and ask the question, you'll get a range of answers. Thinking about my neighborhood in San Francisco, I know that the range would be from about $40 on the lowest end to around $250 on the high end. (I haven't been in Sacramento long enough to know the range!) But based on price alone, I can tell you that the cheaper chiropractors - the $40 guys - are almost certainly practicing old school "back cracking" style chiropractic. This method works, and for some people, it works great! However... due to the purely spinal mechanical approach, the method requires a lot of reinforcement. Patients need to come in very frequently, particularly in the beginning of care. One local $40 chiropractor I know (who sometimes discounts his care to as low as $20 a visit) recommends that new patients come in *daily* for the first month! From a dollars-per-treatment point of view, this sounds great! $20 x 20 visits in a month = $400, which is the cost of just 2 visits at the $200 chiropractor's office. But are treatment dollars the only calculation? If you're coming in to the city from anywhere but south, there are bridge tolls to pay. Parking, etc. or perhaps you're taking BART or MUNI and have to figure in those costs. What about your most precious asset of all, which is your time? How much time does it take to go to the chiropractor? The $20-$40 guy's visit may take only 3-5 minutes, but unless you live down the block, it probably took 1-2 hours out of your day! Multiply these factors by the frequent visits, and now, the bargain price does not seem like such a bargain at all. Back when I was a pre-chiropractic student, I was receiving free chiropractic care from a very generous local doctor. While I very much appreciated the free care, I eventually came to resent the time that it took from my day. I eventually dropped out of care because I could no longer handle the cost in time! Time is our most precious asset, no matter who we are. I always knew in my gut that there had to be a better way to get people well and to stabilize their spines than simply "popping" it back into place over and over again! Now, in my 21st year of practice, I am confident that I've found the best methods to achieve the greatest stability in the fewest visits. Healing still takes time, of course. Most cases still take about 3 months to achieve good stability. But those 3 months now take about 1/3 (or less!) of the visits than they used to. In the long run, this probably saves some money, but most of all, it saves quite a lot of time. I can't remember ever running into someone who has complained about all the free time they've got on their hands! We all have the same limited amount. So, when shopping around, while it's reasonable and fair to want to know what the cost of a treatment may be, the better question might be, "How much time can you save me?" :-) And that is all I have to say about that. Be well! -DK
How many chiropractors does it take to change a light bulb? Just one.... but it's going to take 50 visits! This joke has always simultaneously made me laugh and cringe. It's hilarious, because it's absurd! But there's that cringy truth about, too, right? We purport to "turn on the power" and flip on the switches of health - not unlike the task of changing a light bulb. So why does it seem to always take so darn many visits?! I used to understand this necessity due to the nature of structural corrections. Indeed, in the olden days, some of my mentors told tales of people (sometimes it was them as the patient) who recovered from horrific injuries or sicknesses while receiving not just multiple chiropractic treatments per week, but sometimes multiple treatments per day. (In those cases, the patient often stayed at the doctor's house or in an in-patient facility for the duration!) Nevertheless, I knew in my heart of hearts that there must be a better way. I sometimes wondered if the benefits of my treatments were negated by the stress of having to battle traffic, parking, etc. into the city and then to have to turn around again to get back to home or work! The cost, not just in dollars, but in time, energy, frustration is significant. Over the years, through nutrition, homeopathy and N.E.T., I was able to get the overall treatment numbers down, but I found that almost all new patients still needed to be seen at least 3-4 times a week initially to get really good results. Well, cue the heavenly music, I am very pleased to announce that I have finally found a method which is going to greatly benefit those who are unable to come in for frequent treatments! It's a system called NIS - Neurological Integration System. NIS was developed by a New Zealand osteopath (Dr. Allan Phillips), and involves checking and resetting specific brain reflexes in order to help the body help itself. This is very much in line with chiropractic philosophy, and gets even more to the source. The muscles, glands and joints are all affected by nerves that come through the spine, but all of those nerves are controlled by the brain! Until very recently, there was no easily accessible way to check and treat these important brain reflexes. I've been using NIS quite a lot in the office lately, and the results are awesome! Peoples' chronic subluxations are stabilizing, and they are needing less frequent care. Finally, my patients who live across the Bay or even further away are able to come in and receive more meaningful care in spite of the reduced frequency! Whew. So, basically just wanted to share the news! We are constantly learning and growing. I still live my life by the campground rule: want to leave this place better than it was when I got here. And that is all I have to say about that. :-) -DK
What does chiropractic have to do with "living the good life?" Well, not to sound like a blowhard, but... everything! Most happy successful people (note the word "happy") will tell you that success and happiness are inside jobs. They don't really have much to do with outside circumstances or how many material possessions one can accumulate. When you're down in the dumps and feeling like crap, it's easy to think, "I'd be happy if I had [x]." But that is an illusion. Since happiness and success are inside jobs, what could be more important than having a healthy and fine-tuned nervous system?? You can't even imagine what could be better in your life from having a more functional nervous system if you're looking out through a dysfunctional system! Just the other day, I saw a patient who had not noticed that over time, her sense of smell had been diminishing. However, when we got her inflammation down to the point that she was able to stop taking ibuprofen, it returned, and she commented, "Wow, I haven't smelled butter in years! It smells wonderful!" (I'm a big fan of butter, myself, and heck yeah it smells wonderful!) Smell is a big part of the sense of taste. I love food, do you? How much less awesome would life be if you couldn't smell your food?! I had another patient who used to gag every time she brushed her teeth - ever since she was a little kid! - and she thought it was just the way she was - someone with a sensitive gag reflex. However, after a routine visit where we checked and balanced cranial nerve function, the gagging stopped! It's not an issue for most of your (maybe not an issue for any of you) but how much better is her life now that she can brush her teeth in peace a couple of times away without gagging? It's something that only happens a few minutes a day, but she says it had greatly improved the quality of her life! I have a number of patients who have commented that after a good adjustment (particularly a good NET treatment) the sky literally looks bluer. (I have experienced this myself as well.) People report being able to break personal records in the gym and experience more efficient workouts thanks to improved nerve flow in their bodies. They report improved communication between themselves and their partners thanks to improved clarity of their own nervous system responses to former "trigger" stimuli. The world, objectively speaking, hasn't changed a bit. The facts of their lives, on paper, haven't changed a bit. And yet, life itself seems to be better, because it's better from the inside. I'm pretty sure that anyone reading this knows that if you eat like shit, you feel like shit. If you eat well, you feel good. If you sleep well, you feel good. If you haven't slept for days, you feel like crap. Imagine how much better you could feel if your nervous system was humming like a fine-tuned luxury automobile! You can shine up the outside and paint over the flaws, but what's under the hood makes all the difference in the world! Remember, success is an inside job. Happiness is an inside job. Health is an inside job. If you want those things - if you want to live "the good life" - then you have to do the inside work. And that is all I have to say about that. :-)
Sometimes it seems that the main audience for this blog is comprised of marketers looking to solicit me for their services on how to generate a better blog. I may write an entry at a later date on how this culture is part of the problem of nervous system overwhelm that we see every day in the office. The other day, one of the marketers pointed out that my last blog entry was created almost 2 years ago. This sounded a little crazy, but.... turned out, it's true! I wondered how that could be, but then this thought occurred to me. I'm a person who doesn't like to repeat things over and over, and the thing with chiropractic is that the fundamental principle never changes. I supposed that people need to hear things repeated many times in a number of different ways, so maybe I should just go with it. But yes, for the record, I want to say that the same thing that was true in 1895 is true today, still: that healing comes from within, and that the power that made the body heals the body, and that chiropractic is all about turning that power back on! On its face, particularly the to skeptics, this looks a little silly. How can the power be "off" when clearly, the power is "on" ? If we are walking and talking and living, then how can one say that the power needs to be turned on? Well, it's like your house, which can have full electrical power, but then an individual circuit can blow. This happens more than you think within the human body. The beauty of the body, though, is that it's got many many "backup" circuits from which to draw from. If the nerve supply is compromised to a particular muscle, there are many compensatory muscles that kick in. Plus, it is rare that the nerve supply to a given muscle will shut off 100%. The far more common scenario is that is diminishes in intensity, like a dimming bulb. (We can measure this in various strength tests.) The process is often subtle and happens over time, and it's rare that people notice the specific muscle or circuit that is losing power. Instead, over time, people start to notice problems (pain, strain, etc.) in the muscles and areas that have been working overtime to COMPENSATE for the weak circuit. They may be complaining of pain in the right hip, but when we do an exam, in addition to an inflamed and overworked right hip, we often find a very locked up left hip that hasn't been doing its fair share. The solution is not to adjust the right hip -- but the left. Twice already this week, we have also seen (and relieved) cases where a seemingly malfunctioning organ, such as a urinary bladder, was able to start functioning smoothly again following adjustments to the lower back. The people in question were not suffering low back pain, and their medical doctors never mentioned low back nerve irritation or impingement as a possible cause of the problem. Instead, they blamed "old age" or "medication side-effect" but in fact, the symptoms relieved following specific adjustments to the specific nerves that affected the organs in question. It's not rocket science. On a related note... we're seeing more and more people with symptoms of electromagnetic sensitivity issues. I'm not sure why this seems so crazy or unlikely to the skeptics? After all, we ARE electromagnetic beings in a many ways, and there's a lot of cutting edge medical science involving treating diseases - not just cardiac pacemakers - using electromagnetic principles! Some of the new technology includes electrical implants in the brain for Parkinsons as well as diabetes (!) and even rheumatoid arthritis. The brain is incredibly sensitive to electrical impulses. Why wouldn't it be vulnerable to overwhelm in the current environment of ever-increasing wired and wireless technology?! Anyway.... In conclusion, we still do the same thing we always have in this office: study the nervous system through a series of stimulus/response testing, see where the signals are not firing as they should, work to find the cause of the interference, remove it, and let the body do its job. I will (maybe!) work on being better better about posting a blog entry every so often, but the other thing that every single one of us needs to work on is balance and peace in our lives. Would it kill us to have less, not more, digital noise? Would it kill us to have less of a web presence? I guess it depends on your line of work and your life. But so far, I haven't heard too many complaints from the folks who have made the conscious decision to DOWNshift on the technology wedge in their life. Hm. And that is all I have to say about that. Be well! -DK
A strange thing happened at the office a couple of weeks ago. I had a consultation with a young lady who had been having some health issues lately which had not been resolving, in spite of her having been to a number of doctors (including at least one other chiropractor). The consultation went well (or so I thought) and I recommended that the next step be to get some x-rays and schedule a more thorough exam so that we could really get to the bottom of her problem. Just as she was about to schedule the exam, her boyfriend stopped her, looked at her, and said, "Do you REALLY think you need ANOTHER exam?" She paused, thinking about the other exams she'd recently had, which had led to no help, and then decided against it, and left. After all, she had come in the hopes of simply jumping straight to a treatment - without any exam - so that she could "try it out." This is not an uncommon mindset, and even some of my own friends have occasionally texted me and asked things like, "Do you know a good chiropractor I could see who won't make me do an exam?" This question baffles me! But I can see where people are coming from. After all, I am a patient as well as a doctor, and I have had some incredibly shoddy "exams" in my life. The worst which comes to mind was a $600 "exam" I was billed for which consisted of a technician taking my blood pressure, pulse, temperature and weight and then a doctor asking me if I'd been in the woods recently ("No") and then shrugging, listening to my heart and lungs for 15 seconds, and then stating "You're fine." !?!?!? Needless to say, I've never been back to that doctor. I could have taken my own vital signs and declared I was fine for free! With "exams" like that - which seem to be done just for the sake of bilking insurance companies - it's no wonder that patients perceive them as a money-making waste of time.
And yet, an exam is critical if you're expecting some kind of treatment from a doctor - particularly if you've never seen them before! A lot of people come to chiropractic thinking that it's all about "popping bones." "I just need to be cracked right here! I couldn't get it myself this morning, and my wife is out of town!" After almost 20 years in chiropractic, I know that it's a whole lot more complicated than "popping" bones, even if it doesn't look like it. There is absolutely an art as well as a science to it, and I know from personal experience (as well as that of my friends and mentors) that things are not always as they seem, and that to skip a good exam is a disservice to the patient and a very risky proposition to the doctor.
I don't accept insurance in this office. As such, I am not tempted to bill for big worthless exams just for the money. I do a detailed and honest exam that gives me the information I need to assess a case on all 4 bases of health: structure, nutrition, toxicity and emotional. In our exam, not only do we check the spinal alignment, but we also do a number of neurological tests that you are unlikely to ever have performed on you outside of a neurologist's office! Why? Because we are concerned about FUNCTIONAL neurology and FUNCTIONAL health. Symptoms alone are misleading. We need to dig below the surface. That means doing an exam. And then, if and when you start treatment? We have to do periodic RE-exams, in order to monitor the progress. Exams are kind of like an airplane pilot looking at the controls. Even though MOST of what happens on a plane is on autopilot, would you really feel good to know that the pilot rarely, if ever, put his eye on those numbers and controls? Of course not! That's your life in their hands there! Same thing with your nervous system. This is your life we are talking about here.
So, yes, you DO need an exam before even considering treatment with a doctor. I would not feel good sending my kid to a chiropractor - or any doctor - who was willing to treat him without an appropriate exam. That's just sloppy practice. And that, is pretty much all I have to say about that!
Lately, I've been racking my brain with trying to figure out why so many highly intelligent and logical people can come to such alarmingly inaccurate conclusions about health. I follow their logic, and it seems sound, but then the conclusion is all weird. I finally realized that the problem is not with the logic, but with the initial premise. These days, almost everyone seems to be starting with the premise that the body is a faulty, weak, highly flawed mechanism that can only be (and stay) healthy with the "assistance" of countless man-made substances and other invasive technologies! This just doesn't seem right to me. How could it be that everything else in the universe - from galaxies and black holes all the way down to subatomic particles - is so perfectly created, yet humans... not so much? Of course, it's b.s.! Humans are designed amazingly well! We don't give our own bodies enough credit. Unfortunately, the consequences for this thinking have reached out-of-control proportions. One thing I am thinking of is the flu shot. I just read a little blurb in a magazine about how now there are different flu shots to choose from (since we are all individuals, after all!). One is now egg-free, so that people who are allergic to eggs will be "safe." (Rejoice, egg-allergy-sufferers, for your flu shot is now grown on a substrate of caterpillar protein!) One is given with a shorter and thinner needle - for people who are afraid of needles. (Interestingly, this "micro shot" also contains less of the flu particles in it, yet is considered "just as effective." So... if less is just as effective... then why doesn't everyone get less?!) One has MORE of the flu component in it, targeted for elderly people or people with weaker immune systems...??? And I can't recall what the other variations were. Anyway... Logical people starting at one end of the argument say (rightfully so) that if the body is exposed to a tiny bit of an invader, such as a virus, then it will proceed to make antibodies. Yep, that is true science, and I can agree with that. But then they run away with the logic and say that THEREFORE, EVERYONE should deliberately get these nasties injected into their bloodstream - every year forever! - along with chemical preservatives, stabilizing agents, etc. that they never mention - and "strengthen" their immune systems. OK. Let's back up a few steps. Step 1: your body has an *incredible* immune system. It is WAY more complicated that anyone can fully grasp. It knows how to make antibodies to viruses, bacteria, etc. It knows that without ever having to "learn" it from anyone. It is automatic. So, yes or no, do you suppose that if you are walking around and interacting with the world, shaking hands, using shared shopping baskets, sitting on the bus next to strangers, etc. that along the way, you are being exposed constantly to various viruses and bacteria? (The answer is yes. I hate to break it to you, but you are literally crawling with bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, etc. If you don't know about it, it's because your amazing immune system is fighting them off!) Don't you think that during flu season, you are automatically exposed to a bunch of random flu virus particles in the air, etc.? I assure you that you are. And don't you think that maybe your immune system makes antibodies to those just as they might to a flu shot? If it didn't work that way, then wouldn't all the people who don't get the shot get a lot more flu than the people who do get it? But it doesn't work that way, does it? (A casual survey of your workplace during flu season will give you your answer.) If we are serious about getting health care costs under control in this country, then we have to back up and re-examine some of our starting premises. If our immune systems are this amazing (and they are) then let's stop pretending that they only work with these pharmaceutical cocktails. Let's focus on helping our immune systems help themselves. This means drinking clean water, eating real food, exercising, doing something we actually love (whether or not it's your job), doing as much as we can to reduce harmful stress, and getting adjusted. And that is all I have to say about that! For now. :)
I'm often baffled at why many people believe that kids - and babies in particular - do not need chiropractic. By the time most adults find their way to chiropractic, they are suffering from chronic symptoms that have been developing over the course of many, many years - often from injuries sustained and left untreated during their childhood and teenage years! Children's skeletons and nervous systems are rapidly developing, and they are very sensitive to changes. Babies in particular are vulnerable, particularly after invasive or traumatic birth experiences, and unfortunately, they are unable to verbally communicate what is going on. A chiropractor specifically trained in the delicate art of baby-adjusting can help to literally change a person's life. I am going to include a link here to a great article about a life-changing adjustment given to a wailing baby up in an airplane a couple of years ago:
Food for thought!
And incidentally, if you are interested in learning more about chiropractic philosophy
"from the inside," I highly recommend the Spinal Column Radio podcast. It is pure gold for chiropractors, chiropractic students and lovers of chiropractic philosophy. Health comes from the inside, not the outside. Drugs and surgery are awesome for traumatic emergencies, but they've got little to nothing to do with day-to-day health and wellness. For that, you need a sound nervous system, and that starts with a healthy spine and brain!
And that is all I have to say about that. Be well!
OK, here's a big emotional topic that you can never really speak "calmly" about with people! Why is it so emotional? I guess that's a whole 'nother topic. But this week, I received an e-mail from a patient about her son's recent horrible vaccine experience and the surprising conclusion to it. Her son's story perfectly demonstrates the points that (1) vaccines are not as "safe" as we are led to believe and (2) vaccine-related sicknesses are often much more difficult to diagnose and treat than the condition that the vaccine was supposed to protect against!
The tale begins in October of 2012 when this young boy received a routine vaccination (specifically, the Tdap booster shot for whooping cough) for school. Shortly after receiving the vaccine, he started to have a strange cough. Return visits to the MD did not turn up any conclusive reason for this cough. It was not accompanied by fever, the blood work didn't reveal anything, and it was chalked up to "allergies." He was given some generic allergy medication and sent on his way. The medication didn't really help, and for months this barking cough became worse and worse. Still, nothing turned up at Kaiser, and the only solutions offered were more and more symptom-suppressing medications. At one point, following a visit to the ER, they were given *15* different prescription medications for this cough!! The medications had horrible side-effects, and the poor kid started to cough up some blood!
Using some of our non-invasive "alternative" tools in this office, I concluded that it was probably a vaccine reaction. I always feel a bit squirmy if I have to say this to parents because it's such a sensitive topic, but that's what kept coming up. So, what is there to be done for such a thing? Unfortunately, not much... However, I know that some people have had very good results using homeopathic remedies specific to vaccine reactions. So the patient located a medical doctor who uses homeopathy. He examined the child, agreed that he was having a vaccine reaction - basically a strange form of whooping cough - and immediately ordered a specially formulated HOMEOPATHIC remedy for him. And guess what? Immediately after taking the homeopathy, the coughing stopped! After 8 months of suffering, it was knocked out with this powerful yet gentle and highly specific homeopathy!
So... why wasn't the whooping cough diagnosed by the regular MDs at Kaiser? Because it wasn't actually whooping cough. It was a strange FORM of it caused BY the vaccine. And what are the areas of the body typically affected by vaccines when the reactions are bad? It's almost always the NERVOUS SYSTEM. The problems are usually neurological. Neurological problems are incredibly challenging to heal, and many of the unusual ones are simply written off as "ideopathic," which is fancy talk for "I have no idea."
Totally isolated case? I don't think so. In our own office, you can come here and look at the Facebook pictures of Shirley's friend, who is still in a wheelchair, 9 years after becoming paralyzed following a neurological reaction to a FLU SHOT.
What would have been the worst case scenario if that woman had gotten the flu? Even a really bad flu? She would have been sick for a couple of weeks - maybe gone to the hospital if it was severe - but she would have survived and been healthy and mobile today. No flu would have made her a paraplegic for life. And that boy, if he hadn't gotten that vaccine? What if he had gotten "normal" whooping cough? Well, one of our unvaccinated patients actually did get whooping cough. What happened? He was sick and uncomfortable, got medical treatment, healed, and now he's fine. He does not have any neurological damage.
The fact is, the world is a risky place. There will always be viruses, bacteria, fungus, parasites, critters, etc. We have to be reasonable and take reasonable precautions. Sanitation, for example, is critical! But to turn a blind eye to the dangers of industrialized medicine (specifically pharmaceuticals, vaccines, etc.) is inexcusable. People should have an INFORMED choice about what they ingest or inject into themselves and their children. Remember where health really comes from: it comes from within, and it comes from a healthy and strong nervous system. Health does not come from a bottle, and it certainly does not come from the tip of a needle.
"I'm pretty sure it's just a muscle thing."
This phrase is definitely in my top 5 list of things that really get under my skin! (Yeah yeah, no pun intended.) When people say this, they are usually minimizing a problem and implying that "all" they need is perhaps a decent massage or a simple stretch. (And then they get annoyed that the massage, stretch, etc. "doesn't last") Experience has shown that in the vast majority of cases, there is a lot more going on than meets the eye! First of, all, how in the world could anything be "just a muscle thing" ? Do muscles have their own volition? Do they do anything on their own? When's the last time a raw steak jumped off the plate and slapped you in the face? Muscles don't do anything on their own. They respond to the signals that they receive. Signals from where? Signals from the nervous system, and signals from the chemistry. Do you have a muscle that is repeatedly cramping? It could be chemical -- dehydration, mineral deficiency, toxicity problem, etc. Or it could have to do with the nerve signal coming from the spine or the brain. Did you know that you don't always have pain when a nerve is being pinched or irritated? Pain is only one of the signals that a nerve communicates! An irritated nerve might show more subtle symptoms - weakened reflexes, reduced sensory function, impaired coordination or strength, etc. Not only could muscle function be impaired from the spinal level, but did you know that muscle function can be impaired if the organ that shares the nerve circuit is having trouble? This is what is going on in the case of referred pain. Why does someone often have shoulderblade pain when they're having a gallbladder attack? Because the rhomboid muscles share a nerve supply with the gallbladder. In the office, we see these muscle/organ correlations all the time. In fact, there's a word for it when muscles and joints are out of balance because of organ problems: viscerosomatic. In these viscerosomatic cases, we see things like chronic tight hamstrings that are really being caused by large intestine problems, or weak lats due to blood sugar problems, or weak lower leg muscles due to dehydration and kidney stress... the list goes on! So the next time you are having muscle pain or weakness (ESPECIALLY MYSTERIOUS RECURRING OR NON-HEALING muscle problems that don't make much sense), don't just shrug it off as "probably just a muscle thing." Get it checked out by a health practitioner who knows about viscerosomatic conditions. You will be glad you did, and then you can get back to doing the fun stuff that healthy muscles are known for. :)
And that is all I have to say about that!
A lot of the people who end up in my office have an unspoken question that comes with them. "Am I crazy?" Why would they think this? (Granted, once in a great while, it's because they actually are...) But really... it's usually because the thing that is happening with their body is not responding to standard medical care. The bloodwork seems to be in order, the numbers look good, the imaging is clean, therefore the conclusion becomes "It must be in your head." When the symptoms appear worse with stress, the patient is often told, "It sounds like you're stressed." (No kidding!) The "solution" is often a drug to suppress the symptoms - the anxiety, the depression, the insomnia - but anyone who's ever been on these drugs know that they come with unpleasant side-effects, suppressing the symptoms, perhaps, but often suppressing other things, too (access to positive emotions, focus, energy, etc.) that put a high quality of life out of reach! Who wants to live a muted life?
So if they're not crazy, then what is the problem, and why isn't there a good solution available in mainstream medicine?! While it's true that the basic problem is "stress," the problem is that each person's body has unique definitions of what and why certain conditions constitute "stress," and also very unique physiological responses to that stress! This is because each person's stress response and physiology is the result of countless individual factors ranging from individual genetics to environmental factors (current and also from childhood years), nutrition and injury history. Do you freak out inside of elevators? Most people don't, but what if you had been trapped in one as a child? Your nervous system might have been calibrated to associate elevators with danger. It's simple conditioning - just like Pavlov's dogs. How many stressful events do we accumulate over time that condition our nervous systems to stress? It doesn't matter whether or nor they're logical - especially the key conditioning stress events from childhood. When you were small, you didn't have much in the way of logic and reasoning, but you had a highly developed and advanced nervous system that tracked more than you can ever imagine in its task of keeping you alive and safe! So what are some of the key stress events that may have marked your nervous system? Were you bullied for stuttering? Were you made to feel like a disappointment for not succeeding in the areas that were important to your parents? Were you given up for adoption? Did you lose a parent, a friend or a sibling at a young age? Were your hospitalized as a child? Did you have a traumatic birth? Was your parent an addict? Were you sexually abused? Were you always the last kid to get picked for the team? Were you considered the fat kid? The poor kid? The geeky kid? All of the above?! Nobody's life path is the same, but one thing is for sure: every single one of us has been uniquely conditioned to respond physiologically to stress. Because of the uniqueness of the factors that go into this conditioning, there will never be a solution so standardized as a drug - or even 4 or 5 drugs to choose from - that can help people with physical manifestations (pain, allergy, anxiety, insomnia, etc.) of stress conditioning. And because these are unconscious physical responses, they also don't tend to respond to traditional talk therapy.
So to that I say, thank gawd for NET!!! NET (Neuro Emotional Technique) is a tool for finding and recalibrating physiological stress responses so that the body can keep in balance in spite of external stressors. It utilizes a form of biofeedback to discover the specific stress triggers which are affecting a person's body, and then incorporates cutting edge mindbody technology for changing the body's response to that same trigger. NET is easily the most profound and life-changing modality that I use in the office.
I'm not sure how to end this blog post... It's true that if the above resonates with you, then you would likely benefit from NET, and should find a good NET practitioner nearby asap. But I want you to know that I'm not just speaking from theoretical knowledge or something that I have only seen working in others. I myself used to have very extreme physical reactions to certain types of stress. I used to get migraines and vomit if I had to go to crowded events - even seminars of friendly like-minded professionals! I used to get the same throw-up/headache combo if I had to see a lot of people in my office on a single day. (Unfortunately, "a lot" apparently meant "more than 5.") I would "coincidentally" fall ill - stomach virus, common cold, etc. - if I was expected to attend a party - even among friends! I thought that I was damaged goods - maybe just crazy - and doomed to a lifetime of either isolation or great physical discomfort among people. It was only thanks to NET that I was able to update my body's stress responses! While I'm still an introvert - a person who recharges their energy alone - I no longer get those debilitating headaches, etc. Regular medicine - which is awesome for crisis and emergency care - had no answers or solutions for me. NET did!
And that is all I have to say about that!
What do you reckon is the biggest health killer? Fast food? Sedentary lifestyle? Drugs? As far as I can tell, ultimately, it has to be STRESS. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot that can be done about a lot of the stresses in life. Bills have to be paid, bodies age, commutes suck, relationships with other people are challenging since they involve, y'know... other people... So what can be done?! Therapy works for a lot of folks, and of course I'm a fan of NET (Neuro Emotional Technique) but today I'm going to mention something simple, FREE, and surprisingly effective. It's called a "news fast." This is where you refrain from consuming "news" for a certain amount of time. For many people, this seems crazy. As I write these very words, I'm tempted to go read some details about the horrific bombing that just happened in Boston yesterday. But what is that going to do for me (or, truly, for anybody)? For me, it's likely to create a tight and anxious feeling in my chest. It will raise my vigilance and make me reflect on the horrible people lurking out there in the world. It'll probably make me get choked up, and maybe even cry. Once on a given news site, my eyes might wander over to the latest heartbreaking teen suicide story, etc. etc. (Are you starting to get depressed by reading this blog post which is supposed to DIScourage you from reading the news?!?) And this ritual doesn't do anything helpful or good for any of the involved parties. It also doesn't do anything to encourage the news media to print any GOOD news because the most horrible news gets the most clicks, therefore revenue, etc. and it's a self-perpetuating cycle of unease and stress. So STOP IT! Quit reading it. Some people say that this will just make you ignorant, and that it's irresponsible to be ignorant of "what's going on." I am fairly certain that ignorance is not a condition that stems from lack of news media exposure. If something truly important is going on, then you're going to find out about it soon enough. Trust me! What we're looking to reduce here is the steady daily IV drip of fear and anxiety that comes from "the news." If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, go on a news fast. For 1 month, stop watching or reading the news, and then check in with how you fared! If you really don't think that the stress of watching or reading the news affects your body, do this experiment: take your resting pulse before turning on the news. Watch or read for a few minutes and recheck your pulse. If you have a blood pressure monitor, you can check that as well before and after. You may be surprised at the results! Remember, stress is the killer. A little stress can make you a little sick, and a lot of stress can definitely make you very sick. Control the stress where you have control, and the body will thank you!
And that is all I have to say about that.
So, anyone who gets chiropractic care and also has "health" insurance
has noticed by now that coverage is shrinking. A lot. But is this really
a bad thing? Honestly, I think it's inevitable, and the reason is that they've never really covered true chiropractic in the first place.
What they have covered is basically medicine, performed by a
chiropractor. What's the difference? Well, think about it. What is
insurance, anyway? It's something that you buy in the hopes that you
will never actually have to use it. It's protection against horrible
things. I have life insurance. Do I hope to use it? Hell no. I have car
insurance. Do I hope to "get to" file some claims? Hell no! I have
malpractice insurance. Do I hope to use that? I hope I NEVER do! Even medical or dental... I love my dentist, and I like my MD, but... to be honest, I hope to hardly ever have to see them for treatment. But
what happens when you have "health" insurance that "covers"
chiropractic? Do you want to use it? HELL YES! Why? Because chiropractic
is AWESOME, and because getting adjusted helps you to stay healthy,
happy and energized. If you were "approved" for 50 visits to your
medical doctor per year, would you go? Uh... no. Why not? Because all
they have for you is drugs and surgery. Who would want that every
week..?? But chiropractic? Yes, please. I have been getting adjusted
since I was 19 years old. I'm in great health thanks in part to my
weekly wellness adjustments. So... back to the topic... how did
chiropractic, this awesome life-enhancing thing, get tangled up with
insurance, this scary thing that you only buy because you DON'T actually
want to need it? It's because some short-sighted chiropractors a few
years ago thought that it would be a good idea. They thought that maybe
if they treated chiropractic like medicine -- like something that
"injured" people did only for a short time until they were "better" --
that it would help the profession. Instead, it just confused people,
and now people think that chiropractic is for "back pain" and that
insurance should cover it! Insurance can never cover real chiropractic
-- real wellness care. It just doesn't match what insurance is all
about! It's not a sustainable business practice for them, and it doesn't match what I do in my practice. So why pretend? And that is
why I am not, and will never be, a part of any insurance network. I
didn't dedicate my life to become an advil-with-arms! They're not interested in your HEALTH - only your statistical odds of getting DISEASE. Who's interested in your health? It has to be YOU, and you're the one who has to take care of it. (But we're here to help, too.) :)
The first thing that usually happens to me when there’s a sudden huge loss of data is PANIC. [Yes, I am referring to the recent snafu with the office website!] OMIGAWD, what am I going to do? How am I going to make up for all that lost work!? But you know what? Often, what follows is a strange kind of calm and relief… It’s kind of NICE to have one less thing to think about, isn’t it? I guess the closet Buddhist in me loves the peace and quiet of zero. It gives one fresh time to think and reflect anew.
And what better time to think and reflect than Thanksgiving? Despite the politics of the original American holiday (please, no politics!!!), I think it’s great to have a national day devoted to gratitude. What am I grateful for? MANY THINGS. Near the very top of the list, I am grateful for ChiropracTIC and for the knowledge that ALL HEALING COMES FROM WITHIN. The real doctor walks in with the patient. As the world becomes more and more complicated (and as American “health care” becomes more and more convoluted), I am grateful to know that health and disease both spring forth from 4 simple factors, every time: trauma, toxicity, nutrition and emotions. If we always go back to the basics, we can always find our way back home to good health and balance.
I’m grateful that health comes from within, and I’m grateful that happiness comes from within. With that, no matter what the external conditions are, we can always do better and feel better. Perfect? Well, don’t hold your breath for that one… but “close enough to round up to perfect” ?
You only have to spend a few minutes thinking about what you are grateful for to know that it gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, but did you know that there’s also ample scientific evidence that gratitude has some serious health benefits?
And on that note, I bid you a Happy Thanksgiving, and I’m grateful for YOU.
DK signing out!