I have been a practicing chiropractor since March, 1983 after graduating Magna cum Laude from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in December 1982. (The terms “Chiropractor,” “Chiropractic Physician” and “Doctor of Chiropractic” are synonymous; one term does not indicate a higher level of education relative to another. Our degree is D.C. for Doctor of Chiropractic.)
The information on this web site is based on my observations during 32+ years of practice. Some of the concepts have been greatly simplified so the layman can get a basic understanding of chiropractic. Just as you don’t need to understand the workings of an internal combustion engine to be able to drive your car, you also don’t need to know all the fine details about how your body works to repair itself. Within this site, the big picture is more important than the fine details.
A Simple Analogy
Anatomically, we humans can be compared to very complicated mechanical men.
Just like robots (picture “The Terminator” without flesh), we have joints that allow motion. We have muscles instead of hydraulic pistons to move the skeleton, and we have a very sophisticated computer with intricate wiring that controls everything within the robot. All these parts are made of living tissues instead of metal, plastic and silicon. Just as metal can wear, pistons can wear out/fluid can leak or wiring can fray/short circuit/part, so can our living tissues fail to perform at their normal (100%). Due to the mental and physical stresses of our daily lives, our living robots often do not function at 100%.
Health - What a Concept
A healthy person is one who functions at 100%; anything less that that is unhealthy - at 0%, you’re dead.
There are very few people on the planet who function at 100%. The rest of us are somewhere below that, but we want to be as close to 100% (and as far away from 0%) as possible. Even though your blood chemistry may be within normal limits, you have good blood pressure, a heart that beats regularly, lungs that don’t wheeze and you have no sugar in your urine, it does not make you healthy. It does make you further from 0%, but not necessarily healthy.
Your M.D. may have pronounced you healthy if all the above looked good at your physical exam. But, you didn’t bother to mention that you also have daily headaches, a left knee that stiffens up when you sit still for 20 minutes, allergies in the spring and a leaky bladder when you laugh or cough.
You looked healthy at your exam, but that really is not so healthy, is it? Certainly not close to 100%. Those other complaint won’t kill you, but they certainly make life a little less fun, don’t they - especially when you might get prescription A for your headaches, prescription B for your sore knee, prescription C for your allergies (or a long series of injections), and prescription D for your leaky bladder - and then maybe prescriptions E, F, G and H to combat side-effects of A, B, C And D.
A Quick Anatomy & Physiology Lesson
The nervous system (the computer and the wiring) directly or indirectly controls everything that happens in the body.
We have only 12 pair of nerves emerging from the brain (the computer) itself. All other nerves in the body come off the spinal cord. Those nerve branches coming off the spinal cord exit the spinal column directly in front of the spinal joints and directly behind the spinal discs. Malposition/fixation of the joints can directly or indirectly put an abnormal pressure or stress on the nerves (the wiring) and cause either too much or too little nerve activity. The end result: the robot doesn’t work right.
Problems may be as simple as a “crick” in the neck (a local symptom), as severe as unrelenting sciatic neuralgia (pressure on a major nerve root), and as diverse as headaches, digestive disturbances or high blood pressure (symptoms located away from the spine). Yet the aberration of the spine may be the origin of all these complaints.
You may be close to 100% - you might not even be aware that you are not well. Not all aberrations produce immediate symptoms (how many people do you know who find out they have coronary (heart) arteries almost completely blocked and have had minimal or no warning symptoms?) The cemeteries are full of people who’s friends and family stand around the grave and say, “I don’t understand - he was never sick a day in his life.” The truth is they were probably sick for years. They just were not aware of the symptoms, or even worse, ignored them.
Most people enter a doctor’s office (of any discipline) because of pain.
Pain is the great attention getter, and it is doing what Nature intended: IT MAKES YOU AWARE SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT! Pain, tingling, numbness, burning, shocking sensations, headaches, nausea, dizziness, back or neck pain, inability to take a deep breath: all these things bring people in to see doctors. As they should. The problem is, these things are symptoms of being less than 100% healthy. We have been programmed to ask, “What can I do to make these symptoms go away?” The questions should be, “What causes these symptoms?”, and even more important, “What can be done to remove the cause of these symptoms?”
Medical doctors have a multitude of drugs to treat the symptoms listed above, with new drugs hitting the market every day. Many, if not most, of those drugs diminish or remove the symptoms. They rarely address the cause of the symptoms. Each of those symptoms listed above could easily be caused by spinal subluxations which can be treated by chiropractic care, without the use of drug or surgery. Simply put, subluxations can cause a multitude of symptoms; chiropractors reduce or remove subluxations, which relieve the symptoms.
You are now at a higher state of health. It is real. It is not artificially enhanced by outside influences (drugs can alter your perception of reality. For example, pain relievers may relieve pain, but they don’t make the cause of your pain go away. The pain is just masked). You are able to work and play, love and live - better.
There are dozens of chiropractic methodologies or techniques. If there was one technique that was much more effective than all others, there would only be one technique.
One particular technique may work better on a given individual than another, but most respond equally well regardless of technique. That being said, the same cannot be said with the delivery of any given technique. As with anything that requires a skill, there are different levels of competence. That is true in any profession: carpenters, lawyers, accountants, auto repairmen, computer technicians, musicians, artists, medical doctors or chiropractors. Some are more skillful than others.
There are many different treatment protocols and different business protocols. Each doctor has to live with his or her own decisions regarding patient care and how they run their business. There are also many chiropractors that use ancillary procedures, such as nutritional counseling, electronic stimulation, acupuncture, ultrasound, traction, etc. in their practices. While these adjuncts are not chiropractic, they may be used by chiropractors in many States.
Each State has its own regulations. Arizona has separate license endorsements for both physiotherapy procedures and acupuncture. Simply put, all chiropractors are not created equal. And, as an informational note, there is no "Palmer Method." "Palmer" is a college (actually now with 3 campuses). The Palmer’s did not put their name to any technique. If someone advertises they use "The Palmer Method," there is a very good chance they did not attend Palmer College of Chiropractic. A Palmer graduate should know there is no “Palmer Method.” Palmer was the first chiropractic school. It has long had a first-rate reputation. Saying you graduated from Palmer is like saying you graduated from Harvard or Yale - the school has a high reputation for excellence in their graduates, and that means something to certain informed consumers. Non-Palmer graduates have been known to put the use of "The Palmer Method" in their advertising to infer they are Palmer graduates, when in fact they are not. (I might use a Yale padlock or eat Harvard beets, but that does not make me a Yale or Harvard graduate!) To be fair, Palmer has turned out below average practitioners, and other colleges have turned out above-average practitioners. But, the Palmer name means something for a reason, and it has for decades.