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The Healing Art Of Chiropractic
By Dr. Michael Chimes, Chiropractor

We are printing this article because healing should encompass mind and body. The body includes the skeletal structure, nerves, muscles, circulation, digestion (endocrine function), lymphatics, breathing (respiration), waste elimination. All these functions, working harmoniously, , help regain and maintain health.

"It is most necessary to know the nature of the spine, what its natural purposes are, for such knowledge will be a requisite for many diseases. One or more vertebrae of the spine may or may not go out of place very much. They may give way very little, and if they do, they are likely to produce serious complications and even death, if not properly adjusted. It appears to me that one ought to know what diseases arise in man from his structural conformations."—Hippocrates

From the moment you begin to stand and walk, your sphie is subjected to malpositioning. Throughout your growth period up to this very moment, every poor posture habit develops mechanical misalignments of your spine's vertebrae. Considering the spinal column surrounds and supports the nervous system's extensions to all of the organs and structures of the body, the importance of the spine's well-being becomes evident.

Let's assume that through either poor posture or diminishing muscle tone, which allows gravity to pull upon the skeletal system, you develop a constriction of your nervous system at one or more points along the spine. Unless you had obvious pain or physical malfunctions, how would you know that your body was being short-circuited of nerve energy transmissions? And even if you were aware, how would you remedy the problem?

Those of us who have studied the unique complexities of the spine, would unquestionably recommend periodic visits to a chiropractor.

But there are many people who have peculiar ideas about what chiropractic is. Certainly, a definition is warranted. Chiropractic has been in the shadow of a number of myths regarding its "unorthodox" healing methods, which hamper knowledge and understanding of its proper use and restorative functions. Chiropractic is, however, unorthodox only in terms of the practices of other health care providers. The chiropractors' services exist for the patient whose special health needs fall within their scope; like osteopaths, allopaths, surgeons, and orthopedists, the care they provide will not suit all people.

According to B.J. Palmer, the developer of chiropractic and son of the founder D.D. Palmer, "Chiropractic (which means 'done by hand') is a philosophy, science, and art of things natural, a system of adjusting the segments of the spinal Áolumn by hand only for the correction of the cause of dis-ease. Chiropractic was born because sick people need to get well."

The first chiropractic adjustment by D.D. Palmer was given to Harvey Lillard, a janitor of his office building in 1895. Lillard, the first chiropractic patient, had been deaf for 17 years and explained that upon overexerting himself, he felt something give way in his back and lost his hearing. D.D. Palmer examined him and found a painful protruding bump which Lillard noted was the area that hurt when he lost his hearing. Palmer thought if the bump was reduced, hearing would be restored. Using the spinous process (a descriptive part of a vertebra) as a lever, Palmer gave an adjustive thrust and properly aligned the vertebra. Almost instantly, Lillard could hear for the first time in 17 years.

D.D. Palmer made no claim to be the first one ever to correct a subluxated vertebra (vertebra which has lost its juxtaposition with the one above or below, ultimately resulting in nerve impingement and the interference of the transmission of nerve impulses from brain cell to tissue cell). He was, however, the first to use the spinous and transverse processes as levers to restore subluxated vertebrae to their proper position and to develop the philosophy, science, and art of chiropractic adjustments.

Today, millions of patients throughout the world visit their chiropractor's office for spinal adjustments. In fact, need for chiropractic has developed so rapidly that America's chiropractic colleges are currently filled to capacity.

To obtain a chiropractic doctorate a minimum of six years of study is required: two years of liberal arts with a science major, and four years of professional study. This four-year program includes anatomy, physiology, bacteriology, inorganic and organic chemistry, hygiene, pathology, diagnosis, and X-ray as well as chiropractic science, philosophy, and technique. All 50 states license chiropractors who have proved themselves competent upon examination.

The most popular seminar training of the chiropractic profession is conducted by the Parker Chiropractic Research Foundation. Originating 26 years ago and based in Ft. Worth, Texas, six seminars are held annually under the guidance of Dr. James W. Parker, the founder and president. Under Parker's instruction and associate lecturers' guidance, improved methods of enhancing the chiropractor's skills to provide the best health care possible are learned.

Every human being could benefit either restoratively or preventatively from the natural healing art of chiropractic care. Intervertebral discs, the pad-like structures that absorb shocks to the body and give shape to the spine by forming secondary curves, are from the day of birth thinned by gravity. Gravity, the greatest stress on humanity, impedes erect posture and may cause vertebral subluxations.

These subluxations result in spinal nerve impingement. Human beings have 31 pairs of intervertebral foramina (openings between the segments of the spinal column through which the spinal nerves pass for the transmission of spinal nerve impulses). These nerves are the means by which the brain communicates with the rest of the body. Thus, the nerves radiating from the spinal column are linked to various organs and structures. When there is an alteration from the proper alignment of spinal vertebrae, however, the involved spinal nerves will receive abnormal pressure and not allow for healthful nerve energy transmission to take place. Dysfunction in areas of the body to which these nerves are connected is also likely to occur.

Because your body's immune system requires uninterrupted nerve energy, vertebral subluxations could cause a breakdown of this system. Chiropractic helps to counter this breakdown by building natural immunity. Germs, including various bacteria and viruses do not cause disease. It is an unhealthy body with unhealthy tissue that allows a comfortable haven for germs to exist. To better illustrate this point, you have tuberculosis bacteria in your lungs right now; however, you don't have tuberculosis because you have a healthy functioning immunity system. If your diet is poor, if you're lacking proper rest, if you're not exercising for endurance, and if your nervous system is impaired by vertebral subluxations, your body is a potential breeding ground for bacteria or virus! Doesn't it make sense then to have your spine examined and evaluated for possible health problems?

Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems in health care today is that people do not receive the proper attention they require for their particular health problems. Many individuals look to chiropractic as the last resort instead of the first. For instance, the victim of a car accident who sustains "whiplash" should first consult a chiropractor to determine the extent of injury to the spine. (If another specialist is necessary, the chiropractor is qualified to make that judgement and recommend the particular specialist.) In some cases, if proper attention is not received soon enough, irreparable damage may result.

The chiropractor's role in relation to health care is to locate areas of the spine where vertebral subluxations exist. The spinal X-ray and chiropractic examination are the tools with which the chiropractor locates these subluxations. (The chiropractic profession was among the first to use X-ray and the Palmer School was the first to offer X-ray instruction.) Interestingly, chiropractic makes no claims of curing anyone of anything. The chiropractor works with the innate (inborn) intelligence of the body. In chiropractic nothing is added or removed from the body. Healing or curing comes from within.

What specifically can a person expect when visiting a chiropractor's office? Most chiropractors conduct a spinal X-ray and chiropractic examinations of the patient. Upon completion of these procedures, the patient will lie on a specially-designed table for facilitation of spinal care and correction. The chiropractor will make specific adjustments on the spinal vertebrae that need correction. Depending on the type of adjustment to be given, the patient assumes one of several positions: lying on his stomach, back, or side; or possibly sitting. The spinal adjustment provided will correct a specific subluxated vertebra and restore it to its juxtaposition with the one above or below. Moreover, the adjustment will remove vertebral pressure from the nerve to allow for the transmission of uninterrupted nerve impulses.

Your doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) will recommend a certain course for restorative care based on his findings. If, after reevaluation of your spine by the nature of your response he determines that an additional specialist is unnecessary, he may recommend further restorative care or begin you on a maintenance program based on your occupation (for instance, a secretary's maintenance program will differ greatly from a construction worker's). The chiropractor may want to see you once a week, every two weeks, every three weeks, or once a month to keep a check on your spine.

Recent history reveals close encounters to the discovery and importance of vertebral subluxation correction. Thomas Edison said, "The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame and in the cause and prevention of dis-ease." Perhaps this prophetic allusion of the modern inventor was to chiropractors and their healing methods that fuse art and science for the greater health of the human body.

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