Everett Chiropractic Center Blog

January 25, 2017

Left Knee Pain

Today a patient wanted me to know that her left knee pain, a pain that she didn’t even tell me about (that part impressed her the most), went away immediately after her last visit – and she hasn’t had that pain since.

Patients often like to hold back from telling me what is bothering them when they come in for any particular visit; and I don’t always  ask. They like to see if I can ‘find’ it without them telling me. Then, when I do, they make a big deal out of that.

When we accept people as patients we try to explain that ours is an “alternative” approach. That we are looking for something (the subluxation complex), and if that have that, they can be a chiropractic patient – as long as it is safe for us to address the subluxation with what we do (in our case the Activator Method). If they do not have that particular condition, they do not qualify as a chiropractic patient; if it wouldn’t be safe to adjust them in the way that we do in this office, they still do not qualify as a chiropractic patient, in this office at least.

Most all of that is lost on most people. They hurt, that is the problem. And they think that it is critically important for them to tell us where they hurt for us to do our job. We go along with the conversation and keep trying to help them understand the difference between a symptom-based approach and the chiropractic approach. First patients have to feel better. We know that. The rest is a bonus.



December 1, 2014

900th Blog Post

I started this Blog in December, 2005 for the benefit of patients, and others, who want help with health-related decisions. In pure permaculture fashion it simultaneously serves many purposes but, mostly, it’s a resource. It’s not all good, but some of it is great – and it’s usually easy to tell the difference (sometimes I am lazy; some days are better than others:-)

This Blog is a way to share what I’ve learned in over 40 years as a health nut and fitness fanatic, over 30 years as a Chiropractor, and over 20 years as a Tai chi guy. As an athlete since age 11, I know a little about sports injuries; as a chiropractor for over 30 years I know a little about pain and injury, relief, rehab, recovery – and prevention. And as a Tai chi guy I have learned a lot about putting all of that (and much more) together in a way that makes the whole greater than the sum of all the parts.

So on this, the 900th Post, I write to remind you that a simple search (just type the word in the search box to the right) of any one of the following terms or phrases will pull up a list of Posts on the subject. Scroll down the list of Posts to find the one that targets your interest, or read them all to get a fuller picture.

One feature that, so far, has never been used to full advantage is the Comments function. Use it if you want to give feedback (they all get sent to my email) or if you want the subject of that Post to be part of a conversation back and forth (you might have a question).

Here is a list of search terms that you might find productive:

back pain
back injury
neck pain
knee pain
shoulder pain
Activator Method
Activator Adjusting
Activator Instrument
Subluxation Complex
forward head posture
bending and lifting
back exercise
strength training
back muscles
back safety
tai chi
balance training
fall prevention
blue green algae
fish oil
olive oil
green drink
oil pulling
Kangen Water
nervous system
medical doctor
industrial complex

November 17, 2013

Treatment Choices in Work-Related Back Pain, More Or Less Disability Risk

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We talk until were are blue in the face. We point to the mounting scientific evidence. You choose.

Here a report from a study done last year adds more to the picture.

The punch line from the abstract is:

Conclusions: In work-related nonspecific LBP, the use of health maintenance care provided by physical therapist or physician services was associated with a higher disability recurrence than in chiropractic services or no treatment.

I like the introductory paragraph of the study. It should remind you of dozens of Posts on this Blog. Here it is:

“Low back pain (LBP) continues to be one of the costliest work-related injuries in the United States in terms of disability and treatment costs.1,2 An additional, important component of the human and economic costs is the recurrence of LBP.3 Recurrences of LBP are complex to study because of the difficulty in predicting recurrence and the varying definitions and measurements of recurrence.4–9 So far, there has been little success in preventing recurrent LBP with few studies to investigate this topic. More evidence is needed to understand recurrent LBP and justify interventions to prevent recurrence.”

It’s infinitely interesting to me that by far the most common back pain is still referred to as “mechanical”, “nonspecific” or “simple” back pain, yet (1) the causes baffle the authorities, (2) standard medical treatments are often worse than the problem, and (3) “there has been little success” in preventing back pain or recurrences of back pain.

If you review the Posts here on the subject of disability and natural history you will find that these issues are not mysteries to everyone. There is help. It is effective, safe and affordable. And an once of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Yet, it isn’t “simple” and it isn’t just “mechanical”. That’s why, in Chiropractic, we refer to areas of spinal dysfunction involving joints, muscles, nerves, etc. as Vertebral Subluxation Complexes, because it’s complex.

November 13, 2012

What does it mean to “hold” your Chiropractic adjustment?

An “adjustment” is what the Chiropractic doctor does to restore motion to joints that are experiencing restricted movement.

The term “Subluxation” or “Subluxation Complex” are chiropractic terms referring not just to the joint restriction but also all the “complex” effects of that restriction: namely the neurological effects, but also the muscular, inflammatory, and other effects. The restored normal (or at least more normal) joint motion starts the chain of events that normalizes all the other effects that resulted from the joint restriction. Simple right? Actually it isn’t, but that’s a subject for another Post.

To “hold an adjustment” means to retain the joint motion that was accomplished by the adjustment. Holding your adjustment means that you don’t need to be adjusted: a good thing. (Since being out of adjustment may not cause pain and being in adjustment might not mean there is no pain, it is important to be checked to find out whether you need to be adjusted or not. Again, a subject for another Post, but you can guess who is the only one in a position to make that assessment.)

So the next question is how? How do you hold an adjustment?

1. Attempt to stop doing whatever it was that caused the subluxation in the first place, whatever that was or is.
2. Follow whatever specific advice your Chiropractic doctor offers, like not sleeping on your stomach or side, or taking breaks from sitting at work, or whatever.
3. Most common, especially once you are out of pain if pain is part of your motivation for seeking care, is exercises. These are specifically targeted (at least in our office) at keeping the joints we adjust freely moving, without irritating other inflamed tissues. Other exercises are specifically targeting the strengthening, endurance or stretching that will allow you to stabilize your spine so that you have both normal mobility and stability.
4. Nowadays it isn’t fashionable for doctors to recommend rest, but that’s really silly considering how hard most people are working. Recovery from the effects of subluxation is not much different than recovery from working out at the gym: you need rest.

These things will help you “hold” your adjustments.

October 24, 2012

The “Chiropractic Reflex”

A Little Oversimplified:-)

B = brain cell
SC= spinal cord
N = nerve
M = muscle
J = joint

I use this graphic to explain to new patients how the chiropractic adjustment has it’s effects on the body in restoring health.

When the joint doesn’t move well… the nerve signal leaving the joint going to the spinal cord is abnormal. Incoming abnormal impulses result in outgoing abnormal impulses to the muscle making it (almost always) too tight. Tight muscles crossing an already restricted joint don’t help and result in a perpetuation of abnormal nerve signals. And the cycle repeats. (This “abnormal motor pattern” termed the “Subluxation” or “Subluxation Complex” in chiropractic jargon, goes by other names in other disciplines.)

When present, this Subluxation Complex is often associated with pain, though it may not be. The abnormal wear and tear on the joints causes them to break down (become arthritic), the abnormal stress on muscles causes them to break down (becoming fibrotic – like scar tissue). The abnormal nerve function causes it to break down (the abnormal reflexes are memorized by the nerve system making recovery more complicated and longer, if not impossible).

The chiropractic “Adjustment” restores motion to the restricted joint. The nerve signals normalize going into the spinal cord. Because the outgoing signals are a reflex, normal incoming means normal outgoing – to the muscles which can now relax. The whole cycle now functions normally.

Certain effects have been observed as a result of people receiving chiropractic spinal adjustments. Among them are relief from pain, relaxation, improved sleep, increased energy, improved physical performance. We now know there are positive changes in the brain and improvements in immune, digestive and respiratory function as well in some people. Other effects include a decrease in the use of medication, decreased need for surgery, and cost savings to the patient, the employer and the entire health care system.

July 4, 2012

Risk Factors.2

Filed under: General Health & Wellness, Wellness care — Tags: , , — doctordilday @ 7:36 pm

A few days ago I talked about screening for risk factors and then addressing the risk factors as a way to prevent disease. Cause, effect, and the odds of getting disease were discussed. Here I will mention the mirror image of that approach. Suppose you wanted to cause health. Health is defined as having all the parts working 100% of the time at 100% full function. It’s an ideal.

In chiropractic we talk about the physical, chemical and mental (emotional)  “causes” of dis-ease leading to the subluxation complex. The subluxation complex is most easily recognized as the joints that do not move well and the accompanying nerve system disturbance that eventually results in degeneration, disease and death. The cause of health is not that we make a chiropractic “adjustment” that corrects the subluxation. It’s that the body then responds naturally to become more healthy.

So the chiropractic adjustment is one physical element that will help to cause health. Exercise is another. The more functional and comprehensive the exercise, the better. I like to think of Tai chi as perfect partly because it enhances, corrects or maintains healthy breathing, posture, sitting, standing, walking, bending and lifting as well as getting up and down off the ground for starters (all things we all do all day, and things that profoundly influence every other aspect of our lives). In presentations on the subject a table is generated with a list of possible exercise choices down the left side and a list of the benefits across the top. Given the appropriateness, available time, energy, money and other resources necessary, the exercise with the greatest number of benefits associated with it emerges as the “best” choice for any given individual (or company) at any given time.

Likewise in the area of chemistry (think diet, including water, etc.) it is often useful to think in terms of the effect of making a choice. As just one example we talk about the JuicePlus+ Effect. What this means is, what would be the effect of taking JuicePlus+ (or any other dietary choice). We know from gold standard clinical research some of the effect of taking JuicePlus+. We also know what the people on JuicePlus+ say the effect is for them (a little lower quality of research). Those lists are here if you are interested.

I have also recently talked about the effect of Juice Fasting (the Joe from Australia – jointhereboot – way), and mentioned that in comparison other (Blender) options. We will be discussing the whys and why nots as well as sampling a variety of different juices from different machines at an event in our office in August 9th at 6:30 p.m. if you are interested.

It’s the physical, chemical and mental/emotional choices we make that determines our path: health or disease. We can all look at our past and our present to see in which direction we are going. One of our great powers is the power to make these choices daily for ourselves.

Happy 4th of July!

October 25, 2017

“I had no idea chiropractic was covered by insurance.”

That from today’s new patient. If you know anyone suffering from back pain, neck pain, or headaches (or knee pain, or shoulder pain, or… or…), you would be doing them a great service to mention that chiropractic might help them.

A chiropractic patient is qualified as a chiropractic patient because they need chiropractic care, not because of their complaints, or lack of complaints.

We look for a condition that is often no painful – it will likely eventually become painful. It may be painful, it may not. The condition we look for and attempt to prevent, correct, or manage is a progressive condition: it will get worse if it is left uncared for. It will lead to degenerative changes, eventually. And this process will lead to disease labels.

If a patient waits too long, there may be little that chiropractic care can do. But you will not know that without an examination, and usually a trial of care.

And if someone you know, work with or are related to is suffering, does have the condition that chiropractors look for and correct, and does not get chiropractic care, there is a good chance that, symptom relief or not, they will still have that condition afterwards. By this I mean medication, physical therapy, massage, may give symptomatic relief; if may not correct the underlying condition causing the symptoms.

It is an old story. We who have been telling it for decades tend to assume everyone knows it. But like insurance coverage, which has been standard for chiropractic care since the early 70’s, not everyone knows.

You need to tell them.

March 15, 2014

What’s wrong with me?


Rephrasing the Subluxation: Capturing Lightning in a Bottle

That’s the name of a recent article by Dr. Anthony Rosner in Dynamic Chiropractic.

I have been going to write some Posts about the Subluxation for some time now, but his article with it’s focus on the nerve system, together with the focus and feature articles highlighting the Brain in the February issue of the National Geographic have compelled me to get with it.

Here is the definition of Subluxation as it will appear soon in the fourth edition of the Clinical Practice Guideline issued by the Council on Chiropractic Practice.

“Subluxation is a neurological imbalance or distortion in the body associated with adverse physiological responses, and/or structural changes, which may become persistent or progressive. The most frequent site for the chiropractic correction of the subluxation is via the vertebral column.”

The point of all of this is that the nerve system is infinitely complex. And when we talk with patients about their neck or back “not working right” it’s an understatement of huge proportions.

For a chiropractor, the answer to the question: “What wrong with me?” is Subluxation. I recently mentioned an article that I wrote for the State chiropractic association on that subject. It’s a condition that is serious; few completely recover from; and no one benefits from having. And it may be completely latent/silent or without symptom. Without being evaluated by a Chiropractic doctor (the only doctor trained to recognize it) you may have no idea that you have it.

Sure there is the whole back pain, neck pain, headache thing. Most of this Blog is about all of that and the relief, rehabilitation, recovery and prevention of those symptoms resulting from subluxation. But, there is another world of causes and effects when it comes to chiropractic care.

The first chiropractic patient was deaf. There is a growing body of research showing the effects throughout the body of receiving chiropractic care – hence the new definition above!

We have all heard that once you start going to a Chiropractor you have to keep going. That keeps all kinds of people away. But is the price paid by not pursuing health really worth it? Like any other so-called professional you need to find a chiropractor that you can trust.

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