The Philosophy of Chiropractic Care
May 27, 2012 Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care is sometimes thought of as an alternative method of dealing with health problems. The traditional methods may include the aforementioned options of medications and surgery. Both are, arguably, invasive and depend upon forces from outside of the patient’s body to complete the healing process.
Ideally, the body should be able to heal itself. It has a remarkable capacity for regeneration. This assumes that the body’s basic needs are met and that the body is properly maintained. You would not expect a weakened body to be able to perform as well in physical activities as a healthy body so too should you not expect a body that has been weakened by spinal misalignment to be able to perform as well as a healthy body.
While physical activity may be an outward and easily recognized demonstration of inner weakness, the immune system also reflects the health of the body as a whole. If the body is not balanced and maintained then the immune system cannot work at peak efficiency. If a body were out of balance in some other way then this weakening may be more obvious to the casual observer.
If a person were malnourished, for example, you would have no problem linking all the resulting functional deficiencies and internal problems to the malnutrition. So, too, spinal misalignment pervades the many systems, cells, and processes of the body just as proper nutrition does. You would not expect an individual’s body to be as able to fight off infection if they were malnourished. Similarly, a body weakened by poor spinal alignment cannot express its full immune system potential either.
Chiropractic care has as its goal the restoration of the natural ability of the body to heal. It wishes to avoid, whenever possible, going to outside sources to aid in the healing process. One might argue that chiropractic care itself is an outside influence, and this is true to an extent. It is an outside influence, but it only works with the tools already present in the human body.
Instead of introducing something new or removing something from the body, chiropractic care hopes to adjust the body and retrain it to once again embrace its natural state. In its natural state the human body has the ability to take over in the healing process and to take care of any problems in a natural way.
HOW IT DIFFERS FROM TRADITIONAL MEDICINE
Traditional medicine seeks to treat the body using resources from outside of the body. The belief is that something is wrong with the body and must be fixed. It is sometimes believed that only those trained professionals in the medical field have the ability to fix a basically “broken” body by introducing some outside influence into the system. This may be accomplished through the influence of medications or through surgical procedures.
For example, pain may be treated with medications, and muscle injuries may be treated through various surgical procedures. In both instances, foreign influences are used to attempt to fix problems. These techniques, while they have the best of intentions, may be detrimental to the body.
Medications are outside influences on the body. They may have side effects that are often difficult to predict. These adverse effects occur because the medication seeks to provide an influence that the body cannot produce or is currently unable to produce on its own.
Medications have different reactions when they are introduced into different individuals. There is not always one medication that improves a condition for every patient. Instead, there are several choices of medications that must be gone through in a process of trial and error.
Medications meant to help have the potential to harm because their exact effects in a patient’s body are unknown. Surely, there has to be a better method than attempting to give patients medication with unknown effects. Medications cannot be the best substitutes for natural bodily chemicals in all cases.
It would be preferable if there were no need for substitutes at all. If the body were restored to a state of proper functioning then it may be able to produce the correct form of the chemical on its own without having to rely on a synthetic that may attempt to be a substitute but that may not be as effective or effective at all.
This may not always point to chiropractic care, but the philosophy extends beyond one particular method of healing. It is an ideology wherein the simplest, most natural techniques of healing are preferred over invasive techniques that can do harm even as they attempt to promote healing.
If something you were eating was making you sick then you would stop eating it. If something you did was causing you pain then you could stop doing it. You would not want to continue doing something that was harming you just because you could take a pill that would make you numb to its unpleasant effects.
In the case of pills for pain, you would still be doing damage to your system even if you could not feel it. You have not fixed the problem of spinal misalignment. You would only be hiding from it until it once again became impossible to ignore. In such cases, taking pills hides the problem from your sight instead of dealing with it.
Likewise, surgery is invasive. This is not to say that surgery is unnecessary or not a valuable medical tool. In many cases surgery has proven to be helpful for patients with certain conditions. However, in cases where surgery can be avoided, it surely would be a better option to allow the body to heal itself as opposed to forcibly entering the body to make the necessary adjustments.
In cases where something adjustable such as spinal misalignment is causing the problem, the spine may be adjusted to affect the appropriate repairs. The healing could begin and end within the body. If you were to use surgery in a case where spinal misalignment was the source of or a contributing factor to the problem then you may be able to repair the immediate problems but not the circumstances that caused it.
You would be, in essence, buying time. The condition could surely return because the factors that caused it have not been corrected. You would have fixed a symptom of the problem and not the problem itself.
Chiropractic care attempts to, in as unobtrusive a way as possible, help the patient’s body to help itself. It views the body as already complete and often able to affect its own repairs if only allowed to do so.
As previously explained, the spinal column is the route through which signals are sent from the brain to the rest of the body. Spinal misalignment can result in obstructed pathways which can then cause health problems and a decreased ability to heal from those problems.
Chiropractic care seeks to correct the effects of daily life, such as poor posture so that the patient’s body may be returned to a more natural state. Once the body is returned to a more natural state then it is more able to complete repairs on its own.
This method of healing does not truly add or remove anything to or from the body. Rather, it uses the potential already within the body, which may be impeded by spinal misalignment, and seeks to reawaken this dormant potential.
This difference in the philosophy of healing is the most noteworthy aspect of this separation between ideas of healing. Traditional medicine sees the body as having something wrong with it that must be corrected. Someone, presumably a doctor or a surgeon, must go into the body in some manner and correct whatever is wrong. This may be through surgery or through the use of prescription medications. This approach can be problematic because it seeks, in many cases, to remove the problem.
While removing the problem can be helpful and even life saving in some situations, it can easily overlook the issues that causes the health problem in the first place. It can overlook the basic cause and effect chain of events that is occurring within the body. If this chain of causation is overlooked and the resulting medical condition is corrected then the circumstance which caused it may remain. This circumstance may create the same problem again.
It is similar to removing a quantity of fat from a person’s body without changing their nutritional intake or their exercise habits. Once the operation is completed then the deposits of fat will be replaced because the circumstances that initially caused them, the poor diet or lack of exercise, are still present. You have not dealt with the cause of the condition. You have only attempted to fix one of the symptoms. This does not benefit the patient in the long term.
Similarly, you can take a pill for cholesterol or high blood pressure, but if it is an individual’s nutritional intake that is causing or contributing to the problem then you have not dealt with the real cause of the problem. You are attempting to use an artificial means to heal the body when, given the right circumstances, the body could possibly heal itself.
Chiropractic care seeks to give the body that chance to heal itself. With spinal manipulation, it attempts to create the proper circumstances for the body to begin this process of self-healing. Nothing is really introduced into the body, and nothing is taken away. Instead, the body is brought back into its natural balance and then allowed to repair and heal itself as it would naturally because this is the natural way for the body to heal.
It may seem simpler to circumvent this process and attempt to treat the problem with a pill, but it does not benefit the patient in the long run. You can take medications to avoid feeling the pain in your back, but the problem is still there. You have only masked it. There is a problem with masking it.
If your problem has progressed to the point where it is causing you pain then it may continue to progress, and it may once again become a problem you cannot ignore. This time it will be worse because you did not correct the cause when the symptoms first began to manifest to alert you that something was wrong.
It would seem that anyone would agree that the best course of action would be to allow the body to perform its own healing in its own way and in its own time. The body has an innate wisdom all its own. It is a remarkable construct that has a keen awareness for what it does and does not need. Given the right circumstances, self-healing is often a distinct possibility. Chiropractic care provides those right circumstances.
This is not a dismissal of traditional medical practices but a call for re-examination of them. Are they still the best methods that medical professionals have at their disposal? Could these changes in the human body be completed in another manner? Is it time for a re-evaluation of society’s very notion of the healing process?
A shift from the idea of something being wrong with the body and a need for outside forces to fix it could become an idea of a body that is out of balance that needs to have its balance restored. Once restored to a more natural balanced state then the body could be left to its own innate, intuitive healing ability.
WHY CHIROPRACTIC CARE MIGHT BE RIGHT FOR YOU
It may be beneficial to end with a review of the basics of chiropractic care. Chiropractic care seeks to help your body to heal itself. This perspective has been present since the beginning of recorded history. It has evolved into a science that requires thorough training for all those who wish to be licensed to practice.
Chiropractic science is based on the fact that the spine is a conduit for messages to travel to and from the brain. This is the vehicle through which the brain affects the body and through which signals are relayed back to the brain. The state of the spine can affect the entire body’s ability to function.
In chiropractic care, a qualified professional first evaluates a patient and that patient’s spinal alignment to see if chiropractic care is a viable method of treatment for the issues at hand. If other methods of healing might be beneficial in conjunction with chiropractic treatment then those too can be employed to help the patient.
A chiropractor applies pressure to retrain the spine to assume its proper alignment. This is the common image of this healing modality, and it is heart of the physical practice of chiropractic care.
Because chiropractic care seeks to fix the circumstances that created the problems in the first place, it seeks out a lasting solution. A pill may make you feel better, but it may not fix the underlying issue. It is only by rectifying the underlying issue that a patient finds true lasting relief. This is the philosophy that underlies the practice of chiropractic treatment.
This may seem to be an alternative approach for a society that prefers instant cures, but true healing must deal with the underlying issues. True healing takes time.
Chiropractic care is not about avoiding other avenues of healing. It is about finding the most effective, natural, and least intrusive method for a patient to heal.
Chiropractic care helps your body to heal itself the natural way. You can ignore the pain or you can take a pill to make it go away, but in many cases this only avoids the matter at hand. These actions or a state of inaction will not necessarily heal the problem and may even allow your condition to get worse.
Would you want to have surgery when your body may be able to heal itself with a little help? Would you want to take a pill knowing that the problem may still be there even if you no longer feel it? Do you want a body that has the ability to heal itself?
Chiropractic care is all about natural healing. It is meant to restore the natural order that your body needs to function at its best. Because the nature of chiropractic care leads it to restore order to a system that impacts so much of your health, you may not just heal the problems that you have. You might avoid future problems and improve your overall health, and you can do it in a natural way. These are the benefits of chiropractic care.