Q: If I have a pain in the middle of my back, why do you look and correct the spine from the top?
THE STICK ANALOGY:
If you were to take a green stick and you wanted to break it, where would you grab the stick to break it? At the ends! Stress is applied to the ends of the stick, yet it breaks in the middle. The further you bend the stick, the further the splinters in the middle of the stick appear. Where in the stick will it break? In the middle! Similarly, where is the cause of the pressure on your spine? At the ends!
With our body, we know the same thing can happen. A misalignment of the spine allows your head to come off center putting stress in different places of the spine. The rest of the spine tears and strains to hold the head up, putting pressure on nerves that would otherwise not be there. The end result is a different signal that you will inevitably feel. Again, the “splinters” or “pain” is in the middle of the spine, but the cause of the problem is at the end of the spine. Therefore, we use the end of the spine as our focus to correct the whole spine.
Q: Where does the stress in my spine and back come from?
BOWLING BALL ANALOGY:
Your head is similar in shape and weight to a bowling ball. If you were to hold a bowling ball above your chest, you would most likely put it over your shoulder because it is the easiest way to hold it. When it is over the shoulder, you can hold the bowling ball for a good deal of time. If you were to move the bowling ball forward (in front of you) 12 inches, you will immediately notice it is harder to hold the bowling ball and your muscles would quickly get tired. The same concept occurs with the human body and its relationship to your head. Your head is made, by design, to balance over your shoulders and hips on top of your spine. At some point in your life, if your spine has an injury and becomes misaligned (allows your head to come off center), your body loses that natural biomechanical balance. At this point, the rest of the spine and supporting muscles have to work much harder to hold your head up over your hips, just as your arms have to work much harder when the bowling ball moves forward. Our job is to realign the skull over your hips and spine (balanced) such that the supporting structures of the spine will not be strained, over-worked, and unduly worn.
Q: How can you touch one part of the spine and affect the whole thing?
FLAT TIRE ANALOGY:
If you have ever had a flat tire, the first thing you notice is the steering pulls to the side of the flat tire. When you pull over and realize that not only is the tire flat, but the front end has fallen, and the opposite rear end has come up. The engine, shocks, struts, springs, etc have all been effected by this flat tire. The owner’s manual tells us exactly what to do. The experts, from the manufacture, who know everything about that car suggest that if you put a jack in one very particular location under the car, click by click, you can move the whole car back into its original position. Once the car is in this position, the bad tire/car’s injury can be addressed. In this case, the tire is replaced, then the jack is released, and the car sits back in its neutral position, level and ready to run.
It is very much the same with the work that we do. Using the laws of physics, combined with hundreds of hours of studying, we are able to use our intellect and not a necessarily our strength to work your body back into correct alignment. Once the body is in alignment, it is ready to begin healing.
CAR ALIGNMENT ANALOGY:
Why re-align a car? Any car owner knows that if your car is out of alignment, the tires will wear unevenly. This is an unarguable fact. What some people do not realize is your shocks, struts, springs, ball joints, etc are also stressed. All of these parts of the car are being abnormally worn and torn too. Replacing the tires will not fix the problem. Driving the car less often, faster or in a different fashion will not stop the wear and tear effects. But we do know, that the longer we have the misalignment and the more severe it becomes, the greater the wear and tear becomes on the car and the more expensive it can become to fix.
People, like cars, are subject to the same rules. A misaligned spine will change the biomechanics of your body. In other words, it affects the way our arms, legs, and all the joints of your body function and how they move. Any misalignment in your spine will abnormally wear and tear the discs in the spine, the knee joint, hip joint, shoulder joint, and other weight bearing joints. The biggest and most important difference is that you cannot replace joints of the body like a joint in a car. The joint surgeries of the body are much more painful and expensive.
If you have ever had the joy of playing on a teeter-totter as a parent or child, you might begin to realize that there are certain laws of physics involved. For example, if you have a fifty pound child on one side of the teeter-totter, you can simply push down with your hand on your side and move your child up and down rather effortlessly. If you might remember from childhood, with two equal children playing on the toy, it does not take much effort for them to go up and down. That is because the teeter-totter is designed with physics in mind and it allows us to move a great deal of weight without a great deal of effort. We use those laws in our office to produce the greatest amount of results in our patients while still maintaining a gentle, reproducible and non-painful correction of the spine.
Q: How can you feel the problems in my spine when you are correcting my spine?
If you have ever been fishing, this will hit home. I refer to bass fishing because its my favorite. I tie a lure (wee R) to my line and cast it out 30 yards. When the lure goes under water, I cannot see it, so how do I know what its doing? Training.
My first time fishing, every rock I bumped, every twig I hit, I thought it was a fish! After a while, I learned to discern the difference between a rock, a twig, and a bite. How do we know if it is a fish? We are trained to feel the difference. Even though our lure is 20 yards away and out of sight. The only way we know if there is a fish biting is by what we feel. We feel an energy running through the line to the pole your hand. Being able to differentiate between these energies makes you a good fisherman or a bad fisherman.
We do the same thing. Our x-rays give us the appropriate spot to cast from and the atlas is the sweet spot near the fallen over tree (our favorite “lucky” fishing hole. From there, we feel all the way down the spine for the “snags/fish” that are keeping you from being healthy.
Q: How do you move the bones in my mid and low back by contacting the neck?
Take 5 quarters and put them end-to-end. Place your finger on the end quarter and send another quarter sliding into it. If done correct, the quarter will send a force through all the other quarters and only move the last one. Repeat the steps and all the quarters one by one will move apart or what we call unlock from each other. We use the same forces to unlock the parts of your spine that are stuck together.
With each adjustment, we are placing a force into your spine, however imperceptible. This force translates to the last fixed joint of your spine and helps break down the resistance that is preventing that joint from moving properly. Once that resistant force has been broken down in that segment, we begin to work on the next one. We keep on breaking down those forces until all of the resistant forces in the spine have been let go and the spine is in alignment again.
Q: Why do you only take pictures at the top of the spine?
EMPIRE STATE BUILDING ANALOGY:
When we look at the spine, we are looking for the change from a central balanced point. We can use the Empire State building as a great example. On a windy day we visit the Empire State Building and stop on the first floor looking to see how the wind is affecting the building. The building may move on the first floor a quarter inch. If we move up to the 100th floor, the wind may move this floor back and forth 12-14 inches. Here it is easy to see a measurable change and the effects of the wind at the 100th floor as opposed to the 1st floor. The wind is affecting the whole building, but it is easier to measure the actual effects at the top. The same is true with the body. We have an injury in the lower spine deviating a fraction of a millimeter, the injury will amplify as it goes up the spine and make a larger, easier to measure misalignment. It is much easier to see the alignment get better from the perspective of the whole building rather than looking at just one level. On a windy day, the first floor moving an inch may have us think that everything above is just fine, when in fact, this is not the case.
Q: What is stressing and how does it affect me and my alignment?
STACK OF BLOCKS ANALOGY:
We sometimes look at your spine as a stack of blocks. Take some building blocks and stack them up on a table. Then bump the table. You will see the stack start to wobble (we call this stressing). The stack is still in tact, yet it is unstable. While it is unstable, your body will be working to hold everything together, thus you may feel soar and achy at varied times when the body shifts.
If I were to try and adjust your spine in this state, it will be like you trying to grab one of the blocks to stop the rest of them. What will happen if you will grab one? The rest of the blocks could fall. This, for your spine, would promote instability. We need to wait for the body to learn how to stabilize it’s self. When it does, you will hold your alignment longer and stress less often. That is our goal.
Q: Once I come to you will I have to come in all the time the rest of my life?
OIL CHANGES ANALOGY:
When you buy a car, do you ask if you will ever have to change the oil or even the tires? No, you expect that you will have to maintain the car to keep its performance. The amount of use as well as how hard we are on our vehicles relate to how much maintenance is necessary to keep them running smoothly. The reason people change their oil, have tune-ups and follow through on other preventative maintenance is because it is just flat out cheaper. The longer you use something that is not working well, e.g. driving with your oil light on, the more damage you can do to the system.
Our goal is to get you back on your feet and driving again. Our office’s personal goal is to see you in the least number of office visits without compromising the quality of care or losing the progress of each previous visit. Our next goal is to help you maintain this potential and allow you to enjoy life. Many people have ups and downs with health with a recurring problem that doesn’t bother him but once a year. The problem happens when the health problem hits, it knocks you out for 2 weeks.
Financially, it would it be cheaper if they visited us preventatively and not have to have two weeks of down time. Time is the most valuable commodity in the world. Once it is gone, it is gone. Our office view is much like the prevention people put into their cars, just like getting your oil changed. Remember, if you forget to change the oil and your car dies, you get another one. If you neglect your body long enough, you cannot get another body.
Q: What is happening while you correct my spine?
FORCES YOU CANNOT SEE MAKE A GREAT DIFFERENCE:
Lets look at light, the basis for all life. It is an invisible energy. We cannot see it, yet when light hits an object, we see a reflection of it. We can feel light hitting our skin and warming us, we can focus light and burn objects. Light exists and we cannot see it. Without it, where would we be?
Wind erodes the Rocky Mountains everyday and gives them shape. We can feel the breeze as it moves across the skin. We can see the wind move the leaves on trees, yet we cannot put a finger on wind!
Gravity holds all of us to the earth. It is a force we deal with every second of every day. We see its effects on a tree growing straight up from the side of a steep mountain, or something as simple as dropping a rock. We know it exists, yet we cannot put a finger on it or hold it in our hand.
The forces we use to correct your spine you cannot perceive in action, but you can perceive in results. Changes that occur in your body due to the effect of our forces through out your spine.
HAMMER AND NAIL ANALOGY:
If you have ever hit a nail with a hammer, there are many lessons to be learned. How we setup the nail to be hit matters, just as how we set you up to be corrected. A nail functions best if held perpendicular to the wood. Some people want to hit it really hard and smash it into the wood with one big hit. Others hit it rather gently and work it gradually and slowly into the wood. Most people who wind up and hit it incorrectly end up bending the nail or the nail goes in but at the wrong angle. Some miss the nail all together. We believe in the second approach. Although slower, we can slowly, gently and effectively work your spine back into alignment thought our adjustments. The other benefit is there is not that sudden and sometimes painful force that people often associate with traditional chiropractic care.
Q: How can the spine affect my muscles/organs?
LIGHT BULB ANALOGY:
Lets look at light bulb in the ceiling as an example. There is a switch at the entrance to the room, a switch at the power box, and a power source coming in the house. When you enter a dark room, do you immediately think there is a problem with the light bulb? No. We reach over and try the switch. If after flipping the switch, it still does not turn on, you will look at the bulb more closely, potentially replacing it. If that still doesn’t work, you might think the circuit breaker is blown, but the majority of the time the problem will be the switch.
Relating this to the spine, the brain is the electricity, the atlas is the circuit breaker, the nerves coming off the spinal cord are the light switches, and the parts of the body are the light bulbs. We look someone and they are telling us that this bulb and that bulb aren’t working so well, we don’t want to replace them. We want to look and see if the bulb had the switch turned on and if the breaker is flipped. The medical profession only look at the light bulb. They get paid to replace the light bulb!
Q: How is a misalignment of my spine affecting me?
KINK IN THE HOSE ANALOGY:
Have you ever pulled out the hose to water the garden? You turn on the water and as you drag the hose to the garden, the water flow cuts in half. What happened? Well the typical logical answer is there is a kink in the hose. The nerve system is like the hose, it sends messages (like water) throughout the body. When there is a compromise in the spinal cord or the hose, the messages take a lot longer to get across. This slows process stresses the whole system. The job may still be accomplished, but the time it takes to complete is much longer, which keeps you working instead of relaxing! Other times, when the brain and the body trade confused signals, a job gets done but not a necessarily the right one.
Q: What do my films mean? What are you looking for on my films?
INTERSTATES AND FILMS ANALOGY:
Picture 1: The picture from the front shows your head and neck. What we are looking for, is a kink between your neck and your skull. When a kink is present, it makes me think of a four lane interstate that is under road construction. The road has a potential of four lanes traveling at 80 miles per hour, but now it is going to be one lane at 80 mph. The potential of the road has decreased by 75%. Everyone still reaches their destination, it just takes a lot longer! Taking the stress off the spinal cord allows for free fast travel and communication between the brain and the body.
Picture 2: The picture from the top we look for a twist in the spine. I consider a twist in the spine like an exit from the interstate! When your spine is aligned the exit will look like a diamond exit. The nerve can go 80 mph all the way to the end of the road. When a twist occurs, the nerves start traveling off the interstate on a cloverleaf path. Here the nerves get stressed going around the curves just as a car even going slow has a good chance of sliding off the edge of the road. You have to slow down tremendously to keep from stressing the car, yourself, and staying on the road. We want to keep the spinal cord untwisted and allow the nerves to flow freely at full speed.
Q: What should I expect after my first correction?
We expect to see three things after the first adjustment.
1. You may be hungrier than normal.
a. Your body will need nutrition to heal the damaged and strained muscles that have been over worked for so long. It will also need nutrition to build up the muscles that have not worked in a while.
2. You may be more tired than normal.
a. Think of a baby that sleeps all the time when they are young. The baby is spending a lot of time growing. The body needs time to heal you and the best healing time is when your sleeping/resting.
3. You may be more thirsty than normal.
a. You body has stored up toxins ever since the spine lost its alignment. You body could demand more fluids to help wash out those toxins, thus you could become thirsty.
4. You may be sore.
a. The joints in your spine were locked. In the locked position, some muscles will be strained and overworked; the rest will be apathetic because they have not been used in a long time. Generally, people feel more relaxed after the correction. This is the release of the overworked muscles. In the next day or two the patient may be sore because the apathetic muscles are starting to work again. This soreness will be like a first workout soreness. It should be gone between 36 to 48 hours.
Q: Why don’t we take pictures every visit?
Lets say you lock yourself out of your house. You call a locksmith and ask them to find you a key to your lock. He comes over and he may try a key, make a modification, and maybe even a second. When he gets it he says, “yes key number 10 is the correct one! Now go and make a couple copies of this, OK!” You don’t go and make a key as suggested and the very next day you lock yourself out again. Again, you call the locksmith to report your mishap. He says, “Oh yes, you’re the person with Key Number 10.” He walk to the boar of keys, picks up a number 10, drives to your house and with one turn opens your door. He knows how to unlock your door now! I consider your first two visits an investigation to learn how to find the key to your spine. We take a great deal of time to ensure we are able to unlock the joints in your spine to allow you to move freely and uninhibited. Once we find the correct key, we can unlock the spine when you are unable to!
Q: Why do I only have bad discs in certain areas of the spine?
DISCS AND TIRES WORN ANALOGY:
Again, looking at a car that has misaligned tires, you can still do all your driving actives and function. After a while, you will notice that the tires on your car are bald on one edge and almost untouched on the other edge. This shows us that a car will show undue wear and tear in the respective areas of the car that are over worked or stressed. The same thing happens with the spine. The locked-up joints of the spine do not allow the discs to properly get nutrition in and wastes out. When this happens, the cells of the disc start to die. As they die, the disc starts to shrink. This is what we see on the film otherwise known as disc degeneration.
Q: What will it cost to fix my problem in your office?
COSTS AND MECHANICS:
When you call a mechanic and say, “I have a ping under my hood, how much will it cost to fix?” What will the mechanic say to you? “Well I cannot give you an estimate until you bring your car in and I take a look under the hood. After taking a look and run a couple tests, I can give you a rough estimate.” Our office wants to first make sure that we understand what your problem is – that is why we have a detailed case history. Secondly we want to understand the mechanics of what is going on inside – thus we have examinations. Third, we never guess at something as important as your health, so we take very precise, low dose x-rays to SEE what is really going on in inside. After that we would be able to determine if it is something that we would be able to help with or not.