Throughout the last 100 years, there have been many myths regarding the practice of chiropractic. The term quack was coined during the middle ages from the Dutch word, quacksalver (literally, a seller of salves) and became in the last century a term to indicate a fraudulent and huckstering or over promotion of medical treatments, procedures or products. It has been taken up and applied often erroneously to deprecate many new treatments and therapies that established medical organizations consider either ineffective or valueless. The term still exists today throughout social media – and is misapplied to non-mainstream alternative medical treatments.
Chiropractic has been around since 1895 and its practitioners use over 250 different procedures. Its defining principle is that the body is self-healing when correctly balanced and aligned, and when in this state, it can handle just about anything. When we have a symptom, our body is communicating to us that it is in a weakened state. Chiropractors choose to look at symptoms as the body’s information system that is alerting us that we need to get healthy. How we approach the correction of that state varies considerably.
There are two big myths about our profession:
- All chiropractors twist, pop, and crack the neck and back
- All chiropractors treat is neck and back pain
Neither of these myths is true. Chiropractors are a very diverse group and our procedures are significantly different. Many chiropractors do twist, pop, and crack. However, there is a growing branch in chiropractic that has moved to a scientifically based measurable approach called Upper Cervical work. The Upper Cervical is the upper area of the spine – the vertebrae called C0, C1, and C2 – which are closest to the head and the brain stem. Upper Cervical Chiropractic is measurable, predictable, and uses an extremely light touch (no more pressure than is needed to take a pulse) without any twisting, popping, or cracking. Quantum Spinal Mechanics³(QSM³) is a progressive Upper Cervical Chiropractic procedure.
Upper Cervical measures body misalignment using digital and laser posture diagnostics and 3D opposing x-ray views. The diagnostics allow for corrective results. Not only do you feel better after a correction, but because of our rigorous diagnostic approach you can actually see the difference in the pre- and post- X-rays!
The premise of this corrective protocol is that when the skull, spine, and pelvis are in alignment, the body is in its most optimal health state. This concept is basic and common sense. Straight, balanced and symmetrical is simply correct. When we are off-center due to injury or stress, our bodies compensate for this by trying to push us back to a balanced state that causes compression of the cells and tissues. This can result in muscle spasms, pain, joint asymmetry, and arthritis, and compression of our tissues that diminish blood supply and oxygen, which in turn causes toxin build up. The long-term effect of this breakdown is clearly visible in our senior’s citizen’s posture.
When the body is centered, it is in its highest potential state of tensegrity where it is up and open – like a balloon. (Tensegrity is originally an architectural term coined by Buckminster Fuller to describe what makes his geodesic domes hold their shape. In biomechanics it is when asystem stabilizes itself mechanically by balancing local compression with continuous tension.) This biomechanics model is the foundational science of QSM³, which is supported by Donald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D.
Wyss Institute Founding Director and Core Faculty Member, Harvard Medical School & Boston Children’s Hospital, Professor of Bioengineering, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
There is also medical research that supports the Upper Cervical paradigm. In 2007, a study was conducted by George Bakris MD. Director of the University of Chicago Hypertension Center. The study showed that certain upper cervical procedures actually helped lower blood pressure better than the two leading blood pressure medications.
Using a science-based approach, a light gentle touch, and measurable before and after X-rays, we have been able to help many patients who were literally at the end of their ropes. Unable to find relief through surgery, medications, acupuncture, nutritionists, herbs, massage therapy, virtually endless lists of other treatments, procedures, and products, patients turn to us. We have helped stop their pain and return them to normal productive lives. One patient has suffered from trigeminal neuralgia (a devastating neurological disorder with no cure). She has suffered continuous debilitating pain for nine years and was considering a potentially dangerous brain operation called MVD (micro vascular decompression). After minimal corrections, her pain was reduced by 75%, and after a just a week, she was pain-free for six days.
QSM³ is changing the practice of chiropractics all over the country. It’s specificity for corrective care and its vitalistic diagnostics of the 3D human frame within a tensegrity model has begun to attract both the science minded allopath and the natural health practitioner. Chronic conditions such as TMJD, migraines, vertigo, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, and unsuccessful spinal surgeries have clinical significance as repeatable and successful. Referrals have come from the Neurology Department of the Mayo Clinic, dentists, physicians, and other chiropractors from all over the country.
All new medical approaches are subject to ridicule, charges of quackery, and other defensive attacks from the reigning medical authorities. All you have to do is look at Pasteur, Fleming, and others who braved the accusations and continued their work. Chiropractic should be viewed as an adjunct to other medical treatments. We do not claim to be a cure for everything and everyone, but we are expanding the way science and medicine view the body and its own innate healing abilities.
A critical and enquiring mind looks at all approaches and selects what appears best for him or her. In this time of constantly increasing medical costs, direct to the consumer promotion of medications, and rising insurance rates, it is important to consider the source of some of the “myths” out there. Hopefully, I have been able to debunk at least two of them and offer hope to those in pain.
Russell A. Friedman BSME DC
Board Certified QSM³, NUCCA, Orthospinology