Questions I wish patients would ask.

Sure, every website has FAQs, but here are some SAQs.  (Should Ask Questions)

 Every patient wants to know 4 things:

1.  What do I have?

2.  Can you help me?

3.  How long will it take to get well?

$.  How much will it cost?

Even brain dead doctors do a pretty good job of answering those questions.  The following are some questions that my patients never ask me.

How does my nervous system work and why does chiropractic make it work so well?

I’ll try and make the complex subject of neurology really simple.   20% of your central nervous system is in your spinal cord.  If Martians came down to Earth, they wouldn’t say, “Oh look there is North America and there is South America.”  They would just say, “Look there is this big piece of something over there in the western hemisphere.”  For some reason, even doctors end up being trained to think of the brain and spinal cord as two separate entities.  Trust me; one can’t work without the other.

The skull protects the brain and the spinal column protects the spinal cord.  What most people don’t know is that the spinal joints that allow us to bend also contain special nervous tissue receptors that signal the brain about what is going on in its environment.  These receptors are in all joints and muscles; it’s just that there is a higher population of them in the spinal joints, especially as you go up towards the head. 

Picture receptors as sensors that tell you things like if it’s hot or cold.  They interpret if you are being touched with deep pressure or vibrated, tasting something sweet or bitter, etc.  Receptors send boring raw data of our entire experience on Earth to our brains so that data can be interpreted, which now lets us know what is really happening to us and around us.  Sound waves stimulate ear receptors and light beams stimulate retinal receptors.   Light is just photons, but when those photons are reflected off a face, they get digitized by our retinas and after being sent to different quadrants in our brain, we associate an actual person with those particles of light energy. 

All these receptors, when mapped out on the brain’s surface, make up a small percentage of gray matter.  The joint and muscle receptors take a much greater precedence in the brain.  It’s only natural when you think about it.  There is not always a Mozart concert or even just day light to stimulate our nervous systems.  Without stimulation or input into the system, there is not a whole lot of output.  We’ve all heard of the child that was thrown into a closet for the first few years of his life.  He is never going to have the same human qualities than those of us who were raised normally.

Being human is dependent upon central nervous system stimulation.  There is only one stimulus that is constantly affecting us earthlings.  That would be… yes, you guessed correctly, gravity.  Gravity is the most important thing us humans require, not just because we don’t want to float away when we get out of bed.  It’s gravity that charges up our brains.  It does this by way of the special receptors in muscles and joints that I mentioned above.  Medicine refers to these receptors as mechanoreceptors and even sometimes as gravity receptors.  They surround our joints and are also in our muscles. 

They allow us to shake a hand firmly and pick up an egg without breaking it.  They allow us to stand up and walk in earth’s gravitational field, which is no easy feat.  Standing is so complicated that we developed a part of our brain that is larger than any other animals.  It’s called the cerebellum and it allows us to utilize gravity;  not just combat it. 

Cerebellums do so much more, but that is as far as we’re going with it today. Doctors use to say with reference to low back pain that gravity was the adversary of mankind.  Turns out, that is very wrong.  Gravity is what feeds our brains.  Astronauts that were out in space for a long time use to come back with crippling back pain.  Now, they have them exercise strenuously to stimulate the mechanoreceptors in the joints and muscles to make up for the lack of gravitational stimulation.  Without gravitational stimulation the muscles wither away.  Weak muscles hurt.

The reason why chiropractic often fixes not only back aches but visceral metabolic disorders as well, (headaches, allergies, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, and many other conditions and syndromes) is because chiropractic treatment directly affects the quality of the output of these receptors that are vital to central nervous system function. 

These receptors stimulate the brain stem, which is the start of the autonomic nervous system.  This ancient part of the brain stimulates vital centers at the top of the spinal cord and drives all pathways.  Heart, respiration, temperature, digestion are a few of systems it controls.  Other pathways go to the start of the autonomic nervous system as well.  For instance the miracle of prayer.  You are thinking, the frontal lobes fire up and stimulate the autonomic nervous system.  Religion likes to take credit for it, but it’s just physiology. 

The witch doctor points at you and you die, a little too much stimulation to your pituitary and too much adrenalin gets made, you get a pvc (premature ventricular contraction) and behold the power of negative thinking.  However, this explains why, especially out in California, how so many different types of practitioners can get good results.  If the brain gets stimulated to an activation threshold level, things begin to work.  Chiropractic is superior at getting to that maximum level.  

That is not to say that the doctor who gives you a colonic, while simultaneously has you humming an Indian Mantra, looking at some nice colored crystals, beating a mattress with a baseball bat, and declaring that you hate your parents isn’t going to get some results. 

I was going to stop there, but maybe you want further clarification.  Let’s talk about maximum stimulus.  That’s what we want these days judging by the sales of energy drinks.  Central nervous system maximum stimulus is a little different.  If you close your eyes you wouldn’t be blind.  You just wouldn’t be able to see.  I could ping your eyeballs with my fingers and make you see stars and you would agree that something was happening. 

The best way to make an eye ball work is to shine some light in it.  If I shined a light in your ears not much would take place in your head.  If I yelled into your nose, there wouldn’t be a big jump on the electroencephalograph.    

Each receptor has its own maximum stimulus.  When you go for a massage it feels good.  The pressure you are feeling is stimulating pressure receptors.  Sadly, there are no pressure receptors in muscles.  Those receptors are in the fascia surrounding the muscles.  It turns out the best way to make a muscle work is to stimulate the gravity receptors in them, (the 1a spindle cells and the 1B Golgi cell receptors, think Yoga, prolonged stretching) 

Happily for me, it turns out that the maximum stimulus( this means “THE BEST Stimulus”) to the human nervous system (not just muscles) is a fast stretch decavitation of the spinal joints.  That is a scientific way of saying that back cracking that chiropractors are known for.  I have to gloat a little, but it turns out that the treatment that chiropractors were once vehemently ridiculed for is the best way to make the central nervous system optimally function.

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