Monday, March 10, 2014

Is chiropractic care the missing link: How our musculoskeletal system affects the way we think, move and feel part 1

O.k. so there are a lot of these paleo bloggers on the blogsphere who all have their niches. We have guys like Chris Kresser who is like the researcher guy, Dave Asprey is like the cyclical ketogenic coffee guy, Richard Nikoly is the resistant starch and probiotics guy; etc, etc, etc...

I am not trying to be anything in particular but I am trying to look at things from all aspects. The whole purpose of this blog is to basically wade through this murky river called health. Things are really unclear when it comes to health and there are a lot of factors that play in to what determines if someone is healthy.

My goal is to basically pick apart bits of pieces of information and basically combine the best of all worlds in regards to my own health and performance... while along the way  running my own experiments and hopefully enlightening people to some things as well.

Anyways what I want to cover in this post or rather the next couple of posts is the importance of good chiropractic, massage therapy and basically stuff that relates to the musculoskeletal system. I think this may be under appreciated or rather an overlooked component when it comes to health, especially to the non-athlete in regards to how it can affect all aspects of life.


I think in general athletes both amateur and professional understand the importance of regular manipulation as well as massage therapy in how it relates to recovery and performance in a given sport. However, what about in the terms of things like allergies, autoimmune conditions, stress and cognitive performance. I think in terms of the health of our spine and muscles can also determine if whether certain conditions will manifest themselves or rather how severely.

I know this is probably generally a long introduction to a post but when I blog I usually like to do a bit of stream of consciousness type stuff. But since I am making a concerted effort to make this material more professional here is just a list of facts in regards to chiropractic care that I feel is good to share in regards to this topic.

text via: One Chiropractic Community
  • A 2004 study showed patients who went to Chiropractic Physicians as their primary care providers had a 43% decrease in hospital admissions, 52% reductions in pharmaceutical costs and 43% fewer outpatient surgeries and procedures.(1) (Choose Chiropractic not only to be at your best but also to minimize risk of recommendation of drugs or surgery. Dr. Hanson’s note)
  • A 2010 study by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee found that low back pain care initiated with a Doctor of Chiropractic saves 40% on health care costs when compared with care initiated through a medical doctor.(2)
  • A 2004 study published in the British Medical Journal found spinal manipulation would be “a cost-effective addition to ‘best care’ for back pain in general practice.”(3)
  • A 2010 study at the University of British Columbia found that for lower back pain of less than 16 weeks, guidelines-based care provided by Chiropractic Physicians is significantly more effective than “usual care” provided by medical physicians.(4)
  • In a follow-up 2007 study to the one above, patients enrolled in a Doctor of Chiropractic network experienced fewer hospital visits, spent less time in a hospital for care, underwent fewer surgeries and used far fewer pharmaceuticals than other HMO patients who received traditional medical care.(5) (Decreased use of hospitals, surgeries and pharmaceuticals – who doesn’t want that? Dr. Hanson’s note)
  • In a 2009 report by Arnold Milstein, MD, MPH of Mercer Health Benefits, and Niteesh Choudhry, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School found “…when considering effectiveness and cost together, Chiropractic Physician care for low back and neck pain is highly cost effective, [and] represents a good value in comparison to medical physician care…”(6)
  • According to a 2004 article in the Journal Spine: Spinal manipulative treatment for both chronic and acute lower back pain was more effective and provided more short-term relief than many other types of care, including prescription drugs, physical therapy and home exercise.(7)
Don't get me wrong I do think there are definitely some weirdos as well as evil fucking schills that exist in this world of chiropractors its probably just the nature of the job though. Its a fringe medical professional that is largely under appreciated and has a real fucking weird history to it.

Here is an excerpt from a Wikipedia article about D.D. Palmer 


 text via Wikipedia:
 Palmer was born in Pickering, Ontario, to Katherine McVay and Thomas Palmer.[2][3] At age twenty he moved to the United States with his family. Palmer held various jobs as a beekeeper, school teacher, and grocery store owner, and had an interest in the various health philosophies of his day, such as magnetic healing, and Spiritualism. Palmer practiced magnetic healing beginning in the mid-1880s in Burlington and Davenport, Iowa.

Palmer worked as a magnetic healer in Davenport, Iowa. His office was located in the South Putnam Building of the Ryan Block, at the intersection of Second and Brady Streets. While working, he encountered the building's janitor, Harvey Lillard, who Palmer discovered had a palpable lump in his back. Lillard's hearing was severely impaired and Palmer theorized that the lump and his hearing deficits were related. Palmer then treated Lillard and claimed to have successfully restored his hearing,[1] a claim which was influential in Chiropractic history.

His theories revolved around the concept that altered nerve flow was the cause of all disease, and that misaligned spinal vertebrae had an effect on the nerve flow. He

postulated that restoring these vertebrae to their proper alignment would restore health.
"A subluxated vertebra ... is the cause of 95 percent of all diseases ... The other five percent is caused by displaced joints other than those of the vertebral column."[1]

By 1902 the school had graduated 15 chiropractors. In 1906, Palmer was prosecuted under the new medical arts law in Iowa for practicing medicine without a license, and chose to go to jail instead of paying the fine. As a result, he spent 17 days in jail, but then elected to pay the fine. Shortly thereafter, he sold the school of chiropractic to his son, B. J. Palmer. With the help of an arbitration committee, the deal was settled for $2,196.79, various books, and some specimens from the osteological collection. As soon as the sale of the school was finalized, D.D. Palmer went to the West Coast, where he helped to found chiropractic schools in Oklahoma, California, and Oregon. 
Continuing on to the weirdness that is chiropractic medicine here is what a general philosophy of the treatment is.

text via Wikipedia:
 Chiropractic philosophy includes the following perspectives:[2]
  • Holism assumes that health is affected by everything in an individual's environment; some sources also include a spiritual or existential dimension.[8] In contrast, reductionism in chiropractic reduces causes and cures of health problems to a single factor, vertebral subluxation.[4]
  • Conservatism considers the risks of clinical interventions when balancing them against their benefits. It emphasizes noninvasive treatment to minimize risk, and avoids surgery and medication.[6]
  • Homeostasis emphasizes the body's inherent self-healing abilities. Chiropractic's early notion of innate intelligence can be thought of as a metaphor for homeostasis.[3]
So we know that Palmer was into some pretty weird concepts like magnetic therapy. Another interesting aspect about Palmer is that was into metaphysics and spiritual concepts which are all interesting but in some regards are unprovable and are not relevant to this conversation.

Nevertheless, it is no wonder that something like chiropractic medicine sits at the fringes of the medical community because much like the more respected brother Physical Therapy, each case is largely individual and relies heavily on clinical observation and experience versus the so-called science based medicine approach.

But despite it sitting in the fringes of medicine and their philosophy doesn't probably normally jive with the usual standard belief about medicine it does serve as sort of the basic belief for functional medicine and/or integrative. The body is self-healing a concept that is very powerful.

So, this first post might have seemed like it was a little anti-chiropractic care but I am just providing some general overview before delving deeper into the topic. I personally believe in chiropractic care mostly because of the results I have experienced from seeing one along with using low inflammation dietary approaches that would mildly resemble a paleo diet.

Plus I think whether or not they are right for you (although I'd hazard to say that almost anyone could benefit) it is usually a first introduction to the world of functional medicine and may even open up the idea or possibility that a pain free and medicine free existence can be possible.

In my next post I hope to tackle how certain ailments not  probably usually thought about as having any connection to the spine are directly linked, my personal experiences and if god willing some general information about the different types of chiropractic care there are (hint: its not only people cracking your back).


Works Cited
"Chiropractic Care." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 03 Aug. 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
"Daniel David Palmer." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 17 Feb. 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
"Dr. Hanson's Wellness Blog." Dr Hansons Wellness Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.



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