The Zen Corner

Science, Art, and Philosophy of Chiropractic


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Forceful Cracking

Many people have seen cracking, snapping, and popping in their necks and backs. There are too many homemade tutorials that claim to be therapeutic and relaxing. Some would teach to do on their own, which can be very dangerous because this can cause other health problems as previous blogs have mentioned.

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Forceful cracking of the neck and back by an unprofessional can cause unwanted side effects because there is no knowledge and experience from a professional. So people who learn forceful cracking the neck and back on youtube, rely on their muscle force and override the resistance of another. There is a sheer force of mass and speed that overrides the person’s response to guard and move the joints in order to create the sound effects. Which this sound is often mistaken for the therapeutic product for relaxation and removing pain. While there is a cracking, popping, and snapping going on, there is also the possibility of damaging structures.

  1. Sprain the local muscle groups, which can cause soreness, sharp pains, and dull achiness from damaging the muscles from the sudden shear force.
  2. Damage the disc from twisting the disc and tearing the annular fibers of the disc, which can endanger the person to have disc herniations in the future.
  3. Fracture the spine and causing more permanent damages. Bones in the spine can be in a delicate situation and professionals who take x-rays will know this possibility.

There are reasons why physical assessments and having a professional licensure is required for a Chiropractor to adjust the spine. Many people assume it is easy what a Chiropractor does and mimics their chiropractic adjustment. As mentioned in previous blogs before, chiropractic isn’t like using a hammer and slamming the bent nail in. A professional knows that we have to be careful and effective. Tapping and directing carefully to put the nail where it needs to be.

landing2A chiropractic adjustment is often confused with moving spine; like it is moving an inanimate object. The problem is that that moving the spine involves a living person. Which means this bone isn’t an object but a living object. So forcefully cracking or moving a spine will be difficult if the person who is receiving it wasn’t so willing to allow it to move. This will be like hitting a brick wall. So then person pushes harder and harder and the person receiving the push will get stiffer and stiffer. Once the person receiving the push gives in a little, one can imagine the amount of force may have caused some problems.

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A Chiropractic legend Dr. Sigafoose retold his story about his encounter with Dr. Gonstead. Dr. Gonstead was an icon for chiropractors.  If you wanted to be the best, you have to adjust like Dr. Gonstead. He sat next to him at a conference and was told from Dr. Gonstead that one must be one with the bone to adjust the bone. Many of his students that experienced his adjustments mentioned his hands were like pillows and never suspected anything forceful. Dr. Gonstead had rheumatoid arthritis that was cured with chiropractic when he was young. Since then he because of a chiropractor, developed a specific chiropractic technique and a system to do chiropractic adjustment that did not require a forceful maneuver.

Chiropractic adjustment is an Art of Ease

Chiropractic adjustments seem like a physical maneuver only, but it is a cooperation between the chiropractor and the person who is receiving the chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractic adjustment was never meant to be a forceful maneuver but a gentle guided touch with slight speed. Dr. Gonstead was never known to be a forceful chiropractor, he was known for his gentle pillow like hands that will help the nervous system to ease.

The less force utilized in a chiropractic adjustment of the spine, there is more skill and finesse. Using brute force often does not produce the same result compared to a professional, specific, diligent chiropractic adjustment. These skills take many years to master and continued training. There are skill levels in chiropractors compared to a novice or amateur who is trying to copy the chiropractic adjustment.

chiro-subluxation

When critics argue that they do not need training and that they can produce the same result as a professional, that depends on what they are looking for. If a forceful cracking of the neck and back is the product you want then you might be able to reproduce that. When the condition is more complex, severe pain is involved, and daily activity is diminished, the forceful cracking may or may not beneficial to the person in pain. Examination and assessment are needed for a specific adjustment.

 

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Essential to Life

What is essential to survive and thrive?

Well, we know that we need to drink water, breath oxygen, and consume food sources to sustain the body’s needs. There is another important factor that will be more essential than drinking water, breathing oxygen, and consuming food sources. What can be more important than breathing air? drinking water? or consuming food?

The first anatomical structure that develops in a gestational period is the central nervous system. In embryology, it is called the Primitive Streak. The Primitive Streak forms after 15 days of gestation of the Morula, which is a globular mass of cells (blastomeres) that will be stationary in the uterus. Once the Primitive Streak is formed the cells start to form three germ layers and eventually form the rest of the body. It is known that the Primitive Streak is the beginning stage of development of the central nervous system. It is important to start with the central regulating system that orchestrates more complex development because, without it, nothing will form.

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The central regulating system, which is the central nervous system, processes complex chemical and physical development of the body. There are 65 trillion chemicals in the brain processed and produced every second of your life. So even though we can breathe air, drink water, or consume food, if our central nervous system is not regulating the process, giving resources won’t matter. Orchestrated by your Nervous System, your body supplies the correct dosage of antibodies, enzymes, endorphin and other compounds precisely when they are needed. Having a properly functioning nervous system is essential to life as we adapt to stress and thrive. How do we maintain a complex network of nerve cells, multi-billion chemicals that are processing each second, and communicate with all the organs in the body?

Stimulation of the Brain

We all know the phrase, “If we don’t use it, we lose it.” When we don’t exercise our muscles, then the muscles will atrophy. Same with our brain and spinal cord. Chesnut states that,

“Our nervous system do require food (glucose or ketone bodies and Omega  3 Fatty Acids), oxygen, and stimulation.  Movement via exercises is the main source of this essential nutrient. Use it or lose it is so true. Your brain is like a muscle and it needs stimulation or the synapses are lost and neurons get deconditioned and hibernate’.

This means creating stimulation to the brain such as exercise is the only way to keep the brain cells alive. This is an assumption that all of the joints in the body is in proper alignment and stimulating properly. The previous blog has touched on this subject on the blog title of “Gait Analysis: You can run but you can’t hide!” Although, even having enough stimulation to the brain and getting all the resources it needs there is still another important need for the nervous system. The nervous system needs to maintain a certain organizational structure to do complex chemical reactions and movements.

Tone of the Nerve Tissue

To have a properly functioning nervous system is not just providing resources such as drinking water, breathing air, or consuming food. What is a properly functioning nervous system? More then a hundred years ago in 1985, a concept of tone for the nervous system was introduced by D.D. Palmer.cord

D.D Palmer said: “Life is the expression of tone. In that sentence is the basic principle of Chiropractic. Tone is the normal degree of nerve tension. Tone is expressed in functions by the normal elasticity, activity, strength and excitability of the various organs, as observed in a state of health. Consequently, the cause of disease is any variation of tone – nerves too tense or too slack.”

D.D. Palmer continually wrote: “Tone, in biology, is the normal tension or firmness of nerves, muscles or organs, the renitent, elastic force acting against an impulse. Any deviation from normal tone, that of being too tense or too slack, causes a condition of renitence, too much elastic force, too great resistance, a condition expressed in function as disease.”

breig-revisitedThis concept of tone in the nervous system is the foundation for chiropractic philosophy, science, and art. 40 years later a Neurosurgeon named Dr. Breig mentioned many concepts of the biomechanics of the Nervous System. Michael Shacklock summarised Dr. Breig’s concepts in the book Biomechanics of the Nervous System: Breig revisited,

“The total tension induced may well lead to neural dysfunction, and then the involved nerve-fibers in the cord or nerve-roots may be said to be over-stretched. The most significant consequence of over-stretching nerve-fibers is impairment of their conductivity.”

Biomechanics of the Nervous System: Breig                                                                                     revisited Pg xiv

If the Nervous System is not working properly and not regulating the complex process do we need medications? medical surgery?

Pharmaceuticals

Maybe there is a shortage of a chemical that we need? Well, the Pharmaceutical industry knows 11 thousand that are on the market. Our body processes 65 trillion chemicals every second. Just from that ratio, we can definitely say that our body has very complex body chemistry and can supply what the body needs instead of injecting, consuming, or infuse into our body. Simply adding a chemical to the nervous system that not functioning is not a long-term solution. It may be a short-term solution for survival but not for the long term.

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If there is something wrong with the nervous system then why not do medical surgery on the brain and spinal cord?

Medical Surgery

Having medical surgery for the nervous system will take drastic changes in the nervous system. Spinal surgery and fusion can change the spinal structure permanently. These surgical procedures require more medication, many days of recovery, and permanent changes that is not reversible. It is definitely a lifesaver for rare brain and spinal cord conditions but it is not a common medical procedure to do casually. Most people are not required or needed for a surgical procedure yet it is almost always a requirement in all spinal conditions.

There are possibly other ideas that may solve the dysfunctioning nervous system.

Impingement and Interference 

Nerve cells make up the nerve tissue and it is known to be a delicate and sensitive tissue. That is why the skeletal system incases the whole entire structure with the skull and spinal column.  Any pressure on this delicate nerve tissue. Stephenson states in Chiropractic Textbook,

“The most delicate tissue in the body, nerve tissue, is so sensitive to injury or annoyance that it cannot ‘put up’ with any rough treatment. It cannot stand pinching or crowd or rough ‘shouldering’.” Chiropractic Text Book Pg 295

In an article 303, Stephenson starts to define impingement and describes how the spinal segments can create impingements.

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“All impingements in the body (and there are many kinds) are due to subluxations,

 

directly or indirectly. Impingements may be produced by fractures or dislocations also, for any abnormal position of a vertebra, relative to its neighbors, may impinge nerves.” Chiropractic Text Book Pg 304

This idea of spinal segments involving tension in the spinal cord is also mentioned by Shacklock’s summary of Dr. Brieg,

“Tension is thus the pathologically significant force, whether generated by a pincer action, by local induration and deformation, or by a space-occupying lesion. ”

These impingements are well known in the medical field of nerve impingements. Often they are associated with spinal stenosis from disc herniation or bone spurs from the degenerative joint disease. From Stephenson, he mentions that subluxation can be a direct or indirect cause of impingement of the nerve structure.  Not only can subluxation cause impingement but also can cause impingements in the spinal canal, which also cause cord pressure and cord tension.

Impingement will lead to interference of the nerves to transmit signals from the brain to all of the body cells. Stephenson states,

“Interference with transmission prevents Innate from adapting things universal for use in the body and from coordinating the actions of tissue cells for the mutual benefit of all cells. Accordingly, the universal forces wear or injure the tissue cells, or cause them to act inharmoniously and thus injure other cells as well.  When a cell is injured, worn down, or ‘out of condition’, it is not ‘at ease’.” Chiropractic Text Book Pg 301

When there is any impingement there will also be interference. The nerves will not function at its optimal potential when there is an impingement. As we have explained in the blog “What is Chiropractic Treatment,” we talked about subluxation being a main interference in the nervous system. Here is the link to that blog. (https://zenchiropractic.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/what-is-chiropractic-treatment/) Chiropractic is very different from Medica approach to dealing with the nervous system.

Chiropractic and Medical

As a common idea of spinal cord tension is the medical philosophy and chiropractic philosophy, the approach to solve the problem is drastically different. Medical philosophy is trying to change the biomechanics of the nervous system by permanently changing the structure that is starting to fall apart. Chiropractic philosophy is to find the most interference caused by an impingement and remove it with chiropractic adjustments.

Symptoms

Medical philosophy is to solve the symptom of survival and once it is gone, there is no need to continue to care for. Chiropractic philosophy differs by addressing the symptom but stabilizing the condition so that the spine can handle more pressure and thrive. A chiropractor may ask about symptoms but there is a difference in the way we interpret how the function is overall.

Conclusion:

Essential to life is to keep the central nervous system to be stimulated properly and keep the structural integrity. We can eat a ton of food, drink gallons of water, and breath all the air but if our central nervous system is not getting the stimulation and proper structural integrity, all the damages in our body won’t repair because the main facilitator is malfunctioning. All the resources we put in our body can go to waste if our mainframe facilitator of the body can not process the right resources to the right channels. To have an optimally functioning nervous system, we need proper stimulation and specific structural tone as we need all the resources to regenerate and build.


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Unhappy Baby has Birth Strain

baby_3143423bEver wonder why your baby will cry at a certain time and you exhausted all your efforts? You go to the Pediatrician and they don’t have much of an answer but more medication. The following list is a variety of issues that babies will cry and parents have a difficult time.

• General discomfort
• Positional discomfort
• Lactation issues
• Sleeping issues (difficult to go to or stay asleep)
• Spitting up
• Reflux
• Colic
• Earache or infections
• Not meeting milestones
• Failure to Thrive

Stress-During-Pregnancy-Affects-The-Baby-Too

The birth strain develops when the mother was giving birth and the physical stress strained the infant’s body. Towbin stated, “The birth process…is potentially a traumatic, crippling event…mechanical stress imposed by obstetrical manipulation-even the application of standard orthodox procedures may prove intolerable to the fetus. The view has been expressed clinically that most signs of neonatal injury observed in the delivery room are neurological….(Towbin, A. Laten spinal cord and brain stem injury in newborn infants. Develop. Med. Child Neurology., 1969, 11, pp. 54-68).  Birth Strain or Trauma is most commonly occurs when the babies neck is placed in traction, with extension, rotation, flexion and lateral flexion. The following list is the type of delivery and trauma was noted from medical intervention.

Type of Delivery and Trauma per 1000

  • Spontaneous 14
    • Assisted Vacuum 71 Failed Vacuum 105
    • Assisted Forceps 58 Failed Forceps 56
    • C-Section Labor 12 Non-Labor 1.2
    Source: Williams Obstetrics Ed. 23, page 634, table 29-10

Medical Process

For some parents that have a medical way of thinking, they tend to have difficulty in understanding this strain and stress issue after birth on the infant because most are non-life threatening medical conditions.

The initial inclination is to go to the Emergency room at the hospital when their infant is experiencing abnormal behavior or the parents are not able to help their infants. The medical profession is very capable of finding life-threatening medical conditions that parents should consult with. When all vital signs are addressed and life-threatening conditions are crossed off, the medical intervention always involved medication to temporarily sedate the symptoms. If that is what the parents want, which is to take care of the crying baby, they should work with the medical profession and follow their instructions.

Another Approach

Parents are in a dire need to figure out what is the cause of their most cherished baby is in distress. Rather than giving medications to babies, there is another natural and holistic way of looking at health. Most parents are trying to identify the disease as an entity, yet not all babies have terrible life-threatening infections. In a more holistic view of the baby’s health is to look for why the baby is lacking health or vitality. These strain and stress on the baby are experiencing an inability to adapt to their environment or inability to perform the normal function for healthy living. The infant is in distress yet there seems to be no problem that is notable. So what could the parents have missed at the hospital?

Most often missed is how the baby’s upper neck has been under stress and strain due to the stress of birth. Most parents would say that the medical doctor said their baby is a healthy child. This is true, in medical observation, if the baby is scoring APGAR score of 7 to 9 out of 9, the baby is clear from any post-delivery routine care and the baby is good to go home with the parents. Medically they are healthy and no life-threatening disease for this baby.  Despite the medical evaluation, we know that the baby is not well when they are still in distress. The only way the baby can describe their problem is by crying on the top of their lungs. Strain in babies neck can be found in research studies.

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“Profound birth injury, repudiating asphyxia, occurs in 0.2 per 1000 live births and is encountered more frequently in premature infants, and in breech presentations and deliveries. Comprehensive birth trauma is the eighth most common cause of neonatal mortality; in low birth weight infants, it is the fourth most common cause of death.”

“The risk factors for injury sustained during the birth process are deliberate under the rubric of fetal and maternal factors, fetal malpresentation and malposition, cephalopelvic disproportion, prolonged and precipitate labor, and obstetrician inexperience and incompetence.”

Pediatric Chiropractic 2nd Edition 2013, Chapter 6, page 361-362 Claudia Angrig and Gregory Plaugher.

The next research study is a very specific case of mild irritation on the upper neck for infants. The following research found out that:

  1. In first world countries, sudden infant death (SID) is the most common cause of death during the first 12 months of postnatal life.
  2. Children with a disturbed symmetry of the atlanto-occipital region could be at higher risk for SID. (Atlanto-occipital region is the upper neck area.)
  3. In older children disturbances of this kind are known as retardation of development in motor patterns as well as in sensory abilities.
  4. Minor mechanical irritation of the cervical region may trigger the first step in the events that lead to SID.

Heart rate changes in response to mild mechanical irritation of the high cervical spinal cord region in infants Forensic Science International Volume 128, Issue 3, August 28, 2002, Pages 168-176 L. E. Koch, H. Koch, S. Graumann-Brunt, D. Stolle, J. M. Ramirez and K. S. Saternus

Chiropractic for Babies

The same research also indicates that the best strategies for preventing baby strain with Chiropractic adjustments.

  1. Infants between 1 and 12 months of age were given upper neck chiropractic adjustments if they were thought to be at risk of sudden infant syndrome.
  2. Great care was taken that the infant was comfortable before a chiropractic adjustment.
  3. According to the study, chiropractic has shown to be a successful technique which can help disorders, especially cerebral disturbances of motor patterns of various etiology, sensomotoric disturbances of integration ability (retardation of sensation and coordination), as well as pain related entities such as cry-babies with ‘3-month colic’ or hyperactivity with sleeplessness.

Finding Chiropractors for Babies

Chiropractic adjustment skills will vary from practitioner to practitioner. Please be sure to check their website for credentials or find out by reputation on how the Chiropractor’s skill is on adjusting babies. Most often institutions like holistic birth centers, professionals like doulas and midwives, and pediatric-focused holistic clinics will have resources to find reputable chiropractors.

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Babies have a very soft structure and can be easily damaged if an inexperienced and unprofessional individual attempts to do chiropractic adjustment without a proper training, proper licensure, and good amount of experience. Please consult a chiropractor that has experience with babies. Babies have a lot of potential in life, full of expressions, and they are the future. The first year with the baby is stressful enough. Let’s enjoy our babies first year without strain and stress after a stressful labor.


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Pregnancy and Chiropractic Adjustments

 article-1016703-01045CA000000578-108_634x345Your Body, Your Baby

If you are pregnant, one of the best things you can do is set up an appointment for a chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractic adjustments provide so many benefits a pregnant woman needs: a flexible and balanced spine and pelvis, internal organs without postural stress and freedom from nerve stress. These are all essential for a healthy pregnancy and smooth delivery of the baby.

Along with better nutrients, exercise and avoiding drugs/alcohol/cigarettes, chiropractic adjustments should be an essential part a woman’s healthcare regimen during pregnancy.

What does a Doctor of Chiropractic do?

A pregnant woman needs to have her body as healthy as possible and as strong as possible, in order to handle the bumpy road of pregnancy and childbirth. Chiropractic adjustments will help ensure that all body systems, especially the reproductive organs which are vital for the healthy pregnancy, function properly. If there is any slight nerve interference to these systems the mother and developing fetus will be affected. Chiropractors should examine your spinal column for spinal distortions and the cause of nerve stress. These are known as vertebral subluxation. If a chiropractor finds subluxations in your body, the chiropractor will correct them with chiropractic spinal adjustments that are gentle for the pregnant mother.

Pregnancy and Chiropractic

Drugless Healthcare

Chiropractic is a drugless healthcare service/treatment for pregnant mothers. There is no such thing as a safe drug that will not harm the growing fetus. No drugs should be prescribed during pregnancy without weighing the maternal needed against the fetal damage. Antibodies, aspirin, alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, cocaine, and even cough syrup and cold and flu medications all have been linked to fetal damage and miscarriage.

What can Chiropractic Help?

Chiropractic has demonstrated that pregnancy is maintained, controls vomiting, deliver full-term infants with ease and produces healthier infants. Chiropractic also has had success in back pain premature contractions, and back labor.

Weight gain, compensating postural changes and hormonal-induced ligament laxity add to a woman’s predisposition towards pelvic misalignment during pregnancy. All lead to elevate low back pain and hip pain. Affecting quality of life and the outcome of the labor.

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One of the major contributing factors in the outcome of labor is having a condition called dystocia. Specifically, it is defined by  Jeanne Ohm, DC
ICPA Executive Coordinator:

  1. Abnormalities of the explosive forces, either uterine forces insufficiently strong enough or inappropriately coordinated to efface and dilate cervix (uterine dysfunction), or inadequate voluntary muscle effort during the second stage of labor (Power)
  2. Abnormalities of the maternal bony pelvis, that is the pelvic contraction.
  3. Abnormalities of presentation, position, or development of the fetus.

When examined from a neuromuscular and biomechanical perspective, each of these may potentially cause dystocia which may be helped with specific chiropractic adjustments of the pregnant woman’s spine and pelvis throughout the pregnancy and in preparation for birth.

Medical Interventions

Most medical interventions, including C-sections, are used as a result of “failure to progress” or dystocia. The most common interventions practiced today are the use of Cytotec, Pitocin for induction or augmentation, the use of epidurals for pain relief, and restricted maternal positions during labor.

“In 2016, 32.2% of U.S. births were by C-section that is over a 50% increase in 20 years. As the rate of C-sections has risen, so has the rate of pregnancy-associated deaths. Current statistics show the rate of maternal morbidity is higher for cesarean as opposed to vaginal births.”

                                                                           Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention                                                                         -www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_04.pdf

Webster Technique

Chiropractic has been able to help mother’s in which the baby isn’t positioned properly for birth. Webster technique was developed by Dr. Larry Websters and he has been very successful in reducing the effects of sacral subluxation and SI joint dysfunction. In so doing neuro-biomechanical function in the pelvis is improved.

Dr. Larry Webster, founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association discovered this adjustment as a safe means to restore proper pelvic balance and function. This specific sacral analysis can be used on all weight bearing individuals to determine S/I joint dysfunction/ sacral subluxation and is therefore applicable to the entire population.

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The ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association) recognizes that in a theoretical and clinical framework of the Webster Technique in the care of pregnant women, sacral subluxation may contribute to difficult labor for the mother (i.e., dystocia).  Dystocia is caused by inadequate uterine function, pelvic contraction, and baby mal-presentation. The correction of sacral subluxation may have a positive effect on all of these causes of dystocia.

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In this clinical and theoretical framework, it is proposed that sacral misalignment may contribute to these three primary causes of dystocia via uterine nerve interference, pelvic misalignment and the tightening and torsion of specific pelvic muscles and ligaments.  The resulting tense muscles and ligaments and their aberrant effect on the uterus may prevent the baby from comfortably assuming the best possible position for birth.

Summary:

Chiropractic alone is never the only solution but can make an easier pregnancy. Respectively, ease of pregnancy will also be influenced by dietary intake, sufficient exercise routine, sitting and sleeping postures, and the mother’s health condition. Some mothers will have to go to the hospital for C-sections. All need to be taken to account for the complex process of the pregnancy of neurological, hormonal, and structural changes of the mother. Does your pregnancy include Chiropractic adjustments?

 

 


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Gait Analysis: You can run, but you can not hide!

Do you ever notice how people walk while you are at the mall? Some people have a different walking pattern. Some walk like penguins, some walk with a huge arm swinging like they are fighting someone, and some are unable to bend their joints. It is obvious that there are different movement in people’s walking. Some are caused by injuries, body structure and or level of fitness.

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Most people think that if they can walk or run so they are functionally doing fine. Yes, you can run, but you cannot hide from your problems in your gait. These type of dysfunctional running and walking creates an impact to all of your joints resulting in instability, eventual degeneration, and arthritis. When people think they can still walk, just wait. One little impact can force you into possible surgery or permanent disability. Too many people wait until the last minute to correct their problems and by then it is already too late.

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Before it is too late, there is an assessment tool called “Gait Analysis”. In the scientific study of Gait analysis, they dissect the motion from the step off to arm swinging. Firstly, to understand it, what is Gait analysis?

Gait Analysis: A Scientific Study

Gait analysis is the systematic study of human motion, using the eye and the brain of observers,  measuring body movements, body mechanics, and the activity of the muscles.

The parameters taken into account for the Gait analysis are as follows:

  • Step Length
  • Stride Length
  • Cadence
  • Speed
  • Dynamic Base
  • Progression Line
  • Foot Angle
  • Hip Angle
  • Squat Performance

Chiro_gait_cycle

The Gait analysis is modulated or modified by many factors, and changes in the normal gait pattern can be transient or permanent. The factors can be of various types:

  • Extrinsic: such as terrain, footwear, clothing, cargo
  • Intrinsic: sex (male or female), weight, height, age, etc.
  • Physical: such as weight, height, physique
  • Psychological: personality type, emotions
  • Physiological: anthropometric characteristics, i.e., measurements and proportions of body
  • Pathological: for example trauma, neurological diseases, musculoskeletal anomalies, psychiatric disorders

 

Chiropractic Analysis of Gait:

This gait analysis gives much detailed information about a person’s functional capacity to survive. There are many healthcare professions that use this analysis to diagnose health conditions and disorders. For Chiropractors, it is a topic of objective assessment that yields almost immediate results in their chiropractic adjustment.

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Chiropractic Observation of Gait Analysis:

During walking/running, there is an effect of gravity where your body weight the musculoskeletal structures to keep your body upright. After wear and tear from minor to major injuries our bodies and our proper mechanics change. The impact of the body weight and gravity, eventually force those into our gait.

Without consciously thinking about changing the gait, we walk or run with the assumption that everything is functionally good unless there is enough a dramatic injury that causes us to have difficulty walking. Take limping for example. As well as a chiropractor, we realize these gait mechanisms are crucial and are a matter of survival to walk or run as well as be able to go to place to place.

For chiropractors, watching the dynamics of walking/running shows the functionality of the spine and joints that are working in unison. There should be good elasticity and recoil in each stride from all the extremities so that the motion of our walking/running is forward instead of wasting energy by unnecessary movements.

Why Bother?

We all walk to places and the more mobile we are the healthier we are. Once people are static and stationary our lives deteriorate significantly. Being able to walk and run helps the circulation and neurological stimulation of the brain. When we are sedentary, our body degenerates and atrophies and our ability to survive is gone. For our survival, walking and running is an important factor in our lives. Our body is made to enjoy and live life instead of surviving life.

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There are two major factors that will catch your attention. It is the acceleration of degeneration of your joints and neurological degeneration.

Acceleration of Degeneration

For those who have bombarded their joints with so much impact, the joint tends to wear down faster. After wearing down the joints, eventually, the bone on bone starts to grind on each other causing osteoarthritis. People who can have this can be as young as a teenager an elderly depending on how they stress their body. Some people will ruin their body with extreme sports and improper body mechanics in their athletic training.

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The improper mechanics begins when joints are injured and become unstable. When this unstable joint is not taken care of and properly stabilized, the impact of the joint will cause further damage and eventual because of bone deformation. The constant impact of wear and tear eventually will change the joints and further bone degeneration. Most often times the joints become very loose after stretching of the muscle tendons and ligaments which it is termed “hypermobile.” When the joint is having muscle spasm and increased edema it will be stiff, and be termed “hypermobile”. These damaged joints initially start with many clicks and cracks into the joint.

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The cracking in the joint happens because it is the body’s way to create a balance (based on gravity) and to create motion where the usual mechanics are changed. (Please do not think that inducing cracking of the joint will help alleviate the problem because it may worsen the joint mechanics even more) By analyzing an individuals gait, joint mechanics are quickly investigated to identify where these audible cracks and clicks are coming from. Most often times it is the muscles grinding of other muscle or bones because of the joint instability. The best way to avoid bone degeneration is to create a smooth transition of arm and leg swing that will not create improper impact in each step. Consequently, the brain will not have additional pain signals coming from our joints.

Neurological Degeneration

Our joints use nerve receptors called proprioceptors to send information of orientation in space while you are in dynamic motion or static stand still. Having good joint alignment helps the body in proper body mechanics and proper neuro-physiology that influence our body chemistry. If any of these receptors are shut down nociceptors send pain signals instead.

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Nociception is the sensory nervous system’s response to certain harmful or potentially harmful stimuli. In nociception, mechanical (e.g., cutting, crushing) stimulation of sensory nerve cells (nociceptors) produces a signals that travel along a chain of nerve fibers via the spinal cord and brain. Nociception triggers a variety of biological and behavioral responses and may also result in a subjective experience of pain.

Nociceptors are found in the skin, on internal surfaces such as the periosteum, joint surfaces, and in some internal organs. The concentration of nociceptors varies throughout the body; they are found in greater numbers in the skin than in deep internal surfaces such as muscle, joint, skin, cornea, bladder, gut, dorsal root ganglia and trigeminal neuralgia. Mechanical nociceptors respond to excess pressure or mechanical deformation.

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Once these nociceptors are over stimulated they start to cause overstimulation in the spinal cord and brain. The chronic pain, for most individuals, causes sedentary lifestyle. They are not able to exercise or end up with little to no motion. Eventual atrophy of muscles and nerve will be an indirect result of overstimulation of the pains signals from mechanical deformation or degeneration.

You can run but you can’t hide.

Many people think that they are healthy and walking by running, but in some causes difficulty in gait may be evident. Once our joints are having mechanical problems, there are spasms and adhesion in the joints. When there are less recoil and motion in a joint the muscles atrophy and bones degenerate. Once they overstimulate the nerves with pain, eventual sedentary lifestyle progresses. Less motion in the joints means fewer nutrients going to all the muscles and joints and eventual degeneration of the nerve, muscle, and bone follows.

Just because you think you can move with walking or run, it doesn’t mean you are in an optimal, functional state. The eventual degeneration is apparent with a trained person’s clinical observation of an individual and walking, running patterns. This is also apparent in any athletic activities.

At our office, we every possible way to observe the problem so that we can be as specific as possible with the chiropractic adjustment. Not only gait but also x-rays, neurological examinations, and taking oral history. If any of you would like to address their problems, please contact us at info@zenchiropracticinc.com.

 

 

 


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Meditate in Ease

“Zazen, wabi/sabi and then Chiropractic,” the previous blog, was written about posture in Zazen and how crucial in proper meditation. Improper posture will make the meditation called Zazen more difficult or harder than normal. Improper posture can be caused by many things such as a condition called subluxation in Chiropractic. In this blog, there will be additional information about posture, breathing, and mental state and how it can influence the quality of your meditation experience. To have the best meditation in ease is to eliminate conditions of dysponesis.

Before we talk about dysponesis, here is one fact. The human nervous system is innately geared towards survival of the whole entire body. This ability to survive manifests itself by efficient use of energy for all the metabolic and physiological process. These processes of survival are all based upon the input from the environment that the body receives. Conserving energy or efficient use of energy to optimal function to express life.

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Our body has sensory nerve endings that will take in information and adapt to any environmental changes. Lack of proper integration of this information will lead to mis-information to the brain and leads to dysponesis. Dysponesis is described by Dr. Christopher Kent,

“Dysponesis is a reversible pathophysiologic state. It is composed of neurophysiologic reactions to various agents, and the repercussions of these reactions throughout the organism. The neurophysiologic reactions consist mainly of covert errors in energy expenditure. To the chiropractor, it is essential to develop clinical strategies which are effective in disclosing these covert errors in energy expenditure and correcting them.”

Dysponesis will lead to improper sensory integration, inefficient/imbalance in muscle coordination, disability, disease states, symptoms, and loss of optimal function to the human body.

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There are many measurements that are able to detect dysponesis. Being able to visualize the body provides tangible measurements, although there might be some information will be missed. Traditional techniques such as plum line or bilateral body weights were used to make observable postural changes and weight distributions. Our body has a reflex, called the righting reflex, utilized by our eyes to make sure our eyes are horizontal to the plane for the most efficient energy expenditure. The plum line analysis and bilateral body weight distributions can show the muscle that are being over-utilized or underperforming for an energy efficient structure. (Dynamic posture in walking and running will be considered in future blog posts.) This method will reach its limits due to the complex and abstract nature of our dynamic body structure.

Modern technology has found a way to measure complex and dynamic body structure. Modern surface EMG equipment are able to display real time action of muscle groups for excess energy expenditure. As we are sitting still, all of our muscles are contracting and relaxing to adapt to the sitting posture. Modern surface EMGs are very sensitive and able to read and measure every small contraction that is made by the muscle. With this measurement we are able to assess efficient energy expenditure and in turn measure dysponesis.

The next measurement that is a bit more difficult to understand is the reflex control of breathing. For the purpose of this blog, breathing reflex will be discussed in simpler terms and the physiology will not be discussed. It is important to not, however, that breathing reflex is a very complex set of several reflexes and when there are inefficient breathing patterns the nervous system to shift a negative state of conserving energy for oxygen. Due to the importance in oxygen for our brain and body, breathing reflex is a highly controlled mechanism and this reflex is a primary concern for all physiological processes.

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Breathing reflex is well known in many meditation techniques. Breathing from the belly instead of chest breathing. Chest breathing increases the speed of oxygen but less oxygen is taken in. In turn you expel less CO2 and create hyperventilation and increase the fight or flight responses. If belly breathing is done properly, oxygen intake is increased as is the expelling of CO2. This will stimulate the parasympathetic system which induces rest and digest and promote a relaxing state for a better meditative state.

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Further research has been conducted to analyze breathing patterns. There are many patterns that are induced from uncoordinated muscle control of the breathing muscles. Most belly breathing does not emphasize on which muscles to contract. There can be compartmentalized breathing that is observable in the spine that is concomitant with breathing. Normal breathing should not be compartmentalized, decreased, or incomplete in the breathing pattern. The pattern in breathing should start from the pelvis. A respiratory wave moves smoothly towards the neck and moves back down the spine to the pelvis. If in any way this pattern is obstructed, there creates a lack of coordination in the breathing reflex and this results in dysponesis.

Final measurement will be our mental state in dysponesis. Meditation should be an exercise to help distressed mental states, although there can be an underlying condition that will hinder towards performing meditation for individuals. According to Doreland’s Medical Dictionary, dysponesis is a misdirected neurophysiological reaction to various agents such as environmental events, bodily sensations, emotions, and thoughts. Individuals with PTSD, ADHD, anxiety or other mental conditions may have difficult a time performing meditation.

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To measure mental state, there are many ways to measure such as EEG or HRV. eeg-brain-imageElectroencephalogram or EEG measures electrical wave from the brain for the state of being which is mentioned in another blog “Stress.” EEG measures the state of the brain by stimulating the brain waves into a certain pattern, it will help the mental state into being more calm and meditative. It may help to see that meditative state but there are very specific requirements to fulfill the test and many things can cause inaccurate reading if the assessment is not prepared properly and professionally. Also EEG measurements are not readily available because it is very expensive and healthcare specialists are needed to perform the test.

Heart Rate Variability or HRV on the other hand is less expensive and measures the state of mental conditions like the EEG. HRV measures the real time measurement of the cardiac rhythm and provides quantitative assessment of variation in time interval between heartbeats. HRV is able to show how your body is responding to stressors, overall balance of the nervous system, and even fitness performance. Compared to EEGs, HRV tests shows more information of the overall function and energy expenditure which is dysponesis.HRV

After finding dysponesis, addressing them properly with chiropractic adjustments will be much more specific and scientific.  Does your chiropractor have all these assessments to address dysponesis?

 


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Our Gift

Every year at Christmastime we are given a gift. We always take this gift for granted because it has always been given to us and we hardly notice. This gift is our body. We are given this one body for our whole lifetime.
housetoolsYou may like your body or you may hate it, but it is yours. You are expected to make alterations, improvements, and maintenance on a regular basis. Our body is in a constant state of break down so keeping up with every part of our body is very important. Many people’s biological age is much older and damaged compared to their chronological age. For example, you will see people with many health conditions such as degeneration/arthritis in the spine. Some people’s spines are severely degenerated from doing vigorous and strenuous physical activity such as football, landscaping, construction work, and much more.

We tend to think we are indestructible in our youth, but once we get to a certain age that unlimited energy and vitality start to fade. Many people would say that the reason our bodies start to deteriorate is that of age. That is true — just like any car, if it gets older it starts to break down. If that car has been treated poorly and has not kept up with regular maintenance such as oil changes or tire rotations, the car will fall about faster and easier.

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What would be maintenance care similar to oil changes and tire rotations for our human, biological body?

One detail about our human, biological body is that there are 65 trillion chemicals in the brain processed and produced every second of our life. The pharmaceutical industry knows 11,000 that are on the market. From just that ratio, we can definitely conclude that our body has very complex body chemistry. How does our body regulate, alert, and repair all at the same time?

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There is a inborn intelligence installed in a human baby at the moment of conception. This innate intelligence repairs cuts, damages and kills cancer cells, regenerates old cells to new and puts in the perfect amount of chemicals needed for your body to be in full function and balance. Innate intelligence has been known from many disciplines of healthcare, although medical medicine failed to understand or quantify this mechanism.

From many disciplines, it is well known that if we help this innate intelligence to freely operate on our body, the better our body regenerates, regulates, and reproduces in optimal function. How can we help this innate intelligence?

 

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“Ninety percent of the diseases known to man are caused by cheap foodstuffs. You are what you eat.”  Victor Lindlahr

Food is Medicine

During this seasonal holidays, we are in a time crunch to fit in everything. Our tendencies are to depend on prepackaged, instant foods in the grocery store. Or we go out to order food from fast food restaurants. It may be a quick solution for good tasting food that everyone will enjoy…everyone, except your body. Mass produced prepackaged instant food in grocery stores and fast food restaurants always cuts corners, using cheap ingredients and chemicals to improve the shelf life of the ingredients. It is now known that these chemicals and cheaply made ingredients have consequences. America has been plagued by obesity, diabetes, and digestive problems that medical professions are unable to solve.

It is well known that highly processed, concentrated carbohydrates turn into fat in our body. So if we lower the carbohydrates we do better! Right? Well, there are highly concentrated carbohydrates in many seasonal holiday meals and snacks. It is almost impossible to take out all the sugars and carbohydrates out of meals. It seems like there is nothing to eat. In our conventional cheap grocery stores there will be hardly any solutions, but in other places that are more health-conscious, such as grocery co-ops, now have many solutions to this problem. There are many vegetables that have carbohydrates but not in a form that will be highly processed into concentrated carbohydrates. The complex carbohydrates from plants give you a small amount of sugar but also fill your stomach so that you do not crave more. There are more and more recipes for low-sugar diets in the categories of Paleolithic diet, Ketogenic diet, and Gluten Free Diet.

grassfedmeatIncreasing amounts of good grass-fed/grass finish proteins and good healthy fats are also a way to fill our stomachs other than just eating plants. Many people complain how hard it is to get good quality proteins and fats. But if we research enough and make the right decisions, many people can afford these proteins and fats. There are many farmers that are gravitating towards good quality grass fed/finished proteins. It is much cheaper to obtain quality meats than going to the convenient stores. The key is to find out how they grow their animals.

Unfortunately for seafood, unless it is caught in the wild, the quality of the food drops significantly. It may be cheap at typical grocery stores, but that is because the fish are farm raised. They have fewer nutrients, such as Omega fatty acids and Vitamin B complexes.  Also, there is mercury in deep sea fish, which only allows us to consume once a week. And it is only harder to get seafood if you live inland. However, there are fishers that go fishing all season, freeze their catch and sell it much cheaper than what you can buy from common grocery stores. Check out your farmer’s markets and ask around.

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“Physical inactivity produces an abnormal gene expression and is a direct causal factor of most chronic health conditions by its direct alteration of gene expression from normal phenotype to a preclinical or clinical phenotype.” F.W. Booth Ph. D. J. of Applied Physiology 2002

Physical Activity

Immobility is poison. Exercise is nutrition! When the holidays come, our schedules are tighter and it’s harder to get physical activity. That is why my next year in January, people have tight atrophied muscles and increased body fat. Many people’s ideas of getting physically active are running around miles and miles and lifting tons and tons of weight. Getting 20-30 minutes of physical activity that involve some cardio, some minor weights or exercises, and topping it off with yoga every day is a good start to maintain a sufficient amount of physical activity.

Once you get to a certain level of strength and agility, you start needing harder physical activity to build up more muscle strength. As you notice when you get older, the amount of muscle build up significantly slows down and it is harder to maintain muscle mass. Once muscles begin to atrophy, our mobility significantly decreases. Also, the neurological connection between the muscles and brain start to degenerate, making coordination harder. Eventually, we are in bed all the time, slowly degenerating.

This can be all prevented with physical activity that we can maintain early on in our lives. More stimulation of muscles means more activity and growth for the nerves in the brain and body. Then the body starts to increase blood flow and to gain muscles, grow nerves, and detoxify your body from harmful toxins.

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Meditation

Stress has been a great contributor to hormones that damage our bodies. Stress can cause excess amounts of hormones such as cortisol. These hormones stimulate fight or flight responses and increase anxiety, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, high blood sugar levels, and many more. To decrease this stress hormone, we need to be able to manage our stress and relax our brains. Research has shown that stress is strongly related to brainwave patterns.

Brain waves

Brain waves are a pattern of neuronal activity in the section of the brain which can be recorded.  The record is known as the electroencephalogram (EEG). Brain waves are broken up into four main categories, determined by the frequency of the wave.

Brain waves are patterns of neuronal activity in the section of the brain which can be recorded.  The record is known as the electroencephalogram (EEG). Brain waves are broken up into four main categories, determined by the frequency of the wave.

Beta: This is a conscious brainwave. It is characterized as a state of being awake, alert, and concentrating. If this stage is maintained for a prolonged period, it becomes associated with feelings of tension, worry, fear, or anxiety.

Alpha: This is also a conscious state, but identified with the mental experience where images are not identified. It has come to be associated with feelings of pleasure, pleasantness, tranquillity, serenity, and relaxation. It can also imply a relaxed concentration.

Theta: Theta has come to be associated with such things as hypnogogic imagery, daydreaming, sleep, cognition of problem-solving, future planning, remembering, switching thoughts, and creativity.

Delta: This state is predominately associated with no-dreaming sleep or deep sleep. There are some reports of individuals achieving this set of brain wave patterns while still retaining consciousness.

Things which lower the EEG frequency are:

  • LSD, sedative drugs

  • Large doses of alcohol

  • Very low blood sugar

  • Lack of oxygen

Things which raise the EEG frequency are

  • Caffeine

  • Small doses of alcohol, barbiturates

  • Low blood sugar

  • Excess of carbon dioxide (CO2)

As you can see, breathing affects our EEG frequency.

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The deeper you breathe, the more oxygen you get into your lungs. More oxygen getting into your lungs means more oxygen getting into your blood; because of this, most systems in your body are going to work much more efficiently than they would if you breathed shallowly.

Inhaling slowly and deeply sends more energy to heal your sympathetic nervous system, which is concerned with preparing your body to react to situations of stress or emergency by accelerating your heart rate, constricting your blood vessels, and raising your blood pressure.

Exhaling slowly and completely gives a signal to your parasympathetic nervous system to help it detoxify more deeply. This system serves to slow the rate and force of your heartbeat, decrease your blood pressure, and enhance your digestion.

The slower you inhale the more oxygen you take in, creating more energy and helping your body to detoxify and cleanse itself better. When you exhale slowly, more energy reaches your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you relax and also helps to detoxify and cleanse your body. Simply breathing hard will not help; you can hyperventilate and cause an excess of CO2 and stimulate the sympathetic nervous system. This will stimulate the brain to emit Beta waves and cause a stress response.

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There are many different Meditations that consists of breathing techniques. Starting with Zazen Meditation would be a good start.  (Here is an instruction link from Dharma Field):

http://dharmafield.org/meditation/online-meditation-instruction/