The Zen Corner

Science, Art, and Philosophy of Chiropractic


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Chronic Pain and the Brain

Written by: Brooke Preston-Chiropractic Intern at Zen Chiropractic Inc. DBA Zen Healing Center

Most of us are totally different people today than we were five years ago. Why is that? Today, we’re going to dive in and talk about a concept known as neuroplasticity.

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What is neuroplasticity?
Neuroplasticity is the idea that the brain and nervous system (neuro) can remodel(plasticity) itself to reflect the experiences we have in our daily lives(5). This means that our nervous system can learn, which is an important concept.
An example of neuroplasticity in our bodies would be our motor (voluntary muscle control and coordination) development. We definitely don’t have the same motor function as when we were babies. We’ve learned to roll over, crawl, sit, stand, walk, and even do more complex things such as type, play sports, write, and play musical instruments.

How does neuroplasticity work?
Think about a set of railroad tracks(5). You’re born with a specific set of railroad tracks. These railroad tracks get messages from Grand Central Station, which in this case refers to your brain. As you learn to do new things- whether they are physical or mental, you lay down new railroad tracks. Some of these tracks get used a lot- they’re heavily developed and polished.

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Change happens through a process called long-term potentiation or LTP or long-term depression or LTD. LTP and LTD function similar to a dimmer switch. LTP is when you’re turning up the dimmer switch and LTD is when you’re turning down the dimmer switch. The lights are still on, but in one scenario more light is shining than the other.

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What is Long-Term Potentiation (LTP)?
LTP is a pathway that is being stimulated or turned on. Think of it like positive feedback. The more you get, the more you want. So the more a railroad track is used, the more you want to use it and the easier it becomes to use. You polish it, and it becomes well traveled.

Structure of a typical chemical synapse. neurotransmitter release mechanisms
You have messengers in your body called neurons that help the brain and body communicate using chemical substances called neurotransmitters. The more a pathway is stimulated, the more neurotransmitter is produced. What does this mean? Think of it in this way: the more a railroad track is used, more cargo can be transported along its path.

If you’re more economically minded, a principle similar to this is the law of supply and demand. The more a consumer (your body) uses something (a pathway) then the more of that product (the neurotransmitter) needs to be produced.

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What is Long-Term Depression (LTD)?
LTD is the result of a pathway that isn’t being stimulated and is being muted or turned off. Think of it in the sense “if you don’t use it, you lose it”. The less a railroad track is used, the harder it becomes to access that pathway. It’s still available, but not as readily available. It’s like the rickety old mineshaft railway with old abandoned carts everywhere. It could be restored to its former glory, but it’s going to take a lot of work and practice. These tracks are harder to utilize.

Neuroplasticity and pain.. is it good or bad?

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In normal development, the nervous system uses pain as a warning sign. Think about it like using a smoke alarm. Just like that alarm, pain is telling us “Something is wrong, fix it!” This is known as eudynia or “good” pain. This system is used as security against threats like injury, infection, and tumor. In some people, though, this wiring somehow gets mixed up and a system that once worked to protect the body produces long-term effects. The pain tracks are getting an increasing amount of cargo and are being utilized more often. This is known as maldynia or “bad” pain.

What are examples of conditions that may be caused by maldynia?
Some examples of dysfunctional neuroplasticity include when our bodies rewire themselves for pain like was discussed in the last point. Specific examples of conditions include limbically augmented pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, phantom pain, complex regional pain syndrome, visceral (organ) pain, headache, and postsurgical pain.

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What does this have to do with chiropractic?

Premise 1: Chronic pain and altered movement

Recent papers have shown that in patients with a history of long-term or recurring neck pain and/or stiffness, episodes of short-term pain with injury may be what induce long-term changes in the brain. Basically, the wrong train track is being laid down, and this disrupts how the brain processes sensation and carries out motor function. If this change in how your body moves is not corrected, long-term altered movement occurs and new train tracks continue to develop and be polished. These new train tracks tell the brain that this is the body’s new normal function and the short term protection that was previously discussed becomes a long-term problem.
The representations of muscles near a site of pain are altered in both the sensory and motor areas of the brain and these areas of the brain are then reorganized to show the new normal. The extent of change is correlated with the level of motor function and/or deficit.

Posture-and-Your-Brain

Premise 2: Pain changes your brain
We’ve talked a lot about train tracks in how your body learns, but it turns out that your brain, Grand Central Station, is changed by pain input as well.
One paper concluded that pain can alter activation of the neurons in brain regions associated with the central processing of pain and showed that chronic pain can actually lead to reorganization of the brain(6, 7). This was shown as a reduction in grey matter in patients with chronic low back pain(8). The grey matter is the area that houses the neurons. When we talked about neurons earlier we talked about them as messengers and they were the cargo containers. Fewer cargo containers mean less communication between the brain and body or between different areas of the brain. Unfortunately, the areas that are losing communication are those that decrease and stop pain sensation, so this actually makes the patient more sensitive to pain.

Differences in the “resting” brain have also been documented. This means that brain activity may be different in patients with chronic back pain even when the brain is not processing painful inputs. Significant impairments in memory, language skills, mental flexibility, deficits in cognitive function, and changes in decision-making have been noted in chronic back pain patients.

Chiropractic adjustments have been found to improve how the brain processes sensation and motor information

Research has shown that chiropractic adjustments in the neck can change the processing of sensation and movement within the brain. This contributes to pain relief and restoration of functional ability. The authors conclude that spinal manipulation of dysfunctional joints may modify transmission in neuronal circuits not only at a spinal level but in the brain as well. Imaging was used to draw these conclusions.
Research showed that after a single chiropractic adjustment to dysfunctional neck joints, improved sensory responses in the brain occurred in patients with recurring neck pain and stiffness. Their results indicate an improvement in discrimination and filtering of sensory information from the upper limb for at least 20 minutes after the adjustment.
In addition, the study concludes that these results are not simply due to altered input to the brain from balance, changes in muscle or changes in skin sensors as a result of the chiropractor’s touch or due to movement of the patient’s head because no changes were found after passive neck movement. This implies that results are likely specific to the delivery of the high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust of a chiropractic adjustment. (2,3,4)

(1) Boudreau SA, Farina D, Falla D. The role of motor learning and neuroplasticity in designing rehabilitation approaches for musculoskeletal pain disorders. Manual Ther, 2010:1-5. Epub ahead of print.

(2) Haavik-Taylor H, Murphy B. Cervical spine manipulation alters sensorimotor integration: a somatosensory evoked potential study. Clin Neurophysiol, 2007;118:391-402.

(3) Haavik-Taylor H, Murphy B. Altered sensorimotor integration with cervical spine manipulation. JMPT, 2008;31:115-26.

(4) Haavik-Taylor H, Murphy B. ACC-RAC Award Winning Paper. Altered central integration of dual somatosensory input after cervical spine manipulation. JMPT, 2010;33:178-88.

(5) Ray, AA. Treatment of Chronic Pain by Integrative Approaches: The American Academy of Pain Medicine Textbook on Patient Management. Springer. 2015. P52 ISBN: 978-1-4939-1820-1

(6) Strutton P, Theodorou S, Catley M, et al. Corticospinal excitability in patients with chronic low back pain. J Spinal Disord Tech, 2005;18:420-4.

(7) Tsao H, Galea M, Hodges P, et al. Driving plasticity in the motor cortex in recurrent low back pain. Eur J Pain, 2010;14:832-9.

(8) Wand BM, et al. Cortical changes in chronic low back pain: current state of the art and implications for clinical practice. Manual Therapy, 2010:1-6. Epub ahead of print.

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What is Chiropractic Treatment?

Chiropractic care is always misunderstood with medical care. Once the symptoms are gone, then the client tends to think that they have no need of care. This is a medical understanding of Chiropractic care. Chiropractic is originally was more concerned about the function of the body and the cause of the symptoms. Chiropractic should not be misunderstood as treatment care or therapy because they remedy the symptoms. Chiropractic is all about finding the cause and finding solutions instead of covering up the symptoms. Chiropractic doesn’t treat symptoms but rather they observe the cause of the symptoms and when the cause is gone then there is no need to do any chiropractic adjustments.

What are they really looking for? Chiropractors are looking for the cause of the symptoms which is subluxations. Subluxations are slight dislocation of the spinal segment that chokes the nerve and limits or interrupts the communication and function of individual nerves that connects to muscles movements, heart functions, and many more! Once these subluxations are gone, there is nothing to change. If there are signs of subluxations then that is what Chiropractors adjust and restore and monitor. If there are signs of subluxations then the Chiropractic adjustments continue.

How do Chiropractors monitor subluxations? Many Chiropractors do a physical examination of a range of motion, pain scale questionnaire, orthopedic tests to measure that the symptoms are gone. Although this method is still only measuring symptoms so in this set of examination they are only looking to cover up the symptoms. There are Chiropractors that go further and take radiological examinations and have x-ray films to see the spine and re-take x-ray films after a certain amount of time. The public and normal people are not educated in looking at x-ray films and anatomy of our skeletal structures. That means we are at the mercy of the Chiropractor to tell us if we are progressing well. Most often times they say that there is progress and we just agree because we don’t want to look like we have no idea what they are saying. There are also other assessments for subluxations such as monitoring spinal thermographs, a static electromyograph, electrocardiographs, and many more assessment tools.

X-rays:normal-cervical-curve1

Some chiropractors use x-rays mostly as a scare tactic to make you fearful of your condition and sign up for chiropractic adjustments and never use them. Very caring, objective and scientific Chiropractors are always looking at them when the client comes in and analyzing and comparing the x-rays to the client as a reference. Most of the time Chiropractors want to see if there are specific conditions such as fractures, malformation of the bone structures, and degeneration. This will help to specify the Chiropractic adjustments for more efficient structure in the body so that adaptation to stress is more efficient. When x-rays are taken, many Chiropractors are not being careful of positioning the client and sometimes create scoliosis like an appearance to the x-ray. Which means they are adjusting the spine thinking there is scoliosis but there really was a misinterpretation.

The most important part of using x-ray in the progress of care is to see if the Chiropractic adjustments are improving degeneration, changing the structure of the spine, and further specify the chiropractic adjustments for the clients.

Neurological/Physical Examination:

hc_epilepsy_diagnosis_neurological_exam_articleMany Chiropractors check for pain levels, sensations on different areas of your arms, feet, orthopedic tests, neurological reflexes, checking the range of motion of the neck or low back. Many times these tests are necessary for very severe conditions and not always accurate for subluxations. Most of these tests are orthopedic medical doctor’s procedures and is not designed for assessing subluxations. Often times these exams are initially examined but it is not too often that the results are re-examined again. The results are not explained and do not correlate very well with the client’s problems. Many health insurances require the Chiropractors to do these tests for insurance to cover the chiropractic adjustments.

Computerized Neurological Examination:

There are many emerging assessment technologies for subluxations to make the chiropractic adjustments to be specific and have the better idea of the progress of the personal health. Subluxation Station from Chiropractic Leadership Alliance has been in the industry for more than 20 years. Most common assessment has been measuring heat patterns of the spinal areas called Spinal thermography. Subluxations have inflammation of the nerve and the spinal thermography detect areas of subluxations and the conditions and progress of each nerve. Another common assessment is measuring the state of muscle spasms with static electromyograph. Subluxations cause muscle spasms with imbalanced contraction of muscles. By using the static electromyographs we can see the how new or old the subluxations are. After a number of chiropractic adjustments, the muscle condition can show us how our body is adapting to our stressful environments. A recent technology has been used for assessing subluxation is electrocardiographs. This is measuring the variability of our heart rate to assess how our body is adapting to the environment. Our body is dynamic and constantly adapting to different environments. Electrocardiographs will help chiropractors to assess their chiropractic adjustments are getting rid of the subluxations and helping people to have their body to adapt to the environment.

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Chiropractic Adjustment:

In the media, the chiropractic adjustment is often confused with twisting the neck or low back quickly and making a cracking noise that reduces the pain. First ever chiropractic adjustment was not as such. D.D. Palmer investigated the medical history of a partially deaf man, Harvey Lillard. Lillard informed Palmer that while working in a cramped area seventeen years earlier, he felt a ‘pop’ in his back, and had been nearly deaf ever since. Palmer’s examination found a sore lump which he believed was a spinal misalignment and a possible cause of Lillard’s poor hearing. Palmer claimed to have corrected the misalignment and that Lillard’s hearing improved. Two important things from this D. D. Palmer: Chiropractic was not discovered to help back pain, Chiropractic was discovered because chiropractic adjustment helped restored the function of the body.

Chiropractic adjustment and Osteopathic Manipulation Therapy

Often times Chiropractic adjustment is confused with osteopathic manipulation therapy. Chiropractic has always been about restoring spinal misalignment and correcting subluxation only. Osteopathic manipulation therapy is a broader spectrum of therapeutic options in addition to thrust techniques, among which are myofascial release, muscle energy, counterstrain, visceral manipulation, prescribe medication, and surgery.

Chiropractic Adjusting Devices vs. Chiropractic Manual Adjustments

Chiropractic adjustments have various techniques and some useful tools to adjust the spine. Traditionally, chiropractic adjustment was performed by hand only. In the latest century, there were many devices innovated to do the adjustment such as an activator, adjustor, and much more is out there. Many people prefer the chiropractic devices because they seem safer. Although, there are controversies whether the chiropractic devices help people. With Chiropractor’s adjusting manually by hand only, the experience is the best indicator of getting best results for clients with specific conditions. Younger the chiropractor doesn’t mean less experience because some people will practice and discipline themselves to learn how to sharpen their skills.

Specific Chiropractic Technique websites such as Gonstead Clinical Studies Society shows the Gonstead technique practitioners when they attended the last seminars and how many years they are in practice. This may not always be the best indicator of how much practice and skill a chiropractor has. If anyone is looking for a skilled chiropractor, please contact the office.

Office:952-500-8733

http://www.zenchiropracticinc.com


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Does Chiropractic Care Never End?

This is a million dollar question. Does Chiropractic care ever end?

Many people are suspicious about Chiropractic care because in their experiences are that the care never ends. People pay thousands or dollars over the period of time. Their frequency of care doesn’t decrease and the cost keeps mounting up. At one point their most observable results starts to peak and you feel that your health condition is not changing. These are concerns of the public and this concern is very legitimate because they are paying clients that want to get observable results. People should reach their goals when they reach the result they wanted and eventually their chiropractic adjustments should end at a certain point. What is the starting point and how frequent is chiropractic adjustments?

Frequency of Chiropractic adjustments:

Only way to really know how frequent the person has to come in for chiropractic adjustment is determined by how the first chiropractic adjustment has helped the subluxation. Once the initial examination is done, we know what the condition of the person and the first chiropractic adjustment is done. Then the next visit is very important. If the person that was given chiropractic adjustments healed fast then the frequency will be less frequent. If the person healed very slow then the frequency will be more frequent. After several chiropractic adjustments, re-examinations is done to assess the healing progression.

Progession of Chiropractic adjustments:

The progression of chiropractic adjustments phases1depends on the starting point of their health condition. Many people are in pain and they have a lot or problems, but once the pain is gone many people don’t see the reason for continuing chiropractic adjustments. The problem is that many people are not told the damaged areas of the spine will not be stable even after the pain is gone. If people stop the chiropractic adjustments after the pain is gone then the unstable condition will revert back to the original condition and pain eventually.  The healing process of damaged areas to be stable takes long period time for the muscles and ligaments.

Once the damaged areas are completely healed the body has more adaptability and healing capability to maintain the spine by themselves. Eventually the nerves are in 100% function, so the frequency of chiropractic adjustments decreases.

End of Chiropractic Adjustment:

There are times when a client comes in to the office and there is no physical evidence of the need to adjust the person’s spine. As long as the chiropractor is always assessing the condition and progress of subluxation, then eventually there will be objective and scientific conclusion that there are no more subluxations. Then there is an end for chiropractic adjustments as long as the person can maintain their good condition. Find a chiropractor that will communicate and educate everyone about their progression and condition of subluxation will give the answer you seek.

How long this will take, how frequent the chiropractic adjustments are, and how much it will cost.

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How does a Chiropractor know where to fix?

“The right number and right kind of adjustments can set the stage for nature to heal; too many adjustments in the wrong place can undo any good that was done and slow down the healing mechanism…..Chiropractic is not easy. It is a scientific approach. In order to get those things right, they have to be so right. None of us can be too careful. Too many of the chiropractors are unwilling to really study enough to truly understand spinal mechanics.” Dr. Clarence Gonstead

Who is Dr. Gonstead? For those who have not looked at my website, he is nicknamed as the “miracle man”. He is a Chiropractor that has developed a very detailed and specific adjusting system named after himself. The Gonstead technique is widely known to be very comprehensive and specific technique in analysis and adjustments with less force. He was so busy that he had to build an airstrip for people into his small town in Mount Horeb, WI, and a hotel to accommodate the clients that came to see him from around the world. After seeing 7 million people in his chiropractic career, he was well known to be a Chiropractor of Chiropractors. Dr. Gonstead passed away in 1978 and left an amazing legacy and many students to keep on his teachings.

Not everyone was fortunate to get see Dr. Gonstead for chiropractic adjustments. Most people who had chiropractic adjustments from chiropractors that did not follow to the level of specificity of the technique of Dr. Gonstead had mixed feelings or mixed results after chiropractic adjustments. Some felt nothing changed or worse for that matter.

As you read the quote from Dr. Gonstead in the first paragraph, there are chiropractors that adjust too many and in the wrong place. As a Chiropractor, practicing on each other during Chiropractic school is essential to be a better chiropractor. Also the price of paying with your own spine on getting adjusted on the wrong areas. There was one experience of mine where the student adjusted my spine with a huge cracking noise and he felt the adjustment went well. Although, I had great pain in my low back with radiating pain down my leg for 6 months. So hearing a huge noise does not mean the chiropractic adjustment is the right one, it is the results afterward that determines if the chiropractic adjustment is right or wrong.

Dr. Gonstead said, “…too many chiropractors are adjusting the wrong one!” What is the wrong one is referred to as a compensation for the real problem called subluxation? Subluxation is the misalignment of the spine causing impingement of the nerve that causes loss of function and healing. Compensation is misalignment that is caused by subluxation and creates symptoms like pain. Compensations are very misleading to people who have them and for people who are correcting subluxation. Many people think the most painful spot is the problem and most often times it is not.

“A vertebra which is misaligned because of a subluxation elsewhere is considered a compensation.” Roger W. Herbst D.C. Gonstead Chiropractic Science & Art

Many chiropractors adjust from 7-10 segments in the spine. The most common reason is that if the segment in the spine is not moving, let’s give it motion and then it will feel better. Motion is life! This common philosophy does not distinguish compensation and subluxation. Who has this idea typically adjust everything and anything?  Their thinking might be anything that is misaligned put it back so that the spine is in perfect shape.

Most chiropractors are trying to give everyone the perfect spine. In the Gonstead method, we only care about finding the subluxation and allowing the person’s spine adapt and heal on their own. Some spines look like a bad scoliosis curvature but it is not the Chiropractor’s job to fix scoliosis. Once the body is free from subluxations then the starts to change shapes or adapts better to the person’s stress levels. This may change the spine’s shape to the more efficient structure to the stress that is put on to the spine.

Dr. Gonstead made sure to find the right one and re-analyze after he adjusted a spinal segment. Just to check if the adjustment was enough or too much force. Dr. Gonstead was able to determine whether the disc was acute or chronic, the position of the disc herniation, and much more information on the condition of the nervous system. Dr. Gonstead also used radiological films, observed postural changes, skin inflammation analysis, and listened to your symptoms. Then he put all that information together to find the one or two segments that were the subluxation. This gave future generations of chiropractors that followed Dr. Gonstead to reproduce what he was able to do. That was adjusted about 7 million people in his life and help very difficult conditions that even medical doctors were not able to help.


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Disc Problems and Back Surgeries

At this very moment, people are lying in bed in agony from disc pain Is surgery their only option? You have tried Chiropractic and sometimes it helps and sometimes it didn’t. Can there be another option?

What Is The Intervertebral Disc?

The intervertebral discs lie between the spinal bones and act like shock absorbers, preventing the bones from painfully rubbing together. They are made up of a tough outer ring (annular fibrosis) and a gel-like center (nucleus pulposus). Like a jelly donut, the fiber on the outer cover and jelly in the middle. posterior_osteotomy

Your 23 spinal discs help give your spine its curves that you can see from the side of your spine (a curved spine is sixteen times stronger than a straight one) and also join the vertebrae together. Discs contribute to your height—in the morning you are about ¼”-1/2” taller than you were the night before because your discs thin a little during the day and expand a little while you sleep

When you damage these discs over time or from sudden trauma, you lose your height significantly and cause degeneration in the spine.

The Cause Of Spine Pain

Today many researchers believe that the disc is one of the most common sources of lower back pain. The fiber of the disc is damaged and the jelly part of the disc will pop out and herniate and puts pressure on a nerve.Disc and Jelly Donut

Disc Protrusion & Prolapse

Surprisingly, the disc may start showing signs of wear and tear as early as age 15. As you age, the disc may lose fluid and small cracks (lesions) from within the outer walls. This aging may be accelerated by the vertebral subluxation complex, a spinal distortion chiropractors correct. If the nucleus pulposus begins to push the annular fibrosis a little out of shape, it’s called a protrusion. If the disc bulge goes into the spinal cord or puts extreme pressure on the lumbar nerves, it is a disc prolapse. A prolapse may cause such severe pain that sitting, standing, walking or lifting could be impossible. Other symptoms can include pain when urinating, defecating, sneezing and coughing; numbness of the leg or foot or a loss of muscular control may also occur.

herniated_disc-resized-600Slipped Disc

“Slipped disc” is a misnomer—the disc cannot slip since it is knitted into the vertebrae from both above and below. What sometimes slip are the vertebrae, which may put pressure on the disc and contribute to its damage. Many “slipped discs” would be more accurately called slipped vertebrae.

Organic Disc

Disc degeneration may damage spinal nerves and contribute to conditions in the pelvic area. Among these are endometriosis, infections (bladder, vaginal, kidney), urinary retention, prostate problems, miscarriage, sterility, sexual impotence, cystitis, menstrual cramps, and constipation. It is not uncommon for an individual who has a chronic back problem to suffer from one or more of the above problems as well.

The Medical Approach

The medical approach to disc problems is often a combination of painkillers, muscle relaxers and physical therapy, which may involve hot or cold packs, baths, traction, electrical stimulation, and surgery.

Is Back Surgery Effective?

There are many reports from many medical doctors and others who find that many patients who decide to pursue a non-operative approach towards disc herniation may not need the surgery. Back surgery, usually performed by an orthopedic surgeon, is at times warranted. We must mention here, however, that cauda equine syndrome, which includes buttock numbness, leg weakness and bladder and bowel dysfunction is considered by many to be the only absolute indication for surgery.

spine-surgery1Surgery can be highly effective in some patients who suffer from sciatica or low back pain but results can vary widely. This approach is controversial with some individuals claiming that relief following back surgery is often short-lived and that after about six months to one year many of the spinal problems recur. Back surgery has a high failure rate and there is much controversy in this area. Americans have more spinal problems. Many people who have had spinal surgery claim that within one year after surgery their symptoms are no different than before they had the surgery.

Sadly, however, the number of spinal surgeries is increasing much faster than the population. One observer explained this increase in purely monetary terms “Surgery rates are influenced by the ratio of surgeons to population”.

Failed Back Surgery

Back surgery for herniation should only be attempted as a last resort. That is because back surgery is a dangerous procedure with a high failure rate. The failure of back surgery is so common that those suffering from it have Failed Back Surgery Syndrome. About 600,000 back surgeries are performed per year with an average failure rate of 53%.

The Chiropractic Record

A proper alignment between the disc, the vertebrae and other structures in the spine is essential for healthy discs and that is why chiropractic has such an excellent record with disc sufferers, often saving them from the bleak prospect of surgery. Chiropractors have claimed a reduction of lumbar disc protrusion as a result of spinal care.

Although, many people ask the question of whether it is really effectiveness since many people tried and had mixed results. They would wonder if it is helpful or not. The answer is both yes and no. It solely depends on the Chiropractors. If the Chiropractor is not well trained and uses extra measures to be specific on disc herniation such as doing neurological examinations, radiological exams, and taking the time to study them before adjusting the disc problem then we can make it worse. If you go to a Chiropractor that rushes the examination process and quick to adjust your spine then you have to questions yourself what their motives are. They may be genuinely trying to help you but rushing to fix the problem without taking every measure to be the specific idea of your condition may be harmful than good.

How to Prevent Disc Problems

Many people have tried exercises, nutrition, therapy for disc problems before or after back surgeries. Exercise can help to a certain point because it will help to strengthen the structure of muscles. Nutrition or Herbs to help the pain and regrow the disc, muscles, and tendons for a stronger structure. Such as Guto Kola or Boswellia Complex from Standard Process for damage to muscles and tendons. Inversion Tables or any machine that will pull your spine may take the pain away for a period of time but there can be damage to the healthy discs or damaged disc. Mechanically pulling the disc is not what the disc is made for but for compressive forces. Pulling the disc will or may damage them further. Having a Chiropractor that knows how to manually traction vertebra and pump the disc joint is highly effective since every person is different having a customized care is very important in the outcome of the results.

Make sure the Chiropractor you visit, has taken every measure to be specific of taking notes, asking questions, doing neurological examinations, radiological examinations, and taking the time to find the cause of the disc problem. You can always ask when you set up the appointment with Chiropractors or look up their website and see if they explain what the first visit would be like. If they rush the process and skip the process of explaining what might be the cause of your condition, then you have to question yourself if you are with the right Chiropractic Office.

Chiropractic spinal care may help prevent your spine from deterioration and your discs from the herniation. Can chiropractic help even if you’ve already had surgery? Yes! Chiropractors can often help relieve the pain and frustration of failed back surgery and may help prevent future operations. Please, before your spine gets worse, have a chiropractic spinal checkup.


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Healing Within: Eastern and Western

Zen Chiropractic realizes that pain, whether mental or physical, has a negative impact on our lives and bodies. Our goal is to establish 100% function and communication of the Brain/Spinal Cord to the body so they can have full capacity for self-control, mental discipline, and help treat many mental/physical diseases. Dr. Zen utilizes Biomechanical Concepts of Science and Energy Efficiency of the body coming from the Healing Philosophy of Chi from the East and Chiropractic from the West for healing mentally/physically from within.

Energy Efficiency: Flow of Chi

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, energy force is running like a river of energy flowing down the back of your spine. (This energy is called Chi.) This river of energy can be body fluid, blood, electrical nerve conductance, body chemistry that flows down the spine and flows to many different organs. It is known by many Qigong Masters and Acupuncturists that the brain organizes and distributes the necessary energy to heal and function. The brain sends its energy through its nerves, arteriole, vein structures, lymph nodes, and other anatomical structures.governing vessel

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is a major flow of Chi along the spine called “Governing Vessel.” The Governing Vessel is the confluence of all the majority of channels, over which it is said to “govern.”  The Governing vessel is responsible for nourishing other organs. Because of their importance to health, the Governing vessel is considered one of the most important Qi channels to be regulated and maintained.

For Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctors, they used spinal manipulations called Tui Na Manipulations. They have been doing musculoskeletal manipulations as an ancient practice to create the flow of Qi in the body. These manipulations are called traditional bone setting techniques that are more for creating audible noise.

Biomechanical Science: Gonstead Chiropractic

The restoration and revitalizing of the spine are often misunderstood with cracking of the spine by twisting it very quickly. We all know that cracking our knuckles will not cure arthritis in our hands but we think that it will with our spine. The cracking noise is due to the change of pressure of the fluid of any joint. If the change of pressure in your joint is greater then normal then the bubbles that formed in your joints will pop. That pop is the cracking noise that is well known to us. That cracking noise sends a simulation to our nerves in the joint for the brain to release Endorphins that are natural morphine. So many of you that like to “CRACK” your neck, then you are addicted to the “CRACK!” Many people think that this noise will cure everything but it does little to restore and revitalize spine and nervous system.

Dr_GonsteadDr. Gonstead, who was considered the “Miracle Man,” gave us the basis of a more efficient biomechanical concept of restoring and revitalizing the spine. After seeing 7 million people during his lifetime, he made a conclusion that bones in the spine will fall backward and tilt, then drag the disc into herniation. Then the disc herniation will compress or interfere with the integrity of the nerve structures and cause a decrease in communication with the brain and spinal cord. Then the nerve will slowly lose its structural integrity and degenerate up to 60%. Then the pain and other physical symptoms will appear and people will start to notice the problem in their body.

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This problem of the disc herniation and misalignment of the bone in the spine causing interference of the nerves’ ability to communicate with the muscles/organs/senses is called Subluxation. It is like a dislocation but not completely ripped out of the joint but slightly out of the original location. Dr. Gonstead simply used a gentle technique to use the spine’s anatomical structure and life the tilted spinal bone to restore the disc and bone to its original location. By doing this the nerve and the rest of the spine will be able to communicate with the muscles/organs/senses to the whole body and restore and revitalize mentally/physically from within.

Chiropractic is Chi-Practice

Using Gonstead Chiropractic and understanding the concepts from Traditional Chinese Medicine made everything into a whole picture of how the body operates together. There is a physical and structural component of the spine that keeps the integrity of the nervous system. There is also the energy of Chi that flows and replenishes and nourishes the body. By keeping the spinal bones and disc restored and all the nerves communicating helps to get full efficiency for the flow of Chi.hand_pain

It is like having someone pinch your fingers. You can do nutrition/herbs/exercises to help your finger but you can only go so far because the finger is being pinched! The blood circulation is restricted so the nourishment from the nutrition and herbs will be limited. Exercises will help to increase blood pressure but the flow is still restricted by pinching the finger. Only when we remove the fingers pinching your finger will remove the restriction and allow the full optimal capacity of blood to flow. Nutrition/herbs/exercises can finally make a huge difference in seeing results.

Many people try to get a quick fix from simply twisting the spine and making a “CRACK” noise to induce the morphine response. But only goes so far because it only twists the spine and that does not lift the spinal bones that fell backward and drag the disc to herniate. With Dr. Gonstead’s method of chiropractic adjustment, the nerves and disc will be restored and allow the communication/flow of Chi to the rest of the body.


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What you can not see or feel.

Imagine a surprised expression on a five-year-old’s face when they learn their heart is a pump which never stops working, even when they are asleep. The wonderful truth is that their circulation system works well without their even knowing one of the most basic things about their body. Our circulation systems work independently from our knowledge. Our lives neither begin nor stop because of our knowledge. Information and knowledge come later in life, but our bodies work regardless. Obviously, if life began to work only when we understood it, then none of us would be living today.

Actually, isn’t it true, with exception of healthcare professionals, we live our lives without understanding how the intricate systems of our own bodies work? The surprise expressed by the child at his discovery was a symbolic event. This surprise is repeated throughout our lives as we discover more and more about ourselves. The question is: what happens when our body gets stressed? How do we adapt to our stress on our body? How does our heart react to physical, chemical, and emotional stress?images

The Pulse Wave Profiler (PWP) helps us to determine your overall ability to adapt to stress. The PWP measures your adaptability to stress by looking at the timing of your pulse, and determining the balance and tone of your nervous system; this exam is known as heart rate variability (HRV). Proper balance and tone are associated with better adaptability and a healthy lifestyle. Low heart rate variability is associated with aging and poor heart health. Published research has shown that chiropractic adjustments have a beneficial effect on heart rate variability and monitor our adaptability to physical, chemical, and emotional stress.

The Pulse Wave Profiler (PWP) allows the autonomic nervous system to be monitored in new ways by collecting Heart Rate Variability (HRV) data. Heart Rate Variability is the beat-to-beat variation in heart rate. This natural rise and fall of heart rate are caused by several physiologic phenomena, including breathing and autonomic nervous system activity. Healthcare professionals utilize HRV for a wide variety of clinical applications. Chiropractors use HRV to get a window into how the autonomic nervous system (ANS) modulates heart rate in the baseline or resting state. Published research has demonstrated that chiropractic adjustments have favorable effects on HRV parameters. For the first time, instead of measuring parameters on or around the spine, we are able to directly measure the effect of chiropractic care on the function of a vital organ.

Many people cannot feel or see what is going on internally and they are highly dependent on pain or other symptoms to determine their present health condition. Like the innocent and ignorant 5-year-old child who doesn’t know how their heart is working, the absence of symptoms doesn’t mean health problems don’t exist. Dr. Zen has had many clients who thought they were healthy and didn’t have problems who ended up having cancer, disc herniations, heart attacks, diabetes, and many other health problems. Dr. Zen has seen many clients with menstrual cycle issues, depression, ADHD, Parkinson’s disease, migraines, and many more. The common health problem in these clients has been the imbalance of the nervous system, an inability to adapt to stressors, and an inability to heal their degenerated bodies. In addition to the Pulse Wave Profiler, spinal thermographs, and Surface Electromyography of the Spine are also used at Zen Chiropractic Inc. to determine the cause of the neurological problems that we can’t see or feel.

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