Being a Chiropractor

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I am compelled to begin my story with a quote, “We never know how far-reaching something we may think, say or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow,” B.J. Palmer DC.

While lying in a hospital bed, I remembered trying desperately to figure out what was happening and why am I here. I felt trapped and confused, burning up with a fever and yet at the same time a very strange sense of peace.  The next thing I knew the Medical Doctor and an assistant were leaning over the foot of the bed; explaining to me that I was scheduled for surgery the next day to remove my right kidney and that my body had gone into a state of shock due to the kidney malfunction. It was at the very moment in my life that I experienced my connection to the wisdom of the body. My inner voice took over and at the time I felt like it was the voice of God. It said, “You have a choice, a right, to be well.”

After a great deal of struggle and determination, with the help of my friend, I signed myself out of the hospital and went to my friends Chiropractor who gave me my first adjustment, which changed my life and health significantly.

This vital connection was a huge turning point. This health challenge led me to spin in a 180 degree direction. I had been engaged in cancer research, this challenge changed my entire direction and whole outlook on life. Within months my health returned and so a quest for a profession of Chiropractic and natural health care.

August 1987 I began Chiropractic College and on the very first day, in fact the very first class Biochemistry lab, I met Joe. It truly was the perfect chemistry. We became best friends instantly and studied for every exam together. We graduated 4 years later and married opening our Chiropractic practice together.

Joe’s introduction to Chiropractic, though different to mine, had similar life changing effects. While training for an Eastern American Weight Lifting meet, he severely injured his low back and was diagnosed with a herniated L5 disc. Prior to this injury, he spent 2 years going to doctors and taking various pain killers with no avail and his condition progressively got worse. One day he reached the point to where he could barely walk on his own. He remembers leaving the drug store looking at the prescription and the little blue pills, thinking to himself, “I have excruciating radiating pain down my right leg and when I swallow this blue pill how does it know where to go?” At that point he decided that if he stayed on his current route, that there would be no way he would be able to compete and continue his career in the weight lifting profession. He decided to seek out a Chiropractor for his debilitating condition. Within seven chiropractic adjustments he was 90% pain free, was able to enter the weight lifting meet, squatted 600 pounds, benched 400 pounds, and dead lifted 600 pounds; which was more than enough for a first place finish. After the first year of seeing his chiropractor regularly, he was not plagued with the usual chronic cases of bronchitis or strep throat that he had experienced routinely since a young boy. He therefore began referring several friends and family with a diverse list of health aliments; from migraines headaches, breathing problems, and even severe symptoms of multiple scoliosis. With Joe’s true compassion to help others and gratitude for his improved health and performance, he was compelled to pursuit a career as a doctor of Chiropractic.

For many years prior to my extreme health challenge, in fact as far back as I can remember, I have been suffering with chronic infections, digestive problems and a general state of continuous health trials  which my parents tried desperately to find an answer. We consulted many doctors and specialists. At the point of my extreme challenge with my health, and kidneys, I knew something more had to be done. I was willing to take my chances if I were to continue to live and regain my health.

I vividly remember the Chiropractor had absolute confidence in the healing power of the body. His procedure was entirely different from any of my previous experiences with other medical doctors. Instead of checking my pulse, listening to my heart, taking my blood pressure or my family history, the chiropractor examined my spine; particularly the back of my neck. I recall the area being very sore and tender. My examination also included X-rays consisting of my neck and spine. My chiropractor explained that he found the first and second cervical vertebrae (those right at the top of my neck and under my skull) to be severely out of place. He stated that this displacement is called a ‘Subluxation’ (a subluxation means a vertebra is out of proper alignment causing pressure or an interference to be caused in the nervous system). He further explained that the severe misalignment of my upper neck was the primary factor causing my trouble, and resulting in poor body function.

After explaining the problem he had found, he placed me on his adjusting table. Using only his hands he adjusted my neck bones. After this adjustment, he placed me under his care for the necessary check-ups and further adjustments. In a short amount of time I began to feel and function better and my health was soon restored. Before long I was well and life was once again worth living.

This experience was my personal introduction to the profession of Chiropractic. I have no doubt that Chiropractic saved my life. That moment of connection I had with my body’s innate intelligence, Doctor within, or God if you will while in the hospital bed I will never forget.

*****

Each year millions of people are enjoying the most popular natural drug free health care system in the world, Chiropractic. Chiropractic helps people function closer to their physical and emotional best, recover from sickness, disease and disability faster, along with minimize their use of drugs or surgery in their lives. Many who choose a chiropractic lifestyle report less stress, more vitality, and more enjoyment in life.

Chiropractic is a system of healthcare that releases a serious stress from your body, the vertebral subluxation complex (VSC). A subluxation is an often a painless, tiny, special distortion that can affect your nerves, muscles, internal organs, discs, bones, brain function, posture and overall health. Chiropractic is a science, an art and a philosophy. It is a science that deals primarily with the spine and central nervous system. Unlike conventional medicine, which relies primarily on drugs and or surgery, Chiropractic uses adjustments of the spine to correct misalignments that have affected the proper flow of communications between the brain, the nervous system, and the rest of the body. Once the spine is realigned to its proper position, the nerves can do their job without impediment and the individual experiences greater health. Chiropractic is not just a science it is also an art, it is the art of all things natural. The function of chiropractic is not to heal disease or even to relieve pain, although both of those effects commonly occur in the course of chiropractic care. Ultimately the goal of the chiropractic art is to restore the body to its natural state, which is one of radiant health and release the doctor within. Chiropractic works with the body’s own energy, guiding bones and tissues that have been damaged through trauma or misuse (physical, chemical, and or emotional stress) back to their correct positions via the chiropractic adjustment. When the bones and soft tissue are restored to their proper states the vital pathway between the brain and the body is restored. Then the chemical, neurological and mechanical processes of the body function as they are supposed to.

But perhaps the most important, Chiropractic is a powerful, rich, and specific meticulous philosophy about the causes of life, health, and disease. Chiropractic believes that inside each of us is an innate wisdom that wants to express itself as perfect health and wellbeing. Chiropractor’s primary focus is simply to correct any physiological blocks to the proper expression of the body’s innate wisdom; once those blocks are corrected, health is the natural result.

Since its beginning, chiropractic has helped millions of people around the world achieve their potential for positive wellness. They have found that the preventative approach of chiropractic has helped keep them healthy at a reasonable cost.

Manipulation and or adjustments of the spine have existed since the beginning of human civilization. An ancient Chinese text indicates that manipulation techniques were being used in the country as early as 2700 B.C.E. Societies all over the ancient world-Babylon, Syria, India, Tibet, Tanan, Native American tribes such as the Sioux, Winnebagos, and Creeks, South American groups of Mayan, Aztec, Toltec, Tarascan, and Zotlec Indians and the Incas-practiced manipulation as a means of relieving pain and restoring the body to normal function.

Conventional Western medicine, however, traces its roots back to ancient Greece. Over twenty-four hundred years ago, around 400 B.C.E in the school of the great physician Hippocrates (the legendary father of what we call today “conventional” medicine), students were taught that disease was not a result of supernatural forces or the displeasure of the gods, as had once been believed. Instead Hippocratic philosophy was based on the premise that a human body was subject to the same forces and laws as nature itself. Therefore it was possible for humankind to have a role in the caring of disease and the maintance of health.

At the school of Hippocrates, the beliefs of conventional medicine and the principles that today underlie chiropractic are the same. As described in the Hippocratic text, On the Nature of Man, a healthy body is one that is “in balance”, and illness is the result of an imbalance in one of the body’s systems. The job of the Hippocratic physician was to help the body preserve its balance through healthy living, or to restore the balance once it was disturbed through accident or illness, by relying on the healing power of nature; similar to chiropractic today. Instead of focusing on the disease itself, physicians were directed to get the patient healthy primarily through exercise; diet, manipulation and rest, then the disease would be eliminated. Another text, on the Ancient Medicine, states “Our natures are the physicians of our diseases.” Physicians were directed first to “do no harm” (a phrase still found in the Hippocratic Oath every doctor takes) and second, to ease symptoms to allow the body to heal itself. Since the human body was greatly revered, cutting into it was considered close to sacrilegious. Therefore, physicians had to rely upon observation and natural means to affect a cure.

One of these natural means was manipulation. In the sixty or so works and fragments that constitute our entire knowledge of what was taught at the Hippocratic School, several of them describe contemporary knowledge of the musculoskeletal system and its treatment, “Get knowledge of the spine,” says one text, “for this is the requisite for many disease” Hippocrates.

Through the years certain physicians had used manipulations of the spine and joints as part of their treatments with references to the potential effects of spinal and joint misalignment that would appear in the medical literature of the day. In 1842 for example, a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in England wrote: “Every organ and muscle in the body is dependent more or less upon the spinal nerves…when one vertebra forms a slight exception in the regularity of spinal line, either by height or distance from its fellows, a serious train of nervous symptoms may supervene.”

*****

Late in the nineteenth century, Modern chiropractic was discovered in Davenport, Iowa. Dr. D.D. Palmer was curious as to the causes of disease. “What difference was there in two persons that caused one to have pneumonia…typhoid or rheumatism, while his partner, similarly situated escaped?” he asked. Palmer theorized that many conditions of ill health were due not to general joint problems but to misaligned vertebrae in the spine, which interfered with the nerve signals sent from the brain through the spinal cord to the rest of the body.

In 1895 Palmer’s theories were put to the test. Harvey Lillard, a janitor in Palmer’s office building had been deaf for 17 years. The man told Palmer he had exerted himself while stooping, felt something give way to his back and his hearing had disappeared. Palmer examined him and discovered that one of the man’s vertebrae were severely out of alignment. He persuaded the janitor to lie face down on a couch and using his hand, pushed the vertebrae back into its proper position. “Soon”, Palmer reported, “the man could hear as before.” D.D. Palmer continued to treat patients with different conditions using spinal manipulations and saw significant results with many of them. He termed this new approach to healing chiropractic, from the Greek work cheri, “hand”, and praktikos, “practice.”

Over the next several years, D.D. Palmer combined his experience with patients at his clinic, further research into anatomy and physiology, and his background in magnetic or energetic healing and created the foundations of what the world now knows as chiropractic.

D.D. Palmer also posited that there is intelligence within the human body that is a microcosm or manifestation of the greater energy that forms, supports, and exists in every art of the universe. The brain and nerves are some of the primary conduits of this energy of the body. Thus, when vertebral misalignment or subluxations, are corrected by a chiropractor’s adjustments, the life force can flow throughout the body as it was designed to, and we experience our natural state of radiant health and wellbeing. While Palmer’s belief in the life force was questioned for years, recent studies in the field such as psyochoneuroimmunology and psychobiology are showing effects of mind upon matter, and how interference with messages from the brain can indeed contribute to a wide variety of conditions and disease.

Since the early years of the twentieth century, chiropractic has continued to grow as a profession and a discipline. Fostered by D.D. Palmer’s son B.J. Palmer, chiropractic schools were established in several states and cities. In a little over a century, chiropractic has grown to become the second largest health care system in the United States and the largest drug-free profession in the world.
The Vital Connection: Your spinal column and nervous system.

The key to real health is to have every organ tissue and system of your body functioning exactly as it was designed. Overall health has little to do with how you feel, your temperature, or whether symptoms are present. Those who die of heart attacks, cancer or dozens of other health problems suffer ill health long before their first symptom.

True health allows us to adapt to the environment, cooling us when we’re hot, fighting a virus, healing a cut, digesting our food and millions of other vital activities. When there is interference to this complex orchestra of controlling nerve impulses the resulting symptoms are simply warning signs something is not right.

The chiropractic vital connections to true health are to locate any part of the nervous system that has lost proper control of the organs and tissues of your body. A common culprit is when the spinal column chokes or irritates the brain stem, spinal cord, or nerve roots. Locating and correcting these vertebral subluxations is the primary interest of the doctor of chiropractic. This vital connection to spinal integrity and your nervous system with the body’s function is the key to true health.

Health is not how you feel rather it’s how you function.

Upon conception you were endowed with the innate intelligence needed to organize and run your body. You have a special intelligence that knows how fast to beat your heart, digest your food, ward off infection, heal a cut, and help you adapt to your ever changing environment. Chiropractic refers to this vital focus as “innate intelligence.”

Fortunately, it requires no conscious thought. It has nothing to do with being smart and it works perfectly, unless there is interference to the nervous system.

*****

Your nervous system consisting of your brain, brain stem, spinal cord and 31 pairs of nerve roots, helps control your innate expression. This intricate web of delicate nerves is in touch with every cell, tissue, organ and system of your body. Any disturbance, irritation, or change in the ability of your nervous system to orchestrate the functions of your body can set the stage for disease and ill health.

One of the most common nervous system disturbances is the vertebral subluxation complex. When bones of the spinal column lose their normal motion or position, they can rub, choke, or irate the brains stem, spinal cord, and nerve roots. Correcting injuries to the function of your nervous system allows the body’s in born healing ability to do its job. That’s why it’s called a chiropractic adjustment!

“Why search the world over for an exterminator or an antidote for disease? Why not look for the cause of the ailment in the person affected and then correct it?”-B.J. Palmer, D.C.

During our 25 plus years involved in the chiropractic profession Joe and I witnessed in numeral occasions where chiropractic produced tremendous results in health restoration and miraculous recoveries. We give thanks to God every day, that our three sons; Joseph, 24; Roco, 20; and Patrick, 14, have been adjusted since the day they were born and have experienced excellent health, never needing so much as an aspirin, antibiotic or any other pill.

Chiropractic care has enabled us to be in great health allowing us physically, by our 18th year in practice to physically deliver one million adjustments.

The expression we like to use is that chiropractic care is from the “womb to the tomb” and patients range literally from hours old to over 100 years old. Chiropractic care is for all ages and likes of life style who seek optimal health and vitality.

The thousands of patients whom Joe and I have touched with chiropractic prove that spinal adjustments are the vital connection to health and wellness and Universal and Innate Intelligence of the doctor within.

(Written by Dr. Carolyn & Dr. Joseph Clauss)



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