Chiropractic care is becoming popular. If you don’t believe us, just look around. In a big city like Atlanta, everywhere we turn we see a chiropractor’s office. It’s enough to make you wonder if chiropractic offices and nail salons are a prerequisite for a permit to build a strip mall.
In years past, conventional medical doctors were quite vocal with their distrust and lack of respect for chiropractic care. Rather than view chiropractic as an alternative treatment modality, they called it quackery and did their best to dissuade their patients from trying spinal manipulation, even when chiropractic was the treatment of last resort before spinal surgery.
There seems to be a shift in perception. Today more doctors will support or even recommend chiropractic care in cases of injury, though few agree with the true tenants of chiropractic care.
At the heart of chiropractic practice lies the belief that a perfectly aligned body will heal itself of disease or injury. For many years the belief was that subluxation (the spine being out of alignment or “out of place”) was the only cause of poor health or disease. Dr. Kelly tells us,” There was a study done at a medical university back in the 1920s, I believe. They looked at a thousand people who had died and traced the nerve fibers from the organ that was the cause of death all the way back to the spine and the spinal connection. And in 96.4% of the cases the organ and nerve that was related to the cause of death was always misaligned. And for those that weren’t misaligned, the one above or the one below was misaligned.”
Our bodies are electrical. Nerves branch from the spinal column to every organ in the body. If the nerve is impinged, the electrical current is affected and function of the organ suffers. Conversely, if the organ is suffering, it can affect the spinal alignment. Dr Kelly says, “The vertebras are almost like the circuit breakers in your house. If you overload the circuits, yes, that circuit will trip. If someone has a severe allergy and they ingest or inhale that allergen, their top vertebrae will usually rotate. The spine will just shift.”
The majority of chiropractors today are no longer the purists of yesteryear who restricted treatment to spinal manipulation believing subluxations to be the only impediment to the body’s ability to heal itself. The majority now embrace a holistic approach to health and they recognize poor nutrition, toxicity, and a sedentary lifestyle as major causal factors in disease. Many employ various methods beyond spinal manipulation including supplementation and nutritional, detox, and lifestyle counseling along with massage, hydrotherapy, hot and cold treatments, and orthotics. Their choice of practice may, however, be restricted by their license as each state sets its own treatment parameters.
One major criticism of chiropractic is that adjustments don’t hold and patients return again and again for realignment. Many critics claim there is no real progress made and that chiropractic care is no more than a “feel good” treatment with no lasting value.
When chiropractors do not take a holistic approach to treatment, this can be true. If the patient does not exercise and strengthen the muscles that hold the spine in place or continues to abuse his/her body through poor nutrition and exposure to toxins, adjustments do not hold. Dr. Kelly says, “I try to get people to look at, ‘What will best suit me to help me from needing to get worked on over and over again?’ You have to exercise. You have to eat right. You have to rest properly. But there are people who have been hit by cars or have fallen out of trees. People like that need ongoing care to some extent.”
Dr. Kelly has found orthotic shoe inserts to be invaluable in his practice. “Make sure your foundation is stable. I wholeheartedly endorse orthotic shoe inserts simply because they help people stay more balanced. You can put some custom fitted shoe inserts in somebody’s shoes and immediately their unlevel hips or their unlevel shoulders straighten back up. When you’re walking around lopsided and you do something that causes you to straighten out, it’s simple bio-mechanics. It’s going to change how long your adjustment will last.” Dr. Kelly jokingly tells us that high quality custom orthotic shoe inserts are going to put him out of business because they drastically reduce or in many cases eliminate the need for regular spinal adjustments.
Stabilizing the spine and improving the diet are essential. But we also need to remember that the muscles and ligaments provide the structure to hold the spine in place. Muscle tone and strength are essential. But people begin to lose upper body muscle strength in their 40s and 50s. Dr. Kelly recommends we combine aerobic and anaerobic exercise (weight lifting/body building) as we age. “Each each year as you get into your 40’s and your 50’s you should increase your anaerobic exercise. That can be as simple as having a two or three pound weight on the coffee table to pick up when you’re watching television to do some arm, shoulder, and wrist stretches because people get to a point when they’re elderly when they can’t even pick up a can of soup or a pot to put it in because they just don’t have the strength.”
The main issues Dr. Kelly tries to endorse or teach are as follows:
- Make sure you digest your food. Chew your foods thoroughly because if you rush your meals or drink fluids when you eat, you are not going to digest your food properly and you will not receive its nutrition.
- Balance your omega 3s and omega 6s.
- Cut back on grains. We weren’t meant to eat grains year round or to eat so many grains.
- Increase fruits and vegetables.
- Choose your proteins wisely. Increase fish and wild game over conventional grain fed animals that are diseased, acidic, and too high in omega 6s.
- Get rid of irritants in your diet. If a food makes you tired, lethargic, or gives you a runny nose, avoid it.
- Get custom orthotics to balance you out. (Foot Levelers is the best company he has found).
At OLM we recommend you choose a chiropractor with a holistic approach. Find one who carries the highest quality supplements. Beware of any health care practitioner who lacks an understanding of nutrition and only uses supplements as the “quick fix” for acute health care problems. Don’t just treat symptoms. Work with your chiropractor to achieve your optimum health. Dr. Timothy Kelly’s treatment center is located in the Buckhead community of Atlanta, Georgia. He is available for phone consultations. Check out his website at www.drtimkelly.net.