Why some adjustments donít hold
Last month, I finished a three-part article on the lung and the mechanics of respiration. Now itís time to move on to a new subject that will last to the end of this year and carry over into 2012. I thought this month Iíd pause and review the main concepts Iíve been writing about in this series since beginning in June of 2009. We will then take these concepts and move forward.
Subluxations, are they the cause of the patientís symptoms or only a compensation for a yet-to-be-determined underlying cause? Most clinicians seek to relieve the patientís symptoms but to achieve healing, the cause must be determined and reduced, or eliminated. Let me say the same thing only differently: Once the cause is known the treatment becomes obvious.
Are spinal subluxations, with involved muscle contraction and loss of range of motion, producing visceral dysfunction and the cause of a patientís symptoms, or do they result from dysfunction of one or more of the organs and tissues that maintain normal function within the body?
Itís been known since very early in the 20th century that any time thereís a visceral dysfunction (an organ unable to fulfill its role in the maintenance of homeostasis) thereíll be muscle contraction in the muscles that share the same spinal innervation as the organ. Thereíll be muscle contraction found in the spine at the levels of that innervation. Consequently, we can safely say that when attempting to restore normal function, structure and function canít be separated. Both should be examined to determine the cause of the structural deviation(s) and the cause of the patientís symptomatology.
I believe the 21st-century chiropractor must be able to discern the cause of each involved subluxation every time theyíre to be adjusted. Since the spinal innervation of all the bodyís tissues are known, itís quite easy to determine when spinal subluxation is the cause and when itís simply an effect.
Palpate the involved muscles that share spinal innervation with the subluxated segment(s) for muscle contraction and tenderness or pain. Adjust the involved spinal segment(s). Re-palpate the peripheral muscles and if the contraction is now reduced, or even removed, the subluxation was causative.
If muscle contraction is unchanged, the subluxation is an effect and a different therapeutic approach is now needed. In such cases, case history, examination, and lab tests (if needed) should delineate the cause of the symptoms and a treatment plan devised to restore normal visceral function and spinal range of motion as well.
Where weíve been
I stated in my first column (June 2009) that the purpose of these articles was to call attention to what I call the "2nd Factor in Chiropractic." That is, determining when chronic, recurring subluxation patterns are perpetuated by visceral dysfunction in organs/tissues that share a common spinal innervation with the affected muscles.
When attempting to help patients who suffer from chronic or recurring health problems, especially those whoíve fallen through the cracks in medical care, itís imperative we donít make the mistake of being specialists in either structure of function. Rather, we need to be capable of considering both simultaneously. Let me say that Iím certainly not opposed to specialization. Iím simply pointing out that we should be able to determine which specialty is needed and when.
In the final analysis, we actually only treat one condition and that is stress. Stress to the bodyís structure, as it attempts to remain upright against gravity, and stress to the visceral organs, as they collectively attempt to maintain homeostasis within the extracellular fluid. Itís interesting to note that stress has only three causes and regardless of the cause, the body reacts in an identical manner physiologically. Since the cascade of events in response to stress is quite predictable, itís safe to say that stress is actually a specific diagnosis, and all thatís required of the clinician is to determine the cause.
Perhaps that chore is easier than we suppose. Consider that all symptoms can be collectively placed in one of three categories:
- Musculoskeletal dysfunction -- pain or loss of range of motion.
- Visceral dysfunction -- an organ running too fast or too slow, or otherwise out of step with other functions.
- Neurological dysfunction -- evidence of hyper, hypo, or paresthesia.
Where weíre going
This series began with three introductory articles and then started in the upper cervical spine and began working its way down the spine correlating spinal innervations to structure and related visceral connections. I wrote many articles discussing the sympathetic cervical chain and its various connections to the structures in the head and neck through the superior, middle and inferior ganglion. Next, we moved onto the thyroid, heart and lungs.
Beginning next month, weíll start in the upper abdomen and digestive organs.
(Dr. Loomis can be reached by mail at 6421 Enterprise Lane, Madison, WI 53719-1116 or by phone at 800-662-2630. Visit his website at loomisenzymes.com.)
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