Chiropractic Is About Expression of Life
Like so many others, I was never exposed to the true nature of chiropractic until two things happened.
First, I was outside helping a neighbor stack wood when all of the sudden I heard this loud pop and searing pain shot through my low back. Over the next two days, the pain became unbearable and when I had to stand through the church service on Sunday, I knew I needed help.
Second, even though I worked for a chiropractor at the time, I wasn’t under care in his office. He didn’t seem to take chiropractic all that seriously and I didn’t have a lot of confidence in his ability to help me. However, through him I had met Dr. Bruce who seemed to take being a doctor of chiropractic very seriously so he’s the guy I chose to call.
Dr. Bruce accepted me a new patient and my journey began the way all of our practice members’ journeys begin, with an examination, patient history, several tests in the office and X-rays. At my report of findings, Dr. Bruce had a lot of information to share with me about the state of my health. I remember that it was hard to incorporate all of that information through my pain filled haze but I did understand that he seemed to be pretty concerned about an issue in my upper neck (what I now know is the top vertebrae or C1) and he explained to me the relationship that issue had with the one that causing me pain at the bottom of my spine. Honestly, I just wanted my pain to go away at that point but I liked that he seemed very certain that he could help me. I began care and immediately the healing began, the pain eased within the first week and by the end of that week, it was gone but I stayed under care because I experienced such a sense of ease and wellbeing after each adjustment. I’m a little high strung so feeling my usual tension and anxiety dissipate following my adjustments was a wondrous and joyful thing. I didn’t understand it but I was sure that something good was happening in my body and I wanted to see where it led.
After a few weeks, I began to notice a change in my overall state of being. I felt good, my energy was higher, I felt happier and I attributed that to one main thing that had changed as I went through chiropractic care. For the first time in my life, I was sleeping through the night. I had always been a very restless sleeper, taking hours to fall asleep and then waking often throughout the night. I had been to the medical doctors, gotten a diagnosis of a form of OCD and a prescription for Paxil, a mild anti-depressant that made me feel like a zombie. After a week of that, I decided that I’d just live with my sleeplessness because the medication made me feel really checked out and I had a young son who deserved a mom that was engaged and participating in life. Heck, I deserved those things too! Medication was clearly not the answer for me.
So one day, on my weekly visit, I mentioned to Dr. Bruce that I believed that his care had made this amazing difference in my overall well-being and he was all too happy to help me understand how my innate sense about the benefit I was getting from care was supported by the science of the chiropractic adjustment (the man loves to teach and empower everyone around him). Something about that really resonated with me and since that time, I have become the ultimate chiropractic advocate. I’ve learned so much over the years and I’ve seen so many incredible changes for people whose paths resembled my own. I love and honor chiropractic because it's truly about the expression of life within us.
This is my chiropractic testimonial but there really is so much more to the story and I feel an obligation to share a little more of my journey because as amazing as chiropractic is in restoring the body’s ability to engage in its own healing wisdom, I have learned that our behaviors can work against that wisdom sometimes.
As time went on, I came to work for Dr. Bruce as a chiropractic assistant and office manager. I have become involved in the chiropractic profession in ways that often have me spending hours and hours, day and night at a computer and slowly I came to realize that my chiropractic miracle seemed to have drifted away and I was once again fighting for sleep and feeling the daily drag of failing to get a good night’s rest.
I talked to Dr. Bruce and we scheduled a reevaluation to take a look at the health of my nervous system, new tests and new X-rays revealed that things were pretty good but with plenty of room for improvement. I had some stress at the top and bottom of my neck, likely due to my occupation and the poor posture I assumed while at the computer. I was spending the majority of my day doing something that caused me to move farther away from health and that was just at work. I’m sure I was engaging some not so great activities both physically and mentally at home too. I love to read while curled up in a chair for example, contorting my spine into all sorts of horrible positions for long periods of time. Not good!
So I resolved to get an extra adjustment each week to try to help my body combat the stress to which I routinely subjected it. I began taking some supplements like fish oil, probiotics and a great whole food multi-vitamin in order to provide my body with some nutrients, building blocks needed for health and healing.
I also learned something else about all that time I spend staring into computer screens. The blue light that comes from so many of our artificial light sources, especially computer, tablet and phone screens can really disrupt the circadian rhythm and cause one’s sleep cycle to become deregulated. Some blue light exposure, the kind we get from being out of doors, is very beneficial in that it boosts alertness, helps memory, increases cognitive function and elevates mood but the kind that we get artificially after the sun goes down can lead to all sorts of eye and sleep issues. So I resolved to cut out blue light after sundown by picking up several pairs of ‘blue blocking’ glasses (I have found some great looking, high quality ones on Amazon for very reasonable prices).
I’m happy to say that taking responsibility for my health in this way has led me to a place where I finally sleep deeper and more soundly than ever before. I wake up feeling well rested and able to tackle the day, all because I’ve learned that little shifts in behavior can make a huge difference. My first priority is to make sure that the system that runs my body, the nervous system, is operating efficiently – this is the job I have assigned to Dr. Bruce, my amazing chiropractor. Taking care and responsibility of all the rest is up to me. I still spend too much time on the computer, including my reading time which mostly takes place on my phone or tablet. I still have some nutritional behaviors with room for improvement too, but I own the responsibility and the consequences of those behaviors. There’s a great saying that sums up my health paradigm these days; it goes something like ’You can’t medicate your way out of a problem you behaved your way into’. Sounds like truth to me; the trouble is that we don’t always associate our behaviors with the problems they cause. I mean, how was I supposed to know that too much computer time could result in sleep or other health issues? I offer one two thoughts on that.
First, ask yourself what am I doing a lot of or too much of, if you have a ready answer for that question then you have a behavior out of moderation and therefore, the possibility of potential consequences associated with that behavior. Thoughts like, I eat too much, I drink too much, I sit too much or I am on my cell phone too much should clue you in and it doesn't have to be a physical habit either. I'm very negative or I often feel depressed can be signs of psycological and physiological behaviors that need to be examined. If you can’t see the potential problem of an excessive behavior or trait, simply try googling it and see what you find. Phrase it in the form of a question such as "Is too much sitting harmful to my health?" and you'll find a wealth of information to sift through. Symptoms that match yours might be an indicator that your behavior is contributing to your health problem.
Second get yourself to a holistic practitioner. That means find someone who honors the fact that your body is more than a set of parts. Chiropractors generally adhere to this philosophy and I believe that they offer the ideal starting place because if your nervous system isn’t functioning well, every other body part and system is subject to that breakdown in coordination but there are many other kinds of holistic practitioners out there as well. Find one and if you don’t gel with them, keep looking until you find one you trust to walk alongside you and offer advice as you journey towards health. Do it now, don't wait until you have a serious health crisis to take action.
It’s your journey and your responsibility. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that someone else is responsible for your good health. How on earth can someone who only sees you once or twice a year or when you’re sick possibly coach you through your daily battle to thrive and adapt to your life as it happens? Build a true ‘health care’ team of people who guide and inspire you to be the best possible version of you. I have a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, a nutritionist, a massage therapist, a thought coach and several others on my team. I don’t see them all weekly but I see at least one of them most weeks. I’m building momentum towards health. It’s a journey, my journey and I’m thrilled and blessed to be investing and striving toward health versus struggling to get out of sickness as I see so many, too many, others doing.