Categorized | Sex & Health

A Chiropractic Controversy

Have a back ache from that cheap desk chair? A visit with me sure would help, says the chiropractor. Well, maybe not– perhaps a chiropractor isn’t always the best choice for something like back pain, says the doctor.
For years, chiropractors and doctors have been competing to be the doctor that meets all of your needs. And although many of us haven’t been caught in the crossfire of the on-going debate over which can cure your pain better and faster, there have been numerous revelations and discoveries keeping the scales fairly even between the two practices.
[care] Many people are inclined to call doctors right away because they aren’t really sure what chiropractors even do. Psychology freshman Amanda Pasternak thought a chiropractor treats mainly back and neck pains. “I’m aware that they do a lot more, I’m just not sure what,” she said.
Pre-med sophomore Abby Delgoffe would call her doctor right away if she was experiencing pain. “I would go to a doctor to get a referral prescription to go to a physical therapist,” Delgoffe said. “I know that chiropractors can relieve back pain, but chiropractic care is temporary. A physical therapist can make you feel better permanently.”
Those who immediately call the doctor may be missing out. Dr. Harry Settimi, a chiropractor at Infinity Chiropractic in Lansing, said there is more to chiropractics than most might think. “Chiropractic care is the discipline within the healing arts which deals with the human nervous system and its relationship to the spinal column and its interrelationship with other body systems.” He also said that there are several elements that make up the practice of chiropractics, including a diagnosis of the chiropractic adjustment and the use of analytical instruments, nutritional advice, rehabilitative exercises and adjustment apparatus. Sounds like more than just a back crack.
The first hot topic of the medical debate is that of the body’s ability to rehabilitate itself with or without the care of doctors and/or chiropractors. Settimi stressed that chiropractics is a distinct science, art and philosophy based on the principle that each of us possess an inborn, innate intelligence. “This intelligence utilizes the nervous system to coordinate and organize all of our bodily functions all the way to the cellular level.” He explained that the major goal of chiropractics is to reduce or correct any vertebral subluxations, which are misalignments of the spinal bones causing interference to the nervous system.
[spine] Dr. Michael Karkkainen, a general surgeon of the Bay Area Medical Clinic in Marinette, Wis., points out a flaw in this ideology. When a patient does not have any muscle and/or skeletal problems or misalignments of the vertebra (subluxations), but still has something like hypertension or high blood pressure, they cannot be cured by alignments. Rather, it is corrected through medicinal philosophy, which according to Karkkainen, is beneficial because it doesn’t harm the patient’s body and secondly, because it aids the body in its natural ability to heal itself.
On the contrary, Settimi believes the vitality of this philosophy of viewing living organisms as possessing a profound, inborn drive toward health, affords respect to the processes of development and adaptation going on in the body. In other words, each symptom that the body produces should be treated as a sign that something in the body, other than a virus or a bacterial infection, is to blame- in this case, the misalignment of the spinal cord or vertebral column.
Settimi argues against the common misconception that symptoms are a negative thing. Instead, he said, symptoms are just signs telling us that our body is actually just adapting and responding to lifestyle and environmental stresses we encounter.
Karkkainen strongly disagrees. After becoming aware of the chiropractic ideals about symptoms and the body’s potential to change without intervention, he said that a person gets symptoms for a reason. “Your body is an amazing thing,” Karkkainen said. “You can’t separate your body from your mind.” He does, however, agree that your body does have the potential and the means necessary for aiding itself back to functioning order and to the full potential for peak performance. But he does not agree that this is obtainable without the maintenance offered through medicine. He said that symptoms should be treated and recognized as a defense mechanism triggered by your body’s immune system to begin fighting where it is needed.
[body] Interestingly enough, Karkkainen believes that there is room for both chiropractic care as well as medicinal treatment. He said that chiropractic care plays a pivotal role in the healing process when a patient has an issue with a muscle and/or skeletal problem. That, however, is where he believes the first of two problems with chiropractic care begin. “You need to have proper diagnosis,” he said. “A brain tumor isn’t going to be cured by being adjusted.”
Karkkainen said the second misconception with chiropractics is the idea that you need to routinely go to the office to be adjusted or checked up on. “There has been no indication for repeated visits after your prescribed course is finished,” Karkkainen said. “After you are taken care of, your body will try to keep itself in proper alignment.” Karkkainen believes that sometimes combining the two practices gives you the best of both worlds.
Settimi said that chiropractics does not treat symptoms, brain tumors, or any conditions. “We are most interested in removing interferences from your nervous system so that you may function at your peak potential and have opportunity to be your best,” Settimi said. “Taking care of your spine and nervous system routinely are healthy choices.”
With so many reasonings for visiting both the doc and your chiropractor for back ache, you might get frustrated enough to throw out that chair. Sorting through both sides of this debate is a pain in the neck on its own, a result that undoubtedly helps both professions. Hmm, perhaps the two are in cohorts with one another after all…

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