Can the chiropractic help one with more than just backs? How is a chiropractor like a dentist? Dr. Shouka discusses inside.
If your back or neck hurts, people will suggest going to a chiropractor for treatment. Many times after a car accident, patients recieve chiropractic care, which helps them reduce their pain. But did you know your local chiropractor can help alleviate a number of issues. A growing number of people are also making chiropractic a part of their overall health care regimen. I spoke with Dr. M. Shouka, a Chiropractor in Tustin California about some ways a chiropractors are maximizing healthy lifestyles for their patients.
There is a misconception that chiropractic care is only for back or neck pain. What are your thoughts on this perception?
Well if all the people that had the neck and back pain would seek chiropractic as a possible treatment, that would be a wonderful thing for society. But be that as it may, chiropractic is not just for neck and back pain. The main premise in chiropractic is that we want to remove nerve irritation throughout the body, specifically in the spine because the nerves exit the spine and basically reach every other part of our body. We feel that removing of irritation in the spine will remove irritation further down that nerve pathway.
So if we follow those nerves, some of them will go down the arms and the hands and some of them will go down the legs and the feet, and you can have symptoms all along the nerve pathway. We have another set of nerves that we call the Autonomic Nervous System, and they go to the internal organs. And we have two parts of that nervous system. There’s the Sympathetic Nervous System, which is also known as the Fright-Flight Response. And then there’s the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which is also known as the Relaxation Response. And so that nervous system’s also affected by the spine, and irritation to those nerves could alter how much blood flow is going to different organs in the body. And it can affect the function of those organs. And so we have a lot of people who may have some symptoms that don’t seem to be spine related at first, and even though they take their medication for it they still kind of struggle with those symptoms. So when we work on those segments of the spine that anatomically correlate to those organs in the body, it helps to improve the function of those organs. That’s one way a lot of people aren’t familiar with; that the nervous system impacts all the organs in the body besides the muscles and the joints of the body.
How the Chiropractic relates to a Trip to the Dentist
You know, to me I kind of look at the whole concept of chiropractic and the chiropractic profession in the way that you would look at a dentist and the whole concept of dentistry. I think of what the world would be like if we did not have dentists.
We would have all kind of aches and pains in our mouth and we may get some pain medicine. We may develop infections and take antibiotics. Maybe the pain will hit a nerve and we’ll take some medicine for the nerves. But eventually the teeth will fall out and we’ll have to replace all of them.
But the world without dentistry seems unimaginable. And yet by some estimates 90% of the American population lives in the world without chiropractic.
To me, chiropractors take care of the spine much in the same way as dentists take care of the teeth.
When people go to the dentist, the dentist will ask them if they floss their teeth. And then they’ll say, “well do we need to floss?”
The dentist will say, you only need to floss the ones you wanna keep. And so to me, when you go to a chiropractor and he looks at every segment in your spine and the chiropractor can find the problem in your spine early on, before you can even feel it. And then again, which segments would you like to keep. We want keep all the segments of our spine.
Going to a chiropractor when you don’t have symptoms is like going to the dentist when you don’t have symptoms. You go in there and the dentist is the expert on checking your teeth and he starts using a metal instrument and poking on your teeth. And sometimes before you realize it, he’ll find decay in your teeth and he will most likely fill the cavity. Then you actually correct it before the cavity gets so bad that it hits the nerve roots.
The same is true if you go to a chiropractor. The chiropractor can evaluate your spine and find the segments that are not working properly and actually, the patient can begin addressing the decaying spine before it reaches the nerve roots. So it’s a smart thing to get your spine checked by a chiropractor.
How can someone who’s receiving other forms of treatment, such as message therapy, acupuncture, or traditional allopathic medicine, still be able to benefit from chiropractic care?
Well each area has a specific emphasis. So when you go to an acupuncture practitioner, the emphasis is on an understanding of the energetic system of the body. There are energy pathways called meridians, and those meridians impact and affect the organs.
So that is a separate system than how the nervous system affects the organs and the help of the body. So a person can see an acupuncturist and a chiropractor and still get the benefits from both professions. The same holds true for massage therapy. Chiropractors are well versed and knowledgeable about muscles and treating the muscles, but having a massage therapist on the staff is very helpful because a message therapist can spend the extra time it takes to work on the muscle and improve the circulation. So they can work together perfectly, hand in hand. When it comes to allopathic medicine, that works perfectly as well because sometimes patients are in so much pain that talking an anti-inflammatory and a muscle relaxer gets them through the day.
But what’s good about that is during the initial phase of the chiropractic treatment, and as the benefits of the chiropractic treatment start to take hold, the patient will be able to back off on some of those pain medicines and anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers.
Dr. Shouka has shown how the chiropractic can not only solve problems, but can be a part of an overall commitment to optimizing health. As a gentler, holistic approach to healing, chiropractic care is becoming more and more attractive to the public. And not just for fixing backs and necks.