I’m sure that when you are asked why you go to a chiropractor, the answer is a given: because you’ve got a bad back (or shoulder, or neck etc). It’s very satisfying helping someone who is in pain; there are even those special moments when someone crawls in and walks out 20 minutes later. But there’s that line between fixing people and helping them. If I ‘fix’ someone but they have not grasped what the problem was in the first place then I have failed to do my job. Let me explain.Disease, illness and most injuries are never a single event, they are a series of processes that have occurred over a period of time and there comes a time when the problem starts to communicate itself to the brain. The message is usually pain, stiffness, clicking in the joints and numbness; pain mostly. No one wants to be in pain, and so it’s only natural to seek a way out of that. This is where I step in. My first job is to find the problem, the stressor or the source of the pain if you will. By removing that stress you will almost inevitably feel better, which is the part that most grasp quite easily. The part that people don’t get is the why; why did my back start hurting in the first place?Your spine, your skeleton and all those muscles, ligaments and nerves are part of the organism that is you. Like your heart, your brain and all the other organs in your body it requires a blood supply. So when it fails, most people will associate it with sleeping on the couch last weekend or the chair at work. The reasons we feel pain is because we have ignored our body and the body then starts to fail. Do you want to know what the problem is? It’s a combination of posture, poor diet, lack of exercise, lack of movement, poor movement, lack of water and an inadequate blood supply and nervous control.My job as a chiropractor is to enable you body to move away from that place of pain by allowing it to function and move as it should do, which takes time. If a patient follows through with everything that’s involved in a course of treatment then they can get to a place where they are moving better, they are in less or no pain, they have more energy, more muscle strength and they are able to do the things that they want to do without fear of disability or limitation. This is usually the place where I say goodbye to the patient, which is unfortunate, because this is when I can be really effective and truly help people achieve their potential.I love the notion of Chinese medicine, not the specifics, but the philosophy. Back in the day, the Chinese would pay their local doctor when they were well, not when they were sick because if they were sick, then the doctor was obviously not doing their job very well. It’s like paying a plumber to make sure your boiler is broken so that they could keep repairing it.Health is a continuum, not a destination. More importantly it’s a choice, not some sort of luck thing. By coming regularly to a chiropractor you are staying on the right side of that health pendulum. Everyone knows that if you stop going to the gym, then your fitness levels will fall, so why would you stop going to a chiropractor? I can’t guarantee you a six pack but there are actually a few things I can promise. I will give you more healthy years, not more years, but more of those years that count. I can promise that you will have fewer injuries, lower rates of disability and less pain. I can guarantee less fatigue, a better night’s sleep, fewer infections and shorter recuperation periods from illness. I can promise that you will use half as much medication over the course of your lifetime and you will far less likely to have to resort to surgery of any kind and at any time.
A few years ago I was running along the sea front in Bournemouth and I passed an old man sat on one of the benches. He was in his nineties and was propped up on a cane. As I approached I noticedhe was about to speak, expecting the usual smart arse comments and heckles I get when I run past people I braced myself for the indignity. But all he said was: ‘I wish I could do that.’Don’t be the old guy on the bench wishing for the past. Make the changes now! Start that diet, pack your gym gear and book an appointment with your chiropractor if you have one – if not, If you wait to go when you are in pain then it’s too late, if you go now, you’ll notice a difference straight away.Your health is by choice, not by chance.