Addicted to Chiropractic?
[originally published in KCN, August 2012]
My problem is that after all these years of going to a good chiropractor, I became very sensitive about when I have a subluxation. It was like this external force was helping me and had become an addiction. Then I suffered when I didn’t have it. What do you recommend about this?
– comment received on “Do It Yourself Chiropractic,” SpinalColumnBlog.com
I hear this concern every once in a while. And while I’m sympathetic to his situation, I feel that painting chiropractic as an “addiction” not only casts the profession in a bad light, but — more importantly — does not address the true nature of his problem.
Each of our bodies has an incredible inborn intelligence that enables us to adapt to the multitude of stressors that we inevitably encounter each day. Most of the time, our bodies readily engage in this “dance of life” without issue. It’s when these stresses become chronic and over-bearing that our bodies resort to adaptations that grab our attention (ie. they produce symptoms). Often these adaptations are a requirement for vital, bodily functioning to continue — even if it means the adaptation is not ideal for the long-term health of the body.
Imagine for a moment that a mountain lion was suddenly dropped in front of you. Your body would appropriately respond in a multitude of ways, one of which would be a sudden increase in blood pressure. And while we typically think of “high blood pressure” as a bad thing, it’s not in this situation. It’s an intelligent adaptation. Assuming the mountain lion doesn’t eat you, what if it never goes away? You join the 68 million Americans battling high blood pressure and might begin to perceive yourself as “addicted” to pills that control it.
So what’s the difference between someone who chooses to see their chiropractor for wellness care versus someone who feels “addicted” to their chiropractor? They both frequent the chiropractor on a regular basis, but their purpose for being there is completely different. The wellness patient has adopted chiropractic as part of a healthy lifestyle choice and uses it to maintain optimal nervous system performance in an effort to enjoy life to its fullest. The person who feels “addicted,” on the other hand, is someone who continues to exhibit the same painful, and sometime debilitating, subluxation pattern time after time, despite repeated chiropractic adjustments.
For this person to see true “correction,” they need to delve deeper with their chiropractor to get to the root of the problem — to find their “mountain lion.” Is there an issue with the way they sit or conduct certain activities that is prompting their bodies to adapt these chronic subluxation patterns? Are they facing great emotional or demanding loads of stress that cause their body to respond in this way? Or, on a chemical level, does their diet need adjusting?
Until these deeper, and often less obvious, “subluxations” are uncovered and addressed — or at least acknowledged — the “chiropractic addict” will never move towards a higher state of wellness. Instead, they will just keep using their chiropractor as an Advil with Arms and treating the subluxation as an ongoing, recurring symptom.
Dr. Thomas R. Lamar is a chiropractor at Anchor Chiropractic in the Health Services Center and hosts the Internet radio program SpinalColumnRadio.com. Lamar can be reached at (360) 297-8111.