by Dr. David Rowe, DC, Dr. Nicholas Hall, DC
The following article is one in a series we are publishing about complementary medical approaches to living with pemphigus. These treatments are not meant to replace the therapies administered by your physician.
What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a drugless healing art built on a very simple principle: the body is a self-healing, self-regulating organism that is under the complete control of the central nerve system. When vertebrae of the spine misalign and lose their ability to move freely in all directions, they often put pressure on the delicate nerves that carry vital nerve impulses from the brain to the body. This condition is called a Vertebral Subluxation Complex (VSC), and is the cause of many of the unwanted conditions that people suffer from every day. In fact, the damaging effects of VSC are further reaching than most people are aware of, and although chiropractic has come to be a mainstay for the treatment of headaches and musculoskeletal conditions such as low back pain and neck pain, the importance of us all maintaining a healthy spine has become more apparent as research continues to reveal the devastating effects of VSC on our health.
Since its beginnings in 1895 when a deaf janitor’s hearing was restored following “the racking of a misplaced vertebra back into place” by Dr. D.D. Palmer, chiropractic has evolved and expanded throughout the world. In an age when many Americans have access to modern medical care, high-tech diagnostic equipment, and expensive pharmaceuticals, chiropractic (from the Greek “done by hand”) has become a natural, safe, and effective alternative to medicine throughout the world. It has in fact become a part of a healthy lifestyle for many American families because of its well-researched and documented health benefits. Millions of Americans get their spines adjusted every day.
What is Gonstead Chiropractic?
There are literally dozens of approaches to spinal care, or “techniques,” in use in the chiropractic profession today. The philosophies, analyses, methodologies of these different techniques are as varied as the hundreds of approaches to weight control. Some are more mechanical and scientifically founded, while others are more abstract or esoteric. It is not for anyone to say which is better or worse, but when pathology or chronic disease states are present, one should consider that reproducibility and predictability are essential to the success of a difficult case, and these are most often obtained through the use of the more researched and biomechanically based techniques.
The Gonstead technique was developed by Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead in the 1930’s, and in most of today’s chiropractic colleges has come to be considered the “gold-standard” in chiropractic care. Based on the scientific principles of simple mechanics and physics, thermography, and motion dynamics, Dr. Gonstead (himself a mechanical engineer) developed, modified and perfected this complex analysis and corrective adjusting style over the course of his 55 years in practice. Somewhere in between his 18-hour days and 6½-day workweeks, Dr. Gonstead found time to travel around the world, teaching this system to thousands of students so that they could achieve the same miraculous results he was achieving using this technique and analysis. Thanks to his tireless dedication to his profession and the millions of people he served, the Gonstead methodology has been meticulously preserved, and is now taught as a required course at almost all chiropractic colleges. It is also the technique described in the two most widely used and circulated chiropractic textbooks in the world, and is the technique used in the majority of published, peer-reviewed chiropractic research today. It is interesting to note, however, that the number of chiropractors who actually use the Gonstead technique in its purest form is extremely few, likely due to the fact that learning the skill of setting a joint in a manner that will actually reduce the subluxation takes thousands of hours of practice. For a chiropractor, learning the Gonstead technique is definitely not the path of least resistance, and can be an extremely frustrating undertaking. But all who practice this technique would agree that the ultimate outcome of helping someone who is truly sick return to health, without drugs or surgery, is extremely rewarding.
How can chiropractic care affect immune function?
The way chiropractic works is very simple: when there is pressure on one or several of the nerves exiting from between the spinal vertebrae (VSC), the transmission of nerve impulses that control and coordinate all functions of the body are interrupted, and the body is unable to function at its optimal level. If VSC is occurring at the level of a spinal nerve innervating any of the glands or organs responsible for immunity (i.e. spleen, thymus, lymphatic, adrenals etc.) the brain will not be able to deliver the vital signals necessary to carry out normal immune function. Identifying the presence of subluxation at any of these levels, and then taking measures to reduce nerve pressure can restore normal neurological function, and chiropractic is the only therapy that has been scientifically proven to improve neurological function when subluxation is present.
How can chiropractic affect levels of osteoporosis for patients on Prednisone therapy?
While there are several factors that influence bone density in humans, people on pharmaceutical therapies that cause osteoporosis must take preventative measures to make sure that the impact of these drugs is minimized, if not eliminated. One of the most important of these measures is maintaining optimal neurological function and making sure subluxation is not putting endangering pressure on any of the nerves innervating endocrine glands that influence bone density, such as the adrenals, thyroid and parathyroid. Subluxation on the nerves that supply any of these glands will increase the likelihood that bone density problems will arise for patients on Prednisone therapy.
Another benefit of chiropractic care with regards to minimizing development of osteopenia or osteoporosis is that part of the treatment often includes an education in lifestyle factors, such as exercise and diet, that greatly influence bone density. This is one of the biggest advantages of being under chiropractic care; patients are empowered to make changes optimizing their own body’s ability to heal, especially when there is an underlying immunological deficit. In a world where we have so many difficult decisions to make regarding our health, and so many unhealthy products being unethically marketed, it is helpful to have someone who genuinely has our best health interests in mind looking out for us. The chiropractor often serves that roll. For those who must be on some form of pharmaceutical therapy for a chronic condition, chiropractic is essential to minimize the damaging effect these drugs inevitably have. No matter what condition a person might have. When we learn what those laws are, and how to get back in line with them, it is inevitable that our bodies will be healthier, stronger, and have more vitality.
About the Authors
Dr. David J. Rowe, D.C. is a 1982 graduate of Life Chiropractic College, Atlanta, GA, is Director of Rowe Chiropractic Offices, 316 E. 59th Street, New York, NY. A contributing author to two chiropractic textbooks, a board member of the Gonstead Clinical Studies Society for 12 years, and an international lecturer on the Gonstead system, Dr. Rowe continues to balance full time practice and a busy teaching schedule.
Dr. Nicholas I. Hall, D.C. is also a graduate of Life University. Dr. Hall is a senior staff doctor at Rowe Chiropractic Offices where he has a busy practice. Also a former Division I collegiate athlete, Dr. Hall lectures extensively on chiropractic and nutrition, and continues to educate his patients on the benefits of chiropractic and living a truly healthy lifestyle.