It’s been a LONG time since I’ve posted! Apologies for that. So I’ve been thinking about what sets Chiropractic apart from other professions, and why we’re crucial when we DO share so much of our scope and skills with many other professionals (physics, massage therapists, osteos, athletic therapists, etc.) and it ultimately comes down to our philosophy.
But I’ve spoken about that numerous times before. So while I may hint at it throughout the rest of my life (and this post), I’ll attempt to tackle a different topic today.
Today I’d like to speak about how the truth isn’t sexy. The true, and ultimate answers with regards to health (and fitness, really) isn’t particularly sexy. I’ve mentioned that there are no shortcuts before, but that truth continues to shine through time after time throughout the years.
Chiro’s are different because we’re the only profession that is based on the idea that there’s nothing wrong with you. Intrinsically, you likely have the genetic blueprint to live a long, healthy, happy life. Some folks (a small percentage… though it seems to be growing) have gene-based alterations in their set point, but, luckily for us, the overarching treatment plan is largely the same. Assuming you’re physiology is good, and providing the necessary ingredients to provide health to your body isn’t nearly as sexy as rushing you into an Operating Room to cut you open and pull out your ruptured appendix, preventing the immediate risk to your life.
Medical doctors do AMAZING things. They literally SAVE peoples lives and prevent deaths that would be imminent without them. We should be grateful for it (and in those situations, people typically are). The problem, is that nowadays lifestyle illnesses are responsible for most deaths. So while Emergency interventions with Medicine can save your life (in the right situation, unfortunately not everyone lives) in the event of a heart attack or stroke, the cause of those issues didn’t happen suddenly.
I’m totally borrowing this analogy from James Chestnut, but you can think of the Medical Community as the “fire department”. In this analogy your body is your house. When your house is on FIRE, you call the fire department. Given good timing and adequate staffing, the fire department saves your house from burning to the ground, but there is likely damage that will need to be repaired to make it “new” again. When that time comes, does it make sense to call the fire department to come fix your house up? Would the fire department become frustrated with your calls to them to help fix your house? Absolutely.
This is where we are right now. The medical community is overwhelmed and frustrated with the number of people who are “pre-diabetic”, “at risk” for heart attack and stroke or cancer, but don’t actually HAVE those problems. Makes sense, right? You have the tool that helps when that situation arises, but it isn’t quite there yet, and you can tell that by the way the person is headed, that they’ll likely get there over time. If only there was a way to help turn those people around.
Well there is. The PROBLEM, is that it isn’t very sexy – so it doesn’t appear like it could be the answer.
You want to get fit. You want to pack on some muscle, but you enjoy being able to go for a run, play volleyball on the beach and you don’t want to put on any fat while you get stronger. Welcome to the goal of everyone. Some people get past this issue and reorient their goals. That’s what leads to elite performances in sport. Strongmen, Throwers and Powerlifters don’t CARE how fast they can run 800m, unless it makes them better at their sport/tasks at hand, which it doesn’t. Sprinters don’t care if their shoulders lack range of motion and that gymnastics would help make their shoulders stronger and healthier… because it doesn’t help them sprint faster. One goal – be the best in the world at ONE thing. For most of us, this isn’t the goal. And to be honest, it isn’t particularly healthy – but when the stakes are olympic gold, or high salary contracts, I can understand when it’d be worth it.
To prepare for true fitness, you’ll get a million different opinions. it is likely impossible to be the best at absolutely everything. Who knows, maybe that will be proven wrong one day, but until then it seems like it’d be true. So to improve your level of fitness, you need to lift heavy things, move your body in progressively more complex ways, sprint every so often and otherwise move about with a good amount of frequency. You need to eat well, too, but we’ll cover that next. There’s no “This ONE move you AREN’T doing and your trainer WON’T tell you about!” It doesn’t exist. There’s hard work at intelligent tasks and that’s it. Work the short time domain and the long one. Work the heavy stuff, the fast stuff AND the slow stuff. Use gymnastics, kettlebells, medicine balls, barbells, rings, and as many other implements as you can. Give EVERYTHING you have sometimes. Other times focus on quality and perfection in movement (though that should be the goal for ALL movement). Work on moving hard and fast when you’re moving, and resting when you need to. THAT, creates fitness. No BS, no secrets.
You want to know what to eat. We were told fat was bad, and then that maybe it isn’t. But what about vegetable oils, omega 3 oils, saturated fat and so on? We are CONSTANTLY barraged with recommendations for supplements to take. Whether it’s a commercial, a multi-level marketing friend/acquaintance, or Dr. Oz, we never know what to take seriously and what not to. There is SO much information and contradictory claims out there with regard to nutrition that it has been the topic of hundreds of books. And it will continue to be.
BUT, this is where that Chirpractic view of HEALTH comes in. This is where we develop our BS filter.
Most Chiropractors are of the opinion that we don’t need more people trying to put out fires on their own with a garden hose and store-bought fire extinguisher (still speaking in metaphor here… those are actually good things to have around in the event of a real fire). We don’t want to be responsible for putting out uncomplicated low back pain fires. We want to increase your health.
Improve movement, mobility and stability in the spine and extremities, and you get healthier people. Fine tune peoples nutrition to help them provide their body with what it NEEDS, and you get healthier people. Teach people about the value of friendship, family values, being grateful, and positive thinking and you get healthier people. THAT is what chiropractors like myself specialize in. Your back/neck/shoulder/hip/knee/whatever pain will “magically” go away when you cover all these bases most of the time.
Devote yourself to getting HEALTHY, not just avoiding disease. Be the healthiest, happiest person you know.
Stay Healthy friends,
Dr. Adam Ball