Seeking the Source of Good Health
( Originally Published 1957 )
Evidence of increasing interest in and acceptance of chiropractic is the recent invitation by the University of Toronto Medical journal to Dr. A. G. Homewood, Dean of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Toronto, to write an article for the Medical journal which would clarify the position of chiropractic in the healing arts.
Dr. Homewood submitted a detailed article, published in the February, 1961 issue of the University of Toronto Medical journal, which describes the progress of the profession and presents an explanation of the role of chiropractic in health and disease. He states in part:
"The doctor of chiropractic must have an efficient working knowledge of the distribution of the nerve fibres for both diagnostic and treatment purposes, since his entire concept hinges upon the importance of the nervous system in the control of function in both health and disease. The patient is examined with a view to determining not only the named symptom complex but also the structural disrelation causing the disturbance to the nervous system with the subsequent alterations in function and tissue changes of pathology. Here lies the basic difference between the practice of allopathic medicine and chiropractic. The allopathic practitioner will concern himself with prescribing a drug to counteract the associated microorganisms, stimulate the function retarded, or inhibit the function exhibiting excess. The chiropractor would attempt to adjust the structure to remove interference with normal nerve transmission, in the expectation that the body alone has the innate knowledge of how to heal and restore normal function. He is not concerned, therefore, with attempting to stimulate or inhibit, but rather, he seeks to normalize. To do a thorough service for his patient, the chiropractor should attempt to determine the background cause of the structural distortion and have such cause, or causes, eradicated. The chiropractor appreciates that not every case will respond to his particular approach and that there are those cases that must be referred to the surgeon, the dentist, oculist, etc. Furthermore, there may be a need to utilize antibiotics in some cases of infection, insulin for the diabetic, morphine for severe pain; in such cases, the allopathic physician is called and the patient referred. The chiropractor is very conscious of the fact that he does not have the panacea for all ills.
'While the chiropractor has earned particular recognition in the field of somatic disorders, such as the lumbar-spinal problems, neuritis, sciatica, etc., ever in-creasing numbers of the population are appreciating the fact that the chiropractor has a general health service to render that is efficacious in the greater percentage of conditions. Therefore, many families depend upon him for care of all conditions, leaving the decision as to when to consult other members of the healing arts to his judgment. Expectant mothers and obstetricians are often surprised at the ease with which delivery is effected when the mother has received chiropractic care during the pregnancy—making the necessary corrections incidental to the stress of unusual weight distribution, assuring proper elimination, and nutritional intake. Children respond readily to the techniques of the chiropractor and are guarded against the ill effects of structural distortion occasioned by falls, as well as being guided in the development of correct posture. Chiropractic is concerned with the patient who has the disease, rather than the disease that has the patient. In other words, if assistance is given to a sick body and it has the power within itself to effect healing, chiropractic can be effective. In the event that the pathology is irreversible, or the patient does not have the vitality to respond, then surgery or other methods may be necessitated. Some of the claims being made for the effectiveness of chiropractic by German and other European medical doctors would make the average chiropractor blush. Many of these investigators have been quoted in a recently published book, Medicine and Chiropractic by C. W. Weiant and S. Goldschmidt."
Here is an example which shows the chiropractic approach to a health problem.
Let us suppose you are crossing the street and suddenly have to. jump out of the way of an oncoming truck that has just come around the corner. In the process of saving your life, you may twist your entire body. You feel a slight twinge of pain, but nothing more, and you think nothing more about it.
However, that twist of your body may have caused a sufficient distortion of your spine to affect very seriously one or more nerve channels emanating from the spinal column. The resultant interference with the normal flow of nervous energy will ultimately cause symptoms of one sort or another—depending on which nerves were affected and which organs they supply.
Generally, the first symptoms will be felt immediately-neuritis, stiff neck, backache, laryngitis, stomach pains; any one of a number of conditions could be triggered off. Numerous disease patterns are always within our bodies only awaiting the encouragement of a disturbed body structure and an impeded nervous system to develop into activity. Some of them become apparent immediately, others may take weeks or months to develop, possibly, into serious conditions.
When the first symptom appears, the chiropractor seeks the cause behind it. He wants above all to restore natural harmony between the structures of the body, and to bring the nervous system back to its proper functioning.
In doing this job, by means of spinal adjustment and other corrective measures, the chiropractor will of course be correcting the symptoms which have already appeared. But he is doing more than that. He cannot avoid doing more, because of the very nature of his approach.
In the process of restoring the body to a well-functioning state, the chiropractor is preventing the out-break of symptoms for which the foundations may already have been laid, but which have not yet developed. In putting the body back in shape to fight off the symptoms of the backache, or the neuritis, or the stiff neck, or the head cold, the chiropractor automatically, and at the same time, puts the body in shape to prevent other ailments which are still in process of maturing.
Preventing a recurrence of the symptom is, for the chiropractor, the first step. At the same time, he is treating the entire body. The net result will be that the person will have a better-functioning nervous system and an improvement in structural balance.
These, combined with sound hygienic habits and good nutrition will lead to greater efficiency and greater health.
In this sense, the chiropractor is a "doctor of health" rather than a "disease treater." He serves a most important function in this modern world where the hazards of daily living put strains on us that make the preservation of health more important than ever before.
A good part of "organized medicine" has waged a strong and persistent attack on chiropractic—a political and economic war in which numerous M.D.'s do not really wish to participate. In view of the `official" thumbs-down on chiropractic by the medical organization, it seems important to examine some of the results that have been claimed for chiropractic in terms of personal case histories.
First, however, let us quote at some length from a recent study written by a medical doctor, Charles Greenberg, M.D., and entitled Report on Spinal Adjustment and Its Relationship to Health and Disease. Since this report is by a medical man who prepared it for the medical profession, it cannot be considered as biased in favor of chiropractic. Secondly, it contains a comprehensive summary of the ailments chiropractic has helped. Thus, it may be considered a rough outline of the case for chiropractic in terms of results achieved. Dr. Greenberg writes:
"Time and again this theory (the chiropractic theory of spinal adjustment) has been confirmed, not only by chiropractic but by eminent leaders of medical science.
"The following conditions are the ones which respond successfully and quickly to spinal adjustments
"Sacro-iliac strain, neuralgias of arms, legs, back, and face.
"Neuritis and sciatica.
"Migraine, and all other types of severe head-aches; dizziness, nervous tension.
"Lumbago, and all other back pains.
"The above respond with dramatic results with as few as three to four treatments.
"These are the conditions which give the greatest amount of successful results (not just temporary relief) with spinal adjustments.
"Many other conditions, too numerous to mention, are also greatly helped when other types of medical treatments fail.
" many members of the medical profession have spoken up vigorously at one time or another in support of the principles of chiropractic. Some-times it is because they have observed the remarkable results achieved by chiropractic after medical methods have failed. At other times, it results from scientific investigations which reveal that chiropractic has indeed something to offer those seeking health."
Dr. Greenberg then quotes a number of medical authorities, including B. Gomroe of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, who observed in his re-cent book, Arthritis and Allied Conditions: "In a group of patients with low-back pains . . . these respond well to manipulative (chiropractic) measures. It is this type of patient who may be `miraculously cured' by certain mechanical maneuvers of chiropractors which are frowned upon and looked askance on by the medical profession. If physicians realized that manipulative procedures properly performed. may produce a good result in some conditions, the great mass of these patients would not resort to cults other than orthodox medicine."
Chiropractors, of course, object strenuously to being classified as members of a "cult" or as "cultists." They say that their studies of the nervous system, of the spine, and of spinal adjustment are just as scientific and thorough as anything undertaken by medical men.
The ailments discussed in what follows here are grouped according to regions of the body. General categories of sickness are grouped into miscellaneous ills, children's ailments, and mental ailments. The breakdown is as simple as possible, covering the upper portion of the body down to the diaphragm, and the remainder of the body below the diaphragm. The remainder of Part Two, consequently, is divided into five chapters, detailing the benefits of chiropractic:
(a) in head and upper-body ills;