Ask An Expert

Q. How and when did Chiropractic start?

A: The World Health Organization defines health as a state of optimum physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Chiropractic began with an incredible need for health care in an area that was not being addressed by any of the other health care providers of the day. On September 18, 1895, D.D. Palmer a Canadian living in DavenportIowa, gave the first adjustment to a deaf janitor named Harvey Lillard. Seventeen years earlier after feeling and hearing a snap in his neck, Harvey was so deaf he couldn't hear the wagon wheels on the cobblestone roads. After the adjustment, Harvey could hear once again and a brand new profession was born. When vertebral subluxations are adjusted by a Doctor of Chiropractic, your sleeping body is awakened to new potentialities. A significant improvement in your quality of life and level of wellness is the Chiropractors gift to humanity. See a Doctor of Chiropractic for your gift of health to yourself!

Q: Can the Subluxation (distressed nerve system) be present without pain?

A: Of course. Only a small fraction of nerve fibers deal with pain transmission. This is the reason a thorough physical exam including reflexes and ranges of motion are necessary along with x-rays and a neurological scan (thermography and surface electromyography). Being thorough up front with a patient can save a lot of time down the road in getting great results. X-rays are taken initially on most adult patients from the age of 16 and up. Why Chiropractic x-rays? To see is to know – not to see is to guess and we don't want to guess about your health. X-rays show us a lot about where to adjust but also where not to adjust. (ie fracture sites; genetic malformations and structural deformities to name a few.)

Q: What does wellness and preventative maintenance really mean?

A: According to Dorland's medical dictionary, " Health is a state of optimum physical, mental and social well being, and not merely a lack of disease or infirmity." Interestingly they define what health is and then what health isn't (what it isn't because most of us think that lack of symptoms means we are healthy). Webster's states that " Health is a state of 100% function 100% of the time."

So, health means taking care of our ability to function. Preventative maintenance means keeping our function 100% before it fails. Sitting at the top of the proactive list is wellness. This is an attitude of staying way ahead of any potential breakdown, so people who are proactive about their health usually have a much higher Quality of Life index and they're more apt to really live longer.

Gray's Anatomy states "the brain and nervous system (N.S.) controls and coordinates all functions of the body and relates the organism to it's environment." Extrapolating all this info, it's obvious that to live a long and healthy life 100% function is necessary. Your N.S. ultimately controls function.

Proactive wellness means getting your N.S. checked periodically just to stay optimally healthy.

Q. Is there any nutritional advice that would help me instead of nutritional supplements?

A. Supplementation is a necessity only if you are not able to gain sufficient nutrients (vitamins, minerals etc.) from your food. This is possible but it takes more self discipline than most people can muster. Supplementing is necessary in most cases. Hippocrates said, let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food." Some practical tips are: celery which is the highest alkaline food in nature and is excellent for indigestion and heartburn, broccoli kills stomach ulcer causing bacteria heliobacter pylori, cinnamon is antibacterial especially to fecal bacteria (i.e. E-coli), vitamin C is the cement that holds the bodies connective tissue together. (i.e. ligaments, bone, skin, blood vessels, virtually all tissue of the body), vitamin A,C,E combination is an excellent boost into the immune system to help ward off many types of attack in the body (i.e. colds, flu's, allergies, etc).

Q. My headaches in the last 3 years seem much worse since getting all of these prescription and non-prescription drugs, what's happening?

A: Dr. Sheftell, an American expert on headaches, says some people (up to 9 out of 10) may be suffering " rebound headaches." Pain relievers are used to turn off the pain receptors in the brain. If the medicine is taken more than two to three days a week on a regular basis, the pain receptor can become more sensitive than usual. Sheftell says as the medicine wears off, these receptors turn on to produce a new headache. That leads the person to take more medicine, which of course leads to more headaches. Soon, people are taking more drugs every day.

Drugs are not the long- term answer. If you give a drug to a healthy person, you very likely will make them sick. Why do we "think" giving a drug to a sick person will make them well? For all your headache needs, seek out a Chiropractor to get genuine, natural, gentle results.

Q. Can a Chiropractor help bad knees?

A. Definitely.

Misalignment of the spine and pelvis may cause problems (aching, soreness etc.) in the lower extremity. Specific nerves in the low back go directly to the knee. If these nerves have interference (subluxation), then problems may occur. Also, misalignment of the knee or bones in the foot can cause stress and/or discomfort. Your Doctor of Chiropractic can assess and adjust the spine and lower extremity joints to help to resolve the problem.

Q: Are there any studies comparing medicine and chiropractic with respect to diagnosis and treatment?

A: Great question. In 2001 a study was published in J.M.P.T. (Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics) called "A practice based study of chronic low back pain patients attending primary care physicians and chiropractic doctors. The study compared patient satisfaction with Medical Doctors (MD's) and Doctors of Chiropractic (DC's). The study covered three areas. The first area was Dr. confidence in diagnosis. Results showed 66% patient satisfaction with MD's and 92% with DC. The second area was Dr. confident that treatment will work. In this area patients felt MD's to be 61% confident while they felt DC's were confident in 89% of cases. The third area was Dr. comfort in treating low back pain. In this area patients rated MD's at 68% and DC's at 92%.

Q: What disease processes should we be concerned with?

A: Good question. The top three killers in order are 1)heart disease, 2) cancer and 3) strokes/artery disease. The top health concerns of people according to a poll in USA Today are in order 1)drug and alcohol abuses 27%, 2)cancer 19%, 3)diet, nutrition & exercise 18%, 4)sexually transmitted diseases 11%, 5)heart disease 11% and 6)mental health & depression 10%.

So we find that our top health concerns are not exactly what they should be in reality. The good news is we have concerns and they are valid. The #1 concern, drug & alcohol abuse is getting worse not better. The growth of the entire drug industry is unbelievable.Did the Creator design us to need an acidic painkiller a day to prevent plaquing of blood vessels? A drug given to a healthy person over time will make them sick. What logic is there that one given over a long time will make them well! The above discussed concerns all have one common denominator – lifestyle.We can't choose our Grandparents so our genetics are pretty much set. (Improvements in genetics are now theorized possible)

So lifestyle (our choices) is the greatest thing within our control. Make better choices!

Q: How is our health care system doing overall?

A: Well, first of all the system is based upon disease not health. Secondly, the three big killers (namely heart disease, cancer and stroke) are all worse than ever not better. Someone once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Alberta Health and Wellness (more appropriately named Alberta sickness and disease) is continuing in the same vein without any real changes. The answer to this problem is personal responsibility in bettering your lifestyle. The five key elements are 1) Nutrition, 2) Rest, 3) Exercise, 4) Positive mental attitude, 5) Structure/function or the relationship between bones and nerves. If the bodies structures (bones) are not lined up it is very difficult for the nerves to do their job. Research out of the University of Colorado in 1979 shows that two ounces of pressure on a nerve can cause a 60% loss of function in the nerve and whatever the nerve supplies.

Q. How important are vacations to one's health?

A: According to scientists at the American Psychosomatic Society meeting, "the more times men skipped their annual vacation over five years, the more likely they were to die in the next nine years."

"We don't know if it's just the absence of stress on vacations or some positive restorative quality when you get away," says Psychologist Brooks Gump of the State University of New York at Oswego. This study involved 12,338 men between 35 and 57 years old at the start of the study.

Our opinion of rest is that it is extremely important. It's in the same category as exercise, nutrition, positive attitude and a healthy nervous system. Don't miss your time away from your jobs – it is a necessity for long life and improved quality of life.

Q.What can I expect in the long run if my nervous system is in great shape?

A. I think the real question is, "can I live longer and healthier under Chiropractic care?" The answer is that first of all there are many variables as to length of life and quality of life but the system that keeps all other systems functioning in a controlled and coordinated fashion is the nervous system. Interestingly, the main killers of North Americans (heart disease, cancer, strokes etc) all have a very strong lifestyle threat. That is, a moderate lifestyle of good habits contributes to your health and wellness maximally. In other words too much or too little of a habit can be equally bad for you. (example –there are many people that get into exercise too much and kill themselves)

Balance in rest, exercise, positive mental attitude, nutrition, structure/function (ie. Bones/Nerves). Proper alignment of bones allows for normal function of nerves. Apply principles of health and the end result is health. Apply principles of disease and the end result is sickness and death.

Q. I am a 68 year old female with a past history of back surgery and osteoporosis. Can Chiropractic help me?

A. To answer the question – absolutely! This is a situation unfortunately far too many people find themselves in as they age. This question really leads me to the issue of Chiropractic technique. This is the ability of the profession to teach effective softer methods of adjustment versus the firmer types and to establish their efficacy which we have. Getting examined and x-rayed would be to know with certainty where to adjust and where not to adjust. We see many patients with a combination of osteoporosis only, osteoporosis and back surgery or just back surgery.

Q: Does weight affect my spine?

A: This is a common question. Although the human body is "fearfully and wonderfully made" and can adapt to almost anything, excess weight has an obvious effect on the neuromusculoskeletal system. The Associated Press, Oct.7, 1999 reports a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that links too much weight with death. Dr. Joann Manson says, " It settles once and for all any lingering questions about whether weight alone increases the risk of death and disease".

Eugenia Calle, lead author of the study, says the message is clear, "We're to fat and it's killing us. We need to eat less and exercise more." Yes excess weight has a tremendous effect on the health of your spine and your entire body. The key is to find out what your body type is, what your ideal weight and percent body fat (or lean mass) is and work into that balanced pattern.

Q. Can Chiropractic Care (adjustments) help in serious neck cases (ie: whiplash etc.)?

A. Of course. The very latest in research from the University of Calgary (Human Performance and Biomechanics department) shows Chiropractic adjustments of the spine including the neck to be extremely safe with very little chance of adverse effects.

Whiplash and sprains/strains of the neck are usually the result of physical assaults on the body. Logic dictates that if we have a physical biomechanical stress to the body then a physical biomechanical adjustment would be the solution. Drugs in the vast majority of cases are not the answer. When the wheel of your car is misaligned you don't fix it by changing the oil (chemical solution). You actually fix the mechanical problem and the wheel straightens out. To misalign a part of the human body and then take drugs (pain killers, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories) expecting the body to align is just not common sense. There are many studies showing better results with neurobiomechanical approach to whiplash/neck sprains/strains than a conventional drug (chemical) solution.

Q. What can I do to support my body when it's sick/diseased or just not well?

A: Good question. First of all – applying health principles gives the end result of health. Actually applying good nutrition, adequate rest and exercise, positive mental attitude, proper posture and adjustments would optimize your level of well-being. If you ignore health principles and slouch, eat and drink junk food, not get regular periods of adequate rest and exercise and think negative thoughts, the end result is sickness and disease. Anyone looking to blame genetics for their heath/disease issues has only a small portion (less than 1% of genetic cause) to fall back on. Finally, you can't pick your grandparents so you have to change what's in your power to change. We are right back to choices and lifestyle. To get Healthy- Stay Healthy- simply make right (healthy) choices. Health and life are the end result of these.

Q: I've heard about people going to Doctors of Chiropractic for colds, flus and other diseases. Why?

A: Chiropractic does not treat the disease that has the person but adjusts the person who has the disease. Your nervous system controls your immune system. Research has proven that all glands of the body have a nerve supply therefore to get healthy with some stubborn disease processes you'll need to focus your attention on the immune system. Medications are ineffective against flus and colds because they are all viral and drugs don't kill viruses unless the drug is extremely powerful. So for a drug free healthier future seek out Chiropractic care.

Q. Does Chiropractic help most headaches?

A. Restoring ones nerve system to a state of balance is paramount in controlling, healing and reducing each of the intensity, duration and frequency of headaches. Many people seek Chiropractic care as a last resort or as they get sick of taking drugs for the headaches. The side effects of these drugs can be crippling in lots of ways- some even cause headaches which is what they are trying to prevent. So getting a conservative painless, drugless adjustment of a problematic nerve system restoring it to normal gets tremendously beneficial results. Seek Chiropractic care to get to the cause of the problem.

Q: Is there any research showing exercise benefits verses conventional drug (medicine) therapy for heart disease?

A: Yes there is. One such study presented at the AmericanCollege of Cardiology 48th Annual Scientific Session in 1999 showed that exercise after acute heart attacks was more beneficial than just drugs. Researchers said, "The active exercise group did much better than the medical (drugs) group in terms of quality of life measurements, such as perception of health, improvement in physical functioning, vitality and social functioning. There were also notable improvements in exercise tolerance and in echocardiogram measurement of amount of blood being pumped from their hearts."

The Chiropractic Profession operates with one of its principles being "Life is motion and motion is Life."

Develop an active exercise enhanced lifestyle and take care of your nervous system, so it can take care of you.

Q. – I get back pain while wearing high heels. Is this a common problem?

A. – This is quite common especially in cases where people wear them quite frequently. (ie cocktail waitresses, etc) This history behind heels is interesting. They were originally made to accent the shape of the female leg – make the calf contract and give the lower leg a more appealing look. However whenever man thinks he has a better idea and interrupts the human biological system side effects occur. A hyperlordosis (sway back) of the lower back and potential calf cramps are just two. When a sway back occurs subluxations can also occur and hence interference to the nerve system with all kinds of potential problems. Remember the nerve system controls and coordinates all functions of the body.

If you have problems aggravated with not only high heels but any kind of footwear call your Doctor of Chiropractic.

Q: How much water should I drink daily and why?

A: About three quarter of our population is dehydrated. With our lifestyles having a fast pace our bodies under go huge stressors, caffeine in coffee and pop (diuretics) are often involved. Lack of water or dehydration is one of the triggers of daytime fatigue, fuzzy short-term memory, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen. Dehydration will slow ones metabolism and the thirst mechanism in Canadians is so weak it is often mistaken for hunger. Drinking 5 or more glasses of water per day decreases the risk of many cancers such as colon, breast and bladder cancer. It also helps to slow down the aging process and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Water is the largest single component of the body; it takes nutrients to cells and is the medium for all reactions of the body. Most of our population does not get enough water in our diets, 8-10, 8 ounce glasses per day. Other fluids actually have a dehydrating effect.

Q: Can a chiropractic adjustment have any influence on the internal organs?

A: Absolutely! Gray's Anatomy Textbook teaches us that the Brain and Nervous System control and coordinates ALL functions of the body, and relate the organism to it's environment. So whether a person's problems are organic in nature or not , deductive reasoning would lead us to the inevitable conclusion that being Healthy is directly related to a fully functioning nervous system.

According to Roger Sperry Ph.d., a Nobel Peace Prize winner for brain research in the 1980's,"The more mechanically distorted a person, the less energy available for thinking, metabolism and healing."

To determine if you are distorted call your Doctor of Chiropractic who specializes in this type of care.

Q: How long can a person hope to live if they pay close attention to their lifestyle?

A: New research shows a 6-10 year increase in life expectancy. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association carried out by Dr. Jeremiah Stamler of NorthwesternUniversity (lead author) upon 366,000 people over a 16-22 year period of time. Hi-risk individuals include any or all habits of; smoking, little exercise, obesity and poor food choices creates havic in the cardio vascular system. The author states that low-risk people are rare to find – in fact less than 10% of people were low risk. So all the research in the world won't make you or I any healthier but better lifestyle choices will. Regular exercise, eating and drinking of a high quality, rest, positive attitude including fun times, and a nerve system free from interference enabling the body to function at a continual high level all contribute to not only a longer life but a higher quality of life. Seek a Doctor of Chiropractic's advice on these issues for a natural no drugs/no surgery opinion or call 343-PEAK. One of the Doctors would be honored to help.

Q: I saw a show on the news the other night describing the incredible damage to the nervous system caused by mercury. Isn't mercury one of the main preservatives in vaccines or inoculations?

A: Good question – I believe I saw the same news article on T.V. It came from the University of Calgary which does a lot of great research. Yes mercury is one of the many toxic substances used in the manufacturing of vaccines. In my opinion, anyone seriously interested in finding out more about this should contact Health Canada and ask for the pros and cons of vaccines. Then go online at and see the most informative website on the pros and cons. Only after this can you make an informed decision regarding the risk benefit ratio. The chemical name mercury goes by in vaccines is Thimerosal. Interestingly enough a lawsuit is in the works for the use of mercury in vaccines in the U.S. It appears that as the public becomes more informed and empowered that less people (parents especially) will just naively accept everything they are told. Incidentally one of the best ways to keep your immune system healthy with or without vaccines is by paying attention to your nerve system's status. This is the expertise of the Chiropractic profession. Give your local Doctor of Chiropractic a call.

Q: With all the T.V. ads on E.D. (Erectile Dysfunction) is there anything your profession can do for this?

A: Great question. Although this is not the number one reason a lot of patients enter our clinic they soon recognize the fact that as their nerve system improves and pain decreases other bodily functions begin to normalize. This includes the ability to not only get stimulated, but also to maintain an erection. Some males do come in with this as a primary problem. Others have low back pain, sciatica, neuralgia, neuritis's, loss of normal ranges of motion (inability to bend normally in different directions) and/or major or minor sensation loss. If the latter occurs then interest in the sexual act is diminished. Certainly Chiropractic is much more natural than pumping drugs into the person to get an artificial response.

Q: How does the human spirit influence our health?

A: Good Question. There are those people who deny the presence of a spirit or a soul but if a person dies and is lying on a marble slab what is missing? Whatever you want to call it, certainly some sort of energy source that distinguishes life from death is missing. Call it Life force, Spirit, Soul or a combination of them. Harold Koenig M.D., director of Duke's Center for the Study of Religion/ Spirituality and Health at DukeUniversity details more than 1200 studies that examine the relationship between faith and healing. He concludes that involvement in a religious community is associated with about a seven-year positive difference in human longevity. Not smoking gives a human about seven more years as well. Obviously acknowledging our spirit and getting involved in a church/ synagogue/ mosque does the human being some good not only quantitatively but qualitatively as well.

Q: Is smoking the worst lifestyle choice with respect to health?

A: Smoking is right up there with the worst lifestyle choices but, obesity actually outdistances it. Smoking leads to nearly every lung disorder imaginable and secondarily to a number of other disease processes. Obesity begins usually with a certain amount of inactivity, then type two diabetes or heart disease/strokes. Kidney disease, blindness and possible amputations due to circulation problems can also result. The bottom line is that smoking and obesity are two deadly habits that need to be killed.

They both have profound effects on the spine and nerve system as well.

Q: What is osteoporosis and how can it be helped?

A: Osteoporosis is a thinning of bone due to a decrease in absorption, assimilation (intake) or an increased excretion of calcium and other minerals making up the bone density. Osteoporosis is a systemic metabolic deficiency meaning all the bones are affected. (unless some other disease process is involved) In the January issue of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, California researchers found that vitamin C in quantities over 1000 mg/day had the highest bone densities. This study was conducted on almost 1000 postmenopausal women. Incidentally this is the group with the greatest trouble with osteoporosis. Activity especially weight-bearing also bears an even stronger mention for its ability to stress the skeleton and provoke an increased calcium uptake. Both of these are excellent strategies to help with the problem of osteoporosis. Better yet, while younger begin a weight bearing exercise program and get at least 1000 mg of vitamin C per day.