Fred C. Binder 2015-11-16 04:09:20
You might find it shocking to hear that as a practicing Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) for more than 30 years, the most common questions I have heard were, “What is a chiropractor?” and “What do you do?” No one ever asks their dentist (DDS-Doctor of Dental Surgery) what they do. They even know what podiatrists (DPM-Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) can do for their legs, ankles and feet. I know there is probably no one out there who asked what an MD (Doctor of Medicine) is. So let’s get acquainted with understanding chiropractic. The term Chiropractic is most believed to have its derivation from Ancient Greek: χειρος - a hand; πραξις - a doing or transaction loosely translated to “done by hand.” Cheiros (or chiros) +praktikos is a more American English take on the derivation. The first chiropractor was Daniel David Palmer of Davenport, Iowa, who founded chiropractic in 1895. However chiropractic roots can be traced back thousands of years. The Chinese were said to have manipulated lower extremities to relieve back pain more than 4,500 years ago (circa 2500 BC). Hippocrates, the Greek physician, also published texts foretelling the importance of what chiropractors do –almost 2,200 years before D.D. Palmer was born! In one of his writings he declared, “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.” Other roots of chiropractic can be found over thousands of years in another practice that was known as bonesetting. According to Samuel Homola, D.C., in his book discussing bonesetting and chiropractic, “In addition to the use of manipulation as a method of setting fractures, reducing dislocations, and restoring mobility to an injured or diseased joint, there is considerable evidence that many ancient cults and individuals attempted to treat disease by ceremoniously manipulating or popping the joints. This was especially true among those groups and civilizations that routinely employed massage in their treatment methods. The ancient Chinese were experts at massage.” The medicine of the 1800s was steeped in different practices – vitalism, magnetism, spiritualism. Even leeches and other severe purging method—now referred to as heroic medicine—were widely being used. Seems pretty scary, right? Out of this atmosphere, D.D. Palmer, originally a magnetic healer, founded chiropractic. Palmer believed that the body possessed an innate intelligence that originated in the brain and flowed through the spinal cord to the body. If a spinal joint was out of place (a subluxation), he believed that would interfere with normal function and cause problems. In 1895 there were no MRI or CAT scans available, so Palmer elected to simply help people with chiropractic and was not concerned with scientific proof. Please note that federal support for chiropractic research began in 1992 with the establishment of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) of the National Institutes of Health. Some of their studies show that Palmer was right about many things. An example of just one such study is Bronfort, G., Haas, M., Evans, R., Kawchuk, G., Dagenais, S.: Evidence-informed management of chronic low back pain with spinal manipulation and mobilization. (Spine Journal, 2008 8(1), 213-225). D.D. was definitely right! He went on to found the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, which to this day remains a prestigious chiropractic college. He tasked his son Bartlett Joshua Palmer (usually called B.J.) with continuing the practice and advancement of chiropractic. Whew! With all that history out of the way, let’s answer the question of what chiropractors do. Many patients suffer from symptoms caused by a joint with restricted movement; this is known as the joint being ”hypomobile.” In its simplest form hypomobility (also known as joint fixation) can be caused from trauma, such as a car accident, heavy lifting or an impact in sports (sliding, colliding, etc.). Additionally, hypomobility can also be caused by a repetitive stress injury; for example, sitting at a desk for durations in excess of 20-30 minutes with poor posture or playing sports while the body is not balanced (i.e., pitching with one arm will stress that extremity much more than the other arm). In order to remedy these and other situations the Doctor of Chiropractic must perform a specific manipulation that is called a chiropractic adjustment. Remember other health care providers can manipulate but only a Doctor of Chiropractic is trained to provide a specific adjustment. Naturally, the hypomobile joint causes the tissues to be injured by inflammation, leading to pain and decreased mobility. The Chiropractic Adjustment reverses this by restoring normal mobility to the joint, allowing muscles to relax, inflammation to subside, and healing to occur. Please know this: an adjustment rarely causes pain and if it does it is usually mild, much like pain from exercising. Also understand that a Doctor of Chiropractic has the clinical experience to perform a comprehensive exam, including laboratory tests and diagnostic imaging, to be sure chiropractic is the right approach. He has the knowledge to work with other professionals where co-treatment or alternative approaches will provide the best outcomes. Many patients frequently ask if chiropractic can help their children. Often their children are athletes and they want to know if chiropractic will help them with that activity and/or fix a problem that already exists. Yes and yes! For the purpose of this article we are going to speak about this as it pertains to baseball (and softball). The simplest example of this is playing with pain. If you are limping a little, you are putting undo pressure and stress on the other side. Many players with pain overcompensate by using other muscle groups to help do the work of an injured muscle or joint. What starts out as a leg injury may end up also causing a back or arm problem as the player tries to aid the injured muscle and get the work done by using other muscles improperly. In a 2012 interview with current Texas Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels regarding his chiropractic care, he explained very simply that the body starts from the ground up. Since there is tremendous torque on the back and since most power comes from the core, a healthy spine is most important in producing the energy needed to release a baseball with the shoulder and elbow. He goes on to explain how a particular chiropractic technique that was employed on him was a great way to break up scar tissue and adhesions and promote faster healing, which allows baseball players to play over a long 10-month season and perform well. It keeps them going until the off season finally arrives and they can rest. He explains that what started out as a couple of players under chiropractic care turned into many of the players enjoying the benefits of chiropractic. It is important to note that a Doctor of Chiropractic can perform the right adjustments and provide the player with the proper rehabilitative exercises in order to prevent or stop many different injuries, not only spinal and lower extremity but arm/elbow/shoulder as well. For example, pitching often leads to a decrease in internal rotation in the shoulder due to tightness in the posterior capsule from cocking the arm rearward. This is from the repetitive action of throwing (late cocking and early acceleration phase). This is called Glenohumeral Internal Rotation Deficit or GIRD. GIRD has been shown to increase the risk for SLAP (Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior) ligament tears by approximately 25 percent. SLAP injuries typically require six months of rest and therapy but may require surgery and recovery time of 12-18 months if the rest and physical therapy fail. Chiropractic adjustments along with exercise and therapy provided by a Doctor of Chiropractic could be a much better remedy and possibly limit a problem like this from developing. I’ll bet you guessed by now that not only would pitching be a problem, but how would you like to hit, run and field when suffering from back, neck, leg, arm, elbow or shoulder pain or tightness? By now you know the answer to the question—can a chiropractor help me or my student-athlete? Not only are they candidates, but so is every age group, from T-ball through high school. Did you know that according to Dr. Rick Jacobs, the director of the Professional Baseball Chiropractic Society (PBCS), that almost every major league team has a Doctor of Chiropractic on staff or available for consult. If it’s good enough for them, then I say to you—join the team! Worldwide Baseball Prospects WBP is a leading coaching and mentoring company which supports, motivates and educates prospective high school baseball players and their families with an economical, value-packed recruitment planning program and a sensible approach to the college baseball recruiting process that gets proven results. The WBP High School to College Baseball Recruiting Program is a great fit for families and players who choose to be in control of their future development and the college baseball recruiting process. Please visit WorldwideBaseball-Prospects.com.
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