Sunday, March 27, 2011
Health and Healing
My brother in law Mike is studying chiropractic, and he practices on my sister and I sometimes. He's an ace student so I trust his ability. It started when I asked if a disjointed vertebra might be pinching a nerve between my shoulder blades, where I almost always have muscle knots. Sometimes the tension builds, radiating up my neck, causing a headache, and often this is accompanied by nausea and, commonly enough, vomiting.
He found several "locked up" vertebra in the area where the nerves for the gut come through, and he gave me a good crackin'. A few times, actually: poor posture and muscle memory, I suppose, keeps pulling the bones out of place. At least I'm now sure that the problem with these headaches and vomiting is nothing more than a pinched nerve. I had been a bit concerned about it for years, though without insurance, unable to see a doctor to find out. But this week I "watched" the tension build in the usual spot, between my shoulder blades on the right side of the spine, growing and growing; by Friday it was definitely running up my neck, and last night I slept terribly with worse pain than usual, and a blossoming headache which I killed with Ibuprofen (though I take drugs very regretfully). No nausea this time.
Kind of neat to watch the body like that, and I have to thank my bro-in-law for this
newfound awareness. I believe in chiropractic, but in the end I'm not sure if shifting the bones around is the answer, if the muscles just pull them back out of place. Part of me thinks it makes more sense to do the opposite: work on relaxing the muscles, and the bones will follow suit. Kind of a chicken and the egg problem, and with the body, I'm sure it goes both ways, and both are valuable. I do know that after he adjusted me I felt great. He did my neck too (there was a locked joint there too) and I had more range of motion and my head felt like it was floating, not sitting heavy on my neck.
Some dispute chiropractic's efficacy. Mike says they've talked about this in class, about the placebo effect. He said, well, if it's just a placebo, then why the effect? Here you can't help but delve into the mind-body connection, even treading into the realm of faith healing. Now I'm not really into faith healing, it looks like a farce to me, and often is; just a stage act to get monetary donations. But sometimes it's real. People healed at Lourdes, or by faith healers, by this or that. Or hell, people healed by a sugar pill in a double blind experiment. Same thing. If it's just a placebo, why the effect, indeed.
Part of the problem is the word "just." "Just" a placebo effect. It's a disparaging term that has no basis in fact or logic; only in emotion. Wikipedia calls that a "weasle word." That science has so long avoided looking into this, casting it off as "just" a placebo effect is a shame, a crime, really. I say a crime, because if a sugar pill or a saline injection can cure people who think they're getting medicine, then why are we being poisoned with medicine with so many toxic side effects, and paying egregious amounts of money for the pleasure? What ever happened to "first do no harm"?
More to follow...