Getting to Know Jacksonville Chiropractic and Alternative Care
By Dr. Jon Thomas D.C PSc.D, Board Certified Chiropractic Physician
Have you ever wondered what the real differences are between so call conventional medicine and what is being referred to as alternative medicine? Well, that’s exactly what this article will spell out. We want to help you see the real distinctions between the way conventional medicine treats a patient's malady and what chiropractic care provides. Here are a couple of quotes that spell out the basics of the alternative approach.
“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” (Thomas A. Edison) “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” (Benjamin Franklin)
It seems Mr. Edison and Mr. Franklin were on the same page regarding preventative care. The modern version of the Hippocratic Oath speaks to the same vision. Yet conventional medicine typically focuses on the treatment of symptoms. Let’s read it to find out.
“I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and follow. I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism. I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug. I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.” (Louis Lasagna)
These forward thinkers and bygone physicians had similar philosophies that promoted better health by prevention. Fast forward to today and nearly 70% of all Americans take prescription drugs. According to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, the most commonly prescribed prescription drugs are antibiotics, antidepressants and painkillers.
(http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/) The modern trend is clearly to treat the symptoms of bigger issues and is far removed from prevention. What happened along the way?
CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE VS CHIROPRACTIC AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
There are many differences between the way a patient receives treatment with conventional medicine and the way an alternative care practitioner approaches the same patient. One of the fundamental differences is conventional medicine focuses on disease and alternative medicine focuses on the whole individual. So let us look at these differences in more detail.
Modern conventional medicine treats disease and the resulting symptoms with drugs and surgery. One of the greatest strengths of conventional medicine is to accurately diagnose disease and treat its symptoms. The technology in the operating room had progressed light years in the past decade or so and many people have benefited from this. People can see better with laser surgery and walk with hip replacements and prosthetic legs. Conventional medicine has developed powerful drugs to fight infectious diseases that have saved many lives. If you get hit by a truck, end up in the emergency room and live to tell about it, you can thank the hard-working physicians and scientists who developed the emergency medicine techniques we have today.
CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS - IS IT TOO MUCH?
"Many doctors are quick to prescribe a drug, partly because they have limited time to deal with individual patients or because they and their patients have been bombarded with ads from the pharmaceutical industry." (MSNBC, Archives of Internal Medicine)
We are living in a culture where the belief is to “take a pill for what ails you.” The United States is commonly referred to as the Medication Nation by those who live abroad. The common notion that prescription drugs are safe and illicit drugs are dangerous is simply not true. Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in our culture. According to the Center for Disease Control, 44 Americans die from an overdose from prescription drugs daily, and many more become addicted. Pain killers are among the most commonly prescribed, they are also amongst the most addictive.
This is where conventional medicine fails. Conventional medicine focuses on crisis intervention and is generally less effective in treating chronic illness. It’s great if you have a broken leg and need it treated immediately, but when it comes to chronic illness, there may be more to the big picture than simply prescribing a pill.
THE WHOLE YOU
You are a product of your lifestyle and environment. Your health is a lifestyle process. It is based on the foods you eat, your exercise regimen, your stress level, the amount of sleep you get and more. Your body alignment also has a huge impact on the way your body functions. There is a synergy between the mind and all the organs in your body and they need to be addressed holistically, rather than separately. Chronic illnesses such as arthritis and fibromyalgia are best treated with a holistic approach with chiropractic and alternative methods.
Chiropractic and alternative medicine also takes into account a person's nutrition and lifestyle choices. It's rare that a conventional MD takes a close look at a patients’ nutritional, sleep and workout habits. Chiropractors on the other hand, do this regularly because they look at the whole person (because the body is directly influenced by the spiritual, nutritional and structural aspects of our lives).
CHIROPRACTIC AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE = PREVENTATIVE CARE
The nervous system is the control center of your body and consists of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. Chiropractic care is dedicated to restoring the body’s ability to regulate and heal itself by correcting interference to the nervous system. A properly aligned spinal cord means a healthier you. The spinal column is like a switching center that allows the brain to monitor and coordinate all the functions of every cell and organ in your body. A chiropractor’s approach is to locate and remove interference to your nervous system, thus ensuring there is nothing impeding the flow of traffic.
STAND UP STRAIGHT-KEEP YOUR SPINE HEALTHY
A healthy spine will allow the nervous system to transmit information by protecting it from stress. If one of the vertebrae in your spine is not in the proper position, it can create swelling, inflammation and eventually nerve stress. This condition is called vertebral subluxation and can wreak havoc on your nervous system, your body and your health. Spinal trauma can occur through obvious things such as falling, playing rough sports or car accidents. But bad posture or sitting at a computer all day can also have cumulative effects that cause a subluxation.
A chiropractic adjustment is somewhat of an art form. The chiropractor applies force or pressure in a specific direction to a joint that is subluxated. The objective is to reduce the subluxation, which will increase the range of motion and reduce the nerve stress.
You don’t have to be hurting to see a chiropractor. Remember, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Subluxation can occur over time and if you do sit at a desk all day or realize you don’t have perfect posture, then it would be wise to make an appointment to see your chiropractor. Your spine will thank you.
A WINNING COMBINATION- CHIROPRACTIC CARE AND A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Chiropractic is one of many alternative medical therapies along with Acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, Naturopathic medicine and more. These practices approach the whole mind, body and spirit as an organism, rather than treating individual organs or attacking symptoms.
Alternative medical practitioners (AMP’s for the purposes of this article) see pain as a warning sign of imbalance in the body. It may be that you are doing something wrong, rather than there is something wrong. You may be eating the wrong foods, not sleeping enough, sleeping with the wrong pillow or have too much stress in your life. You may have suffered and injury in an accident in the past and never received treatment for that injury.
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A qualified chiropractor generally spends more time with their patients than a traditional physician who gets paid for how many patients they see and how many procedures they perform. Communication is essential in any patient-practitioner relationship and quality time spent in the traditional doctor’s office seems to be eroding. A good AMP will listen to the patient and look for the “story behind the story.” This approach encourages patient participation and patient empowerment.
A PLAN CUSTOMIZED FOR YOU
At Vibrant Life Health Center, our mission is to get to the root of a person’s health issues and allow the body to heal itself naturally. Through a combination of chiropractic techniques, nutritional and supplemental advice, catered to your individual needs, we empower people to make the move to a healthier, pain-free life.
In this article we have discussed the many differences between conventional medicine (aka allopathic medicine) and that practiced by alternative practitioners like chiropractors. This article covers the differences in focus between the two disciplines and expands on the benefits of treating people as a whole person, verses focusing on treating disease and symptoms.
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At Vibrant Life, we address all of the key elements to add vibrance and vitality to your life. This includes nutrition, chiropractic care, and fitness. If you need to consult with a chiropractor about your neck, back, or any other health concern, please contact our office to set up an appointment.
Dr. Jon Thomas is a Board Certified Chiropractic Physician. His practice, The Vibrant Life Health Center, is located in the Mandarin section of Jacksonville. His interest in health and fitness started early, and his athletic pursuits have included BMX racing, Professional Snow Skiing, Water Skiing, Baseball, Weightlifting, and Martial Arts. After studying and learning from some of the top health experts throughout the world, Dr. Thomas dedicated his life to helping people of all ages to transform their lives. The objective for each patient is to initiate the body’s healing and to work progressively toward a body that functions optimally. Dr. Thomas is seen regularly on TV on First Coast Living, where he discusses the transformations of his patients. He also speaks at events throughout the community and writes informative articles to improve the health of residents throughout Jacksonville.
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