The Spinal Column: My favorite question, my absolute favorite

Dr. Jim Schaffer

Imagine this scene with me.

I am in my office, the adjusting area to be specific. There are three adjusting tables here. Two adult tables stand on either side of a horse whose snout and neck double as a stepladder for kids to climb aboard a mini adjusting table that is designed just for them.

On one of the full size tables an adult lies and watches as I adjust a little girl. She giggles, as they all do, while I check her low back. (I truly believe there is a tickle switch back there that I did not learn about in anatomy class.) She rolls over. I check her upper spine. She cheers for the “popcorn” as I make an adjustment. We high five each other. Her dad, who has been waiting in a chair nearby, stands. We shake hands and off they go to enjoy another summer day.

The patient on the adult table turns to me as they leave and asks, “Why would that young child need to get adjusted?”

This question does not surprise me. I get it all of the time.

And I love it! I love it! This question allows me to the opportunity to explain the entire premise of Chiropractic! Yes indeedy, I love this question.

I think you will all enjoy the answer.

Let’s start with an example that took place just yesterday morning at my home.

My youngest son, Luke, is now 7...sorry 7 ½. (He will not be happy with me if he finds out I did not quote his age correctly).

Luke came to me while I was doing paper work and explained to me that he was having pain not just down the back of his leg, but a little bit down the front as well. Could I please adjust him?

Luke is an active kid. For example, so far this morning he has bounded down the stairs, bounced on a trampoline, practiced his skills flipping around the bar on the jungle gym, rollerbladed in the drive way, and I am sure, wrestled with his brother, Jimmy, more than once.

Man, I long for those lazy days of summer!

Ok...back to my point...

“Yes, of course I will adjust you, my son,” I respond.

When I get Luke on the adjusting table I can feel that he has rocked his right hip. It is high. Of course as a result of that his lower spine has been forced to shift as well.

This is a chiropractor’s son. He is checked regularly. Once a week. He does not always need an adjustment, but we do check him. So I know that last week this was not like this.

Yet, sometimes, due to the constant challenges we put on our amazing spine, the bones can shift out of position. The goal is to put the bones back so that they do not begin to affect the health of the spine, the joints and above all, the nervous system, which is housed with in that spine.

Scar tissue and damage begins to occur in the places where bones are not in the correct position...within seven to 14 days. That is just one weeks time! With in one week scar tissue and damage starts to happen to their little spines.

Their little spines have perfectly planned little spaces between the bones where the nerves branch off the spinal cord to relay messages to the entire functioning body. Yes, the messages go to the heart to tell it exactly how to pump, to the lungs for how to breath, to the immune system to tell it how to fight off germs, to the eyes to see, to every cell and gland and organ and tissue to tell it how to work...with great specific detail.

If the bones have moved and are leaning into that open space where the nerve is coming through, and is applying even the slightest of pressure, what do you think will happen to all these messages?

They will get “squeezed” through. The result being delayed messages, jumbled messages, confused messages.

Over time we start to see symptoms of the jumbled messages in the form of allergies, digestive problems such as reflux or constipation, ear infections, headaches, delayed growth or development...to name a few.

Luke came to me because he is very aware of his body, a side effect of having your dad be a doctor. He felt something was wrong and wanted it corrected. The problem iswe don’t always have the good fortune to feel the pain. Yes...I said “the good fortune to feel pain.” I know that sounds crazy so let me explain.

The nerves that we are discussing are actually made up in three sections:

-The Autonomic section:basically lungs breathing sort of actions.

-The Motor section: This controls our controls all the functions that happen with out our conscious thought. The heart beating, the large and small muscle groups. When your child learns to walk, hold a pencil correctly, stay on a balance beam, cut with scissors.

-The Sensory section: This is the part of the nervous system that allows us to Feel. To feel a thorn prick you, to feel the rain on your face, to feel a pain down the front and back of your leg.

These three sections all run with in each nerve. If the nerve is being “squeezed” it may be squeezing the sensory section...or it may not. The Sensory area is only 10 percent of the nerve so it is rather likely it will not be affected. In which case you or your child will not “feel” the need to replace the spinal bone to its correct position. You wont have that warning bell to tell you that other systems in his body are being compromised. You wont know that his body in not able to fight off the germs he picked up at school as well as it could if the immune system were getting all it’s information. You wont know that the cause of Haley’s constant ear infections is due to jumbled information about draining the middle ear.

So...now...back to the imaginary scene we started this column with...

The adult is sitting on the side of the table at this point. Their jaw is dropped. Their eyes wide. They are flabbergasted. The idea of a healthy lifestyle had never been presented like this. Take care of the source. The nervous system runs everything with in you. Make it as healthy as it can be. Give it every opportunity to work at its optimum level.

Yes, I love it when I am asked why kids get adjusted. I love it.

Stay tuned next week, because I have a few stories to tell about some young adults that I have been adjusting for 18 years and how it has affected their level of success in life.

That’s it for this week, folks.

Enjoy the kids while they are home. Summer is going fast!

See you next week.

Dr. Jim

Dr. Jim Schaffer of Kimberton Chiropractic Center, Phoenixville, is a weekly contributor to The Phoenix. 484-921-4936 www.kimbertonchiropractic.com

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