A couple of weeks back as I was completing my internship I had the pleasure of seeing a man with an intriguing, yet heartbreaking story. Upon speaking with the gentleman I discovered that approximately 10 years ago he began having muscle spasms and trouble sleeping. Like most Americans, this man turned to his trusted Physician for help. Unfortunately this Physician decided to attempt to remedy this man’s issues by prescribing a psychotropic drug in the form of an anti-depressant. If you read that scenario back to yourself, common sense should shoot up a mental red flag and prompt you to ask why the hell would you give someone a side effect carrying drug commonly prescribed for depression if they are not depressed to begin with?
So what happened with our patient? Well, his muscle spasms subsided and he began sleeping well again. So he was kept on the medication as preventative maintenance and life went on. Boom, problem solved. Well done, Doc. If only it were so easy. What happened next with this man is one of the heartbreaking aspects of this story. He developed what is called Tardive Dyskinesia. You would know he has this condition by the involuntary, repetitive tic-like movements, particular in his facial muscles and distal limbs. Depending on the moment, this man can’t help but to smack his lips and puff his cheeks, an issue that he never had in his life prior to consuming the psychotropic drug for a sustained period of time.
After this gentleman developed this condition and received numerous professional opinions that pointed to the use of the psychotropic drug as the cause, he now had a new problem to deal with. Now he sought the help of a neurologist who decided to calm down the constant rocking and twitching by serving up some Valium. While the Valium did indeed lessen the Tardive Dyskinesia symptoms, it also left him fatigued and feeling like a “zombie.” When faced the option, our friend decided he would make due with the spastic movements, in order to retain his energy and mental capacity. Quite a trade off to be forced into.
So how did this man wind up in front of me? Well, he is currently out of work on permanent disability and thankfully his care is covered under his insurance plan. Well, almost all of his care. You see, his neurologist holds some clout with the insurance companies as the “expert.” This Doctor’s recommendations are taken by the insurance company to be appropriate, and therefore are covered financially. While this Valium prescribing neurologist sees it advantageous for this man to receive massages and acupuncture, he does not see Chiropractic as being a potentially beneficial avenue for this man to travel down. Why you ask? He simply does not believe in it.
So again, how then does this man wind up in front of me? Well, nobody knows this man’s body like himself. Despite his neurologist’s “professional opinion,” this man knows and has experienced a lessening of his symptoms after receiving chiropractic adjustments. So much so, that this man is forced to pay out of pocket after coming to the office for the approved and covered massage and acupuncture treatments.
What are the problems that we see with this story? The first glaring issue is that of the reckless administering of pharmaceuticals to the trusting American public. If you haven’t caught on to this yet, we are the guinea pigs in this experiment. Many of these drugs do not have long term studies. Many of these drugs are being prescribed for purposes other than their designed intent, in order to potentially utilize a side effect. Many Doctors are products of Medical Schools that which are heavily funded by Big Pharma and thus are taught to diagnosis and prescribe, prescribe, prescribe. When things go wrong with unsuspecting patients or the when the deceptive backdoor methods used by the pharmaceutical companies come under a microscope, fines are administered. The seemingly hefty fines to us are nothing compared to the profits generated by these companies and sadly can be chalked up as the price of doing business. If you are not on any medications yourself, you no doubt know or love someone who is and it would behoove you to at the very least open your eyes to these issues.
(If you wish to read more eye opening facts on this particular issue, check out: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/02/pharmaceutical-companies-hide-information.aspx)
Another major issue illustrated by this story is that of the neurologist’s bias against the field of Chiropractic. This man clearly experiences benefits from an adjustment. So whose fault is it for this neurologist’s prejudice? Is it due to his own previous experiences with other Chiropractors? Is it because he does indeed realize that Chiropractors possess the ability to directly access the nervous system manually, and selfishly sees this as a threat? Or is it the fault of the Chiropractic profession for not getting the message out there, or even worse not knowing what that message is? Why does this man experience benefits from the treatment?
In this gentleman’s case we clearly have dysfunction taking place in his brain, most likely in a place called the basal ganglia which plays a major role in thought process, emotion and in this man’s case movement. The basil ganglia, like most structures in our brain, is bi-lateral and exists in two opposite hemispheres. If you’ve read any past posts on Functional Neurology, than you know that we can administer treatments to one side of the body to affect the opposite cortical hemisphere, basil ganglia included.
My time with this patient was limited, and my brief neurological exam was somewhat inconclusive. Based on the findings, I decided to adjust his right side (which would stimulate the opposite side of the brain) and monitor the results. When all adjustments were administered to the right side the patient’s tics and rocking temporarily disappeared and he noted feeling relaxed for the remainder of the day. At the next visit, adjustments to the left side did nothing to stop the twitching and the patient actually dropped his glasses twice as I walked him out. From the application of adjustments to opposite sides of the body we were able to demonstrate notable differences. This gives us hope and direction in treatment application due to the favorable changes demonstrated by the therapy applied to the right side of the body, and thus the affecting the left side of the patient’s brain.
This is what Functional Neurology is all about. Utilizing non-invasive, manual exams and therapies to positively identify and correct an imbalance or deficiency. Unfortunately my time was cut short with the patient, but continued therapies to the right side of the patient would be applied, some geared specifically to the basil ganglia (Yes, we can do that). The patient would also receive therapies to do on his own in an attempt to create something called plasticity. It’s great that we are able to create a temporary change in the office. The real trick is to constantly send appropriate stimulation in an attempt to create plastic and lasting changes in the nervous system, enabling the nervous system to adapt to a more favorable route or firing pattern, ultimately diminishing symptoms and improving a life.
This story illuminates numerous breakdowns and problems with the healthcare system. The entire progression of this man’s treatment should be reversed. When he initially experienced muscle spasms and trouble sleeping, extensive investigation into why these symptoms of underlying dysfunction were occurring should’ve been done. Treatment should have been directed towards that and not at silencing the symptoms. These and any symptoms are outward signs from our body attempting to tell us something isn’t right. It is lazy and reckless to simply gag the body with medication. After that, it seems logical that non-invasive, non-side effect carrying, manual methods of therapy should be applied first. I have no problem with medication when appropriate and necessary, but not when it is so haphazardly utilized like it was in this and many other cases.
Don’t be a victim of the current state of affairs. Research. Create a dialogue with those you trust and respect. Find a natural therapy that enables the body to heal itself like it is designed to do. Don’t take the chane of being ravaged by the prescription roulette game and THEN seek the alternative route to clean up the mess.
The other issue here is ignorance. There is ignorance amongst other health care providers and the public in general as to what Chiropractic can do when guided by Functional Neurology. This man clearly benefited from the treatment and his Neurologist clearly didn’t understand why the benefits took place. That’s what these posts are about; getting the information out there, sparking your curiosity and initiating investigation. The treatment is out there. The results are real. You owe it to yourself to check it out and unlock the door to naturally experiencing life on a higher level.