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Chiropractic Wellness... What??


By: Dr. Rob Neposlan

Over the years I have heard some patients comment on “things” they have heard about Chiropractic and Chiropractors. One of my favorites is the comment: “If you go once you’ll have to go all your life”. When I hear this I know that someone along the way has been to a wellness based chiropractic office. Unfortunately, people don’t often have complete information and don’t understand why a Chiropractor would make a recommendation of ongoing wellness care when a person is not in pain. This happens to be the way I practice. Since our inception in 1997, I have been promoting ongoing wellness care with our patients long after their pain has been resolved. Why… it’s in the research!!

A Little History

The Chiropractic profession was “born” in Davenport Iowa, in 1995, when a man by the name of D.D. Palmer first thrust on the upper spine of a janitor working in his office, a man named Harvey Lillard. Following this ‘adjustment”, Harvey who had been deaf all his life, had his hearing restored. Of course, word went out all over the land that a man named D.D. Palmer had found the cure for deafness. And it was not long before everyone with hearing issues started to show up in Davenport. But something unexpected happened. No matter how much DD thrust upon the upper spine of his patients’ not everyone had their hearing restored. Something interesting happened though. People with other types of ailments began to respond; people with heart problems and lung conditions, ulcers and digestive disorders and all types of different conditions. The popularity of DD’s work grew, as did the profession. Through the years schools were introduced and yes, even drugless Chiropractic hospitals. The profession soon came under attack by those whose interests were threatened. And while it has been a long road, the profession has survived and thrived!!


Based on its distinct science, art and philosophy has been around for 113 years. Chiropractic is now positioned to be the leader in the Wellness movement, moving away from drugs and surgery to proactive steps to preventing illness and disease through living well, eating well, moving well and thinking well concepts. These form the basis of our 4 pillars of health and for new readers, form the subject matter of these weekly articles.

Current Day

There’s a term in Chiropractic. It’s called the vertebral subluxation complex. In simple terms, the subluxation is a situation where spinal joints are misaligned. Theses joints if left uncorrected lead to nervous system changes, which affect not only muscles but also other tissues including organs and joints (long term arthritis) themselves.

Subluxation Complex Does Exist

Dr James Chestnut in his book, The 14 Foundational Premises for the Scientific and Philosophical Validation of the Chiropractic Wellness Paradigm (2003), very clearly establishes, with hundreds of scientific references, that the subluxation complex does in fact exist. He does a magnificent job in outlining how the nervous system works, how nerves around spinal joints affect not only the areas in our brains responsible for pain perception but also other processes involved in every aspect of function. He very clearly demonstrates, through referenced peer reviewed research, how joints that are out of alignment (subluxated) can adversely affect global (whole body) function and that it is imperative that these joint subluxations be corrected to restore proper nerve function to all organs and tissues of the body.

Three Relevant Studies

I’d like to very briefly reference three recent studies that validate my comments above.

Study 1

The first is a study conducted at the University of Lund (Sweden), which showed that chiropractic care could influence the basic physiological processes affecting oxidative stress and DNA repair. The study examined serum thiols in patients under short term and long-term care. Serum thiols are primary antioxidants, and serve as a measure of human health status. The test serves as an estimate of DNA enzyme repair activity, which has been shown to correlate with lifespan and aging. Comparing serum thiol levels in nearly 50 patients receiving short or long term care with controls, researches found:

1) independent of age, sex or taking nutritional supplements, long term chiropractic care of two or more years re-established a normal physiological state in patients and

2) patients receiving care showed higher mean thiol levels compared to patients with active disease and produced some higher than normal wellness values.

In short, the study basically showed that chiropractic adjustments affect chemistry of biological processes on a cellular level.

Study 2

A second recent study was conducted at Parker College (Texas) on 311 patients aged 65 years and older who had received chiropractic care for a period of 5 years or longer. Despite similar health status, the study found that these patients when compared to US citizens of the same age spent only 31% of the national average for health care services. The chiropractic patients also experienced 50% fewer medical provider visits than their comparable peers.

Study 3

John Zhang M.D. Ph.D. and his team of researchers performed a third recent study. Dr Zhang investigated the affect of chiropractic adjustments on heart rate variability. Heart rate variability (HRV) measures overall tone of the autonomic nervous system, which controls organs, glands and blood vessels. This is a well-accepted test in the medical community also showing how well the brain and heart is communicating. Decreased heart rate variability is associated with an increased mortality rate and is also seen in depressed people with coronary artery disease and is also associated with aging and obesity. Dr Zhang’s team examined per and post changes following a single chiropractic adjustment in 625 patients in 96 offices. His team also followed 132 patients for a 4-week period. The study concluded that the multi clinic study of chiropractic care on the heart rate variability had demonstrated consistent changes in the HRV and VAS (visual analog scale – measure on pain) in patients who participated in the study. “The decreased heart rate and increased total power from the HRV analysis indicated a healthy autonomic nervous system balance after correction of the vertebral subluxation.”

As we move forward with our 4 pillars of health, keep in mind that research shows that 70% of all modern diseases (heart, cancer, neurological disorders etc.) are the product of lifestyle choices we make every day. It is my hope that in time, these short articles will inspire you to make changes in your life and in your priorities which will lead to a healthier, fuller and better quality of life. I believe that a regular spinal adjustment, wellness care, is one component of this effort to LIVE WELL.

Until next week,

Live Well

Dr. Rob

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