Chiropractic care removes pressure on the nerve system to allow the body to function properly. The body is designed to naturally heal itself so by removing interference in its function, many common health conditions such as headaches can be prevented and alleviated.
Could you please start by explaining how chiropractic care helps facilitate the body’s healing process in general?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Oh sure. That’s an easy one. I like that, let’s start with that. Anyway, it is actually pretty simple when you really think about it. So, everyone wants to know what causes the body to heal. And what’s interesting to me is that our bodies are really born from two half cells. Mom donates an egg, dad donates a sperm, and then there’s this intelligence that takes that sperm and an egg and it starts reproducing and making all these cells until eventually this perfect baby shows up.
And then when the baby’s born, that same intelligence that created the baby is what runs and regulates the body. And when a baby’s born, it knows how to digest food and run and regulate its body just as good as you and I have and we’ve been on the planet probably 50 times longer.
When we think about it, it’s this nerve system that really runs and regulates and controls the body’s healing process and the body heals by simply replacing damaged cells with healthy new ones. We know if that I break my finger, as long as it’s straight, the doctor’s going to tape it to the one next to it and then those bones are going to knit back together. And that happens all by itself because the body is self-healing. But that healing is regulated by the nerve system.
Now, as a chiropractor, I’m concerned about the alignment of the spine because when the bones misalign, they can pinch and irritate the nerves that exits from in-between the spinal bones. With irritation to those nerve systems, that can slow down the body’s ability to heal and perform tissue repair.
So, if there’s a lot of pressure on the nerve system, the body won’t heal. As a matter of fact, that famous actor, Christopher Reeves, who fell off a horse and broke his neck and injured his nerve system, was not able to really heal on his own. He needed to be pumped up with antibiotics from the moment of that accident for the rest of his life because he had a lot of pressure on his nerve system.
Now most of us have a thousand times less pressure on our nerve system than someone like him had. But even still any pressure on the nerve system will slow it down and that will cause a slowing down of the body’s function and healing properties, which again will more likely increase the incidence of sickness and disease. Maybe when you’re sick it might take longer for your body to heal.
How does chiropractic care help treat earaches and vertigo?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Chiropractors do have a lot of success with certain types of earaches and vertigo because typically there’s that labyrinth thing, organ inside the ear that has some fluid in it and it orients you into space and whatnot. When this labyrinth, which is like a series of coils, and it’s very tiny and it has fluid in it and acts like a level, lets you know where your body is. Sometimes there can be pressure building up in the upper cervical spine, which again changes the flow of cerebral spinal fluid in these fluids. And when there’s a lot of pressure and back pressure pushing back on this inner ear labyrinth, it will fill up with fluid and then these people have this sensation of vertigo or spinning or falling. And sometimes by correcting the alignment of the upper cervical spine, we release that pressure and then the fluid drains out of the ear and then the body basically rights the ship, literally.
It does not work in every case. But I’ve had a lot of success with working with children who have chronic earaches and stuff, but that’s really just building up their immune system when they have a lot of pressure built up and these kids actually do quite well as well. A lot of times parents won’t realize that, but bring their kids to medical doctors, they’ll give them round after round of antibiotics, which sometimes can help clear up the fluid buildup, but not in every case.
So, we do help a lot of people naturally. And the one thing I want to say is that people should try the natural approach first. If that doesn’t work, the drugs will always be there later. Chiropractors are trained to know when we can treat the patient or when we need to refer out. So, it’s not really a huge concern, but it is a small portion of the population that we do see coming in with earaches and vertigo and we are able to help a good portion of them.
How can chiropractors help relieve headache and migraine pain and reduce the chances of people getting headaches?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Wow, that’s a great question. And headache is a condition that a lot of people will come in and present to a chiropractor with. There are many different causes of headaches and the first thing we always need to do is you’ve got to rule out to make sure it’s not one of those bad type of headaches where it might be like an intracranial lesion, a tumor or something like that. So, very often we want to take a careful history and make sure that there’s no other complicating factors. Then we’ll examine the alignment of the upper cervical spine and neck.
Typically there are things called vertebrogenic headache, meaning coming from the vertebrae themselves, and that can be from misaligned vertebrae up at the upper cervical spine, which is C1 and C2, the atlas and axis, and sometimes even the way the skull will sit on top of the first vertebrae, if that’s out of alignment, that can irritate some of the nerves.
Also, a lot of the nerves that come off the brainstem and upper cervical spine will recur and go up into the head, so if there’s irritation to those nerves, we can see headaches there. But by doing gentle chiropractic adjustments and getting pressure off those nerves, a lot of people will see relief from headache type of symptoms.
The migraines, sometimes that’s a vascular headache and that’s why they will feel that pounding and things like that. Typically, your nerve system is what sets the tension or how dilated or constricted blood vessels are, and sometimes if there’s irritation to the upper cervical spine, the body might have a little trouble regulating the vasodilation or vasoconstriction. Sometimes these arteries can go into spasm and that’s what causes that throbbing type of headache.
But if we can reduce pressure and irritation to the nerves in the upper cervical spine, the body can regulate the vasodilation and constriction better. And then usually those people will improve overall with their headache symptoms, see decreased frequency, severity and intensity, which is really important. And in some people their headaches never come back. Some people were just managing them where they’re just less frequent and less intense and everything in between.
Can chiropractic care actually help people with high blood pressure?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Sure. When, again, we go back to the primary tenants of chiropractic, that the nerve system is that master system and it runs and regulates everything. If there’s enough irritation to the nerve system, creating static in the line, then yeah, the body might have some dysregulation of blood pressure and you might see it go higher or lower or not be staying stable. And again, since the nerve system does regulate our blood pressure and tells the kidney and what to do and all these different things, the neural and hormonal regulation of blood pressure certainly can be affected if there’s pressure and irritation or subluxation in the spine, irritating the nerve system.
So again, when the nerve system is communicating properly, your body should run and regulate itself just fine. But when there’s pressure on the nerve system due to misalignments and subluxation, irritating those nerves, it makes it much harder for the body to run and regulate itself. And blood pressure is something certainly that is regulated by the nerve system.
Fibromyalgia can be debilitating, but can chiropractic care help reduce the pain?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: In many cases it can. Fibromyalgia is an interesting diagnosis where they took a group of five or six symptoms that a lot of people were having and they’re just, “All right we’re seeing a lot of people that have these five symptoms, let’s group them together and we’ll call that fibromyalgia syndrome”. But there’s no definitive tests. There’s not like a blood test you could do and be like, “Oh, this person has fibromyalgia,” or you’re looking for a certain genetic marker. It’s just it’s a group of symptoms. And typically, it is working with the muscles and what controls the muscles are certainly the nerves and they’ll get a lot of muscle pain and aches and things and they can be slow to heal.
And yes, chiropractic can help alleviate some of the pain by getting pressure off the nerves and getting the muscles more relaxed. When we eliminate nerve interference, when there’s a lot of irritation to the nerve, these extra impulses can get to the muscles and the muscles can remain contracted or tight, which then allows more lactic acid to build up in the muscles, which are just the breakdown products which makes muscle metabolism, making the muscles more sore.
Chiropractic can certainly help reduce some of the symptoms. I’ve had people come in with this condition and a lot of them have done very, very well. There’s been a few that have only gotten marginal help, but everyone seems to do better with a lot of the physical symptoms that they have. But again, can’t promise a cure and that these symptoms might never come back, but in some people, they do and then we just manage their case and they just generally do better under care. So, it can certainly help reduce the pain in dealing with fibromyalgia, but it might not eliminate everything that that person is dealing with.
To speak with Dr. Gregg Rubinstein, visit www.ChiropractorMidtown.com or call 917-534-6484 to schedule an appointment