By: Dr. Steven Baca
As my children progress through their high school years and move forward to the next phase of their lives, I can’t help but to recall my days in high school. One of the most common questions that I got asked (and what my children seem to get asked a lot) is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I had no problem answering that question….I wanted to be a Chiropractor. My answer was simple because, like many of us who choose Chiropractic as a profession, a Chiropractor made a difference in my life.
My First Chiropractor
You see when I was 8 years old I suffered from what most people would call, “allergies”. I had, “Strep-Throat” and inner ear infections many times during the course of any given year especially when the weather went from hot to cold or from cold to hot. After numerous visits to the family doctor, countless prescriptions, and shots of penicillin too numerous to count (in my rear end…OUCH!), my mother did something that changed my life forever… she took me to a Chiropractor.
My chiropractor’s name was Dr. Soulsby. He and his staff were the friendliest I had ever met. On my first visit he did an examination, took x-rays, and then adjusted my spine. Even though I was young, the adjustment didn’t hurt. After a few months of care, my family started to notice a difference in their little boy. I was more active and playing outside in the dirt. However, the biggest change of all was we weren’t sitting in a medical waiting room, because we didn’t need to. As I got older, I visited Dr. Soulsby for everything: Dr. Soulsby was more than just a back pain doctor. He became my, “go-to” doctor for everything from the common cold, sprained ankle(s) from sports injuries, and anything else that I suffered from. I owe him a huge amount of gratitude.
Why I Became a Chiropractor
He made such a difference in my life that once I graduated from college, I enrolled in Chiropractic school. My career of helping others had begun. Over the last 16 years, I have helped everyone from the youngest of children (my youngest adjustment was a 3 day old) to the most fragile and elderly patients (90 years). I have seen everything from the common cold, migraines, TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome, low back pain, Sciatica, herniated discs, digestive issues, thyroid problems, sporting injuries, carpal tunnel, and yes, even, “allergy” problems. A few years back, I even began advanced studies in Internal Medicine so I would have additional training in helping others.
Patient Education and Big Words Make Me Happy
One of the biggest joys I get in practicing Chiropractic is educating my patients on their condition and explaining why their symptoms are happening. I interpret medical terminology into terms and stories patients can connect with and understand what is happening in their body. One of the most common things we discuss in our office is the Subluxation.
Chiropractors (like me) Adjust Subluxations AKA Spinal Misalignments
An easy way of remembering what a Subluxation is, is to simply say, “misalignment” of one or multiple spinal bones. This misalignment of the spine can cause havoc on one’s health. Subluxations are what I, as a Chiropractor, search for. If a Subluxation is found, then I know the patient can be helped with a chiropractic spinal adjustment. Chiropractors are the only physicians that have advanced education and training to detect and rid the body of Subluxations or spinal misalignments.
As mentioned above, a Subluxation is a misalignment of the spine, but what does this mean to you? You have a system of 24 spinal bones in your body. There are seven spinal bones (7) in the neck, twelve (12) in the mid back, and five (5) in the low back. These spinal bones have a number of functions, but the 2 most important are they provide you with mobility and security.
As for mobility, this simply means that your spinal bones help give you the ability to move. The neck allows you to look right and left, the mid back allows you to bend right and left and the low back allows you to bend forward and backwards. The function of security is, what I feel, the most important function of the spine; it houses and protects the spinal cord. The spinal cord itself is very fragile and must be protected.
When you look at the spinal cord, it is nothing more than an extension of the brain, the body’s master controller and the main frame computer. Spinal nerves are extensions off the spinal cord and supply every muscle, organ, tissue, and cell in the body. Each spinal nerve exits between each of the spinal bones. It’s through this network that the brain is able to control and monitor all things that are happening in the body. For example, if you want to raise your arm above your head, your brain has to send a signal down the cord through the nerve that supplies the muscles in your arm. Then, it finally travels to the muscles in your arm and sends a signal back through the nerve and up through the cord to tell the brain, “I’m doing what you told me to do”. All of this happens within a fraction of a second. Just think how quickly it takes you to raise your hand!
A Subluxation Is Like a Traffic Accident
A simplified way of explaining Subluxations, and often one I use with my patients, is an example of me traveling to work on a daily basis. Allow me to explain. Let’s pretend my
- Home in Ozark, MO is the brain
- My office is the muscle
- The smaller roads I drive on are the nerves
- Highway 65 is the spinal cord
- All the vehicles on the road are the nerve impulses
You’ll have to play along with me on this, I know my house doesn’t tell me to go to work (my wife does), but you get the picture. If traffic is moving at a normal rate, then I can generally make it to work in a respectable time frame (about 15–20 minutes.) But, let’s say there’s an accident or road construction on either one of the side roads or on Highway 65. You understand that traffic backs up, and it would take me approximately 30 minutes or more to get to the same place. So what do the traffic accidents or areas of road construction represent? You guessed it; they are the Subluxations or misalignments of the spine.
As I mentioned above, Subluxations or spinal misalignments cause havoc on the body and this is how. Your spine can misalign whether one (1) bone or multiple bones (as in a Scoliosis) in 8 different directions or a combination there of. When this happens, it puts pressure on 4 different nerves (2 above and 2 below). It has been estimated that the pressure on a spinal nerve the equivalent of the weight of a dime can change the function of the nerve by 40%. Go ahead a place a dime on your hand to see how much it weighs. Just as in my traffic accident example, your nerve impulses get to their destination, but they are delayed…because it’s not functioning at 100%. This means your body is not working at 100%, and who among us doesn’t want their body to work a 100%?
Even though you may have Subluxations in your spine, you may not be aware of it. Often times it’s like a cavity in a tooth. For example, if you went to bed last night and had no problem, but awoke with a tooth ache that sent you to your dentist and he stated, “You have a cavity”, it doesn’t mean the cavity formed overnight. It is best to have your spine examined by us to detect and rid your body of Subluxations BEFORE they cause a bigger problem. Give us a call today at 417-887-8075 to set up your appointment or request an appointment with me, Dr. Steven Baca by clicking here.