Chiropractic philosophy states that, in order for humans to be balanced, there are three aspects of their inner and outer environment that need to be balanced: chemical, physical and mental. The triad of health (figure on the left) is often used to teach patients to be proactive about their health and to explain how imbalance in one aspect of a person’s life can and will affect the other. Unfortunately, most patients only want to fix the symptom(s) of their condition like pain, stiffness, fatigue, etc. As soon as the symptoms are gone, they tend to revert to the old habits that caused their condition in the first place. This behavior makes what could have been the end of a condition the beginning of a chronic (recurrent) one. Without understanding that what you eat and how you feel can lead to dynamic and static postural problems that may create aches and pain, our concept of health would be incomplete. A colleague of mine explains his integrational approach like this: “foods are broken down into chemicals; chemicals affect your organs; your organ affect your muscles; your muscles affect your bone position.”
That is why chiropractors have to be comprehensive and have extensive intake forms. We understand that you are connected from head to toe and from inside out. Overlooking this fact borders in malpractice. We prescribe food allergy tests and blood tests, monitor you frequently in the initial stages of treatment, suggest you start a physical activity (exercise) regimen, ask you to keep a food journal, worry about your weight and body composition, refer you to psychologists and inquire about family, friends and work when all you visited them for was low back pain.
Some patients’ behavioral patters become their safety blankets. Consider the fact that most patients refuse to change their diets. They prefer not to be tested for food sensitivities (chemical aspect of triad); keep inaccurate food journals; or do cheat on their elimination or rotational diets. This happens even after we explain that food sensitivities affect gut health (physiological/structural aspect), that they affect the bacterial flora of the intestines, may cause irritation and the secretion of antibodies from plasma cells. Flatulence, constipation and/or diarrhea might ensue. These symptoms can manifest in low back pain (structural). This embarrasses, worries and depresses them (mental aspect of the health triad). With continued assault, their intestinal wall weakens and become permeable allowing allergens get into their body. They start feeling fatigued; their concentration diminishes. Their job performance hinders. They become irritable (mental component of the triad). Before they know it, their personality becomes changes. Their relationships (mental/emotional aspects) get affected. Yet if they had to give up their favorite foods to have a stronger emotional life, they might opt to do nothing about it.
People are a product of your environment. Even before we have developed a strong immune system, we become exposed to detrimental agents like foods (full of additives, hormones, and flavorings) pushed by agricultural lobbyists in Washington. Even before we learn to walk we are exposed and copy incorrect postures from our parents and television heroes. As we are forming our sense of self-worth and discovering what our real nutritional and emotional needs are, the media bombards us with behavioral images claiming to fulfill our deepest human needs. We hardly take time off to find out who we really are, what makes us happy, and why we do things that give us temporary pleasure, but leave us empty in the long run.
The good news is that human beings are very resilient. We are well equipped to handle most situations life throws at us if we are in a state of homeostasis (balance). The goal of any good chiropractic plan is maintaining this state of balance. Chiropractors cannot guarantee that patients will never get ill or injured again in their life. What we can do is to empower them so that they recognize, avoid and fight against any stimuli that can harm their internal and external environment.
The triad of health is simple. Life is simple. Leading a healthy life is just as simple: include physical activity meets your fitness level to strengthen your muscles and blood circulation; focus on correct nutrition based on a wholesome foods while avoiding your unique sensitivities and the overuse of “popular” supplements and fad diets; add intellectual stimulation to maintain mental acuity into our old age; enrich your life with meditational activities to fight stress; and, finally, maintain healthy and loving relationships with friends and family who support you in living a healthier life. And all of these suggestions come from putting the Triad of Health in action.
Ladies and gentlemen, yes, chiropractors are crazy. We are crazy about making you the healthiest you can be.