A Pebble In Your Shoe…


I often use analogies to help explain the effects a vertebral subluxation can have on the body. By the way, a vertebral subluxation is what we upper cervical chiropractors fix and in so doing we help improve the function of the nervous system which enables our patients to heal from complicated and chronic health problems. One of my most frequently used analogies is the story about what happens when you get a pebble in your shoe.



It goes a little like this – Imagine that you’re on a 10-mile hike with your friends. After a couple of miles on the trail, you notice a little pebble has made its way into your right shoe. For the sake of this analogy let’s assume you and your friends are competitive and have agreed that the first person to complete the hike gets a free lunch at the expense of all the others on the hike. You really want that free lunch and therefore you don’t want to take the time to stop and remove the pebble, so you just keep hiking.


For the first mile or so you just kick your foot around trying to position the pebble up near your toes to minimize the rubbing. After a few more miles you notice a blister forming on your other foot as you’ve had to walk a little funny to keep the pebble in place. As the miles add up you notice that now your knees and low back are beginning to ache as well. Eventually, even your upper back and neck start to hurt because your whole body has had to adapt to the impact of that little pebble in your right shoe.


You end up coming in last even without stopping to take out the pebble because the pain slows you down. At this point, you wish you could go back in time and just take a couple of minutes to remove the pebble.



A vertebral subluxation (you can think of it as a bone in your neck just slightly out of place) has a similar, but even more devastating effect on your body and how it functions. Why? Well, the top two bones in your neck (atlas and axis, or C1 and C2) help to protect your brainstem. Your brainstem is the part of your nervous system that controls and regulates nearly all of the life-supporting and life-sustaining functions of your body.

If you have a problem at the top of your neck (and it doesn’t always mean you’ll have neck pain) and you don’t get it fixed you can expect to have major health problems down the road. Problems like migraines, fibromyalgia, digestive trouble, even auto-immune conditions. Fixing the underlying cause now is easier than suffering from chronic problems later.

Mercer Island Chiropractic, Dr. Jeff Parton