So How Does Chiropractic Work?

So How Does Chiropractic Work?

Here’s a very simple 12-minute video that makes it visual.

Sometimes, it can be that simple…


Over the years as I’ve continued to follow alternative healing to maintain my health, I’ve been sharing what I’ve learned with my friends to provide them with just that: Alternative options to Western medicine. Sadly, as many of us have discovered over the years, Western medicine often seems to have followed the money that often comes from the misfortune of others in what has now become a major industry

The Cancer “industrial complex” is certainly one example of this business approach. In Seattle, we have the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center that employs thousands of people in its research and care facility. And I acknowledge that they have indeed helped many over the years. But I also point out that this institution brings in $1 Billion a year in donations for ongoing research, employing thousands every year. And if someone actually came up with a basic cure for cancer tomorrow, what would happen to this institution?

Alternative medicine includes traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, massage, and – of course – Chiropractic. With alternative medicine, diagnosing the source of your ailment/illness is the key. And it all has to do with balance. If you eat or drink too much of something, there will always be consequences on your body. Our Mother had been raised on the philosophy of food being medicine and maintaining balance in our diets to stay healthy. I still remember how we’d get lectured a lot about not eating too much candy because it was too ‘hot’ and to drink the many soups she would make because they were ‘cool’. Mom had never been formally educated as a woman growing up in a tiny Chinese village in the early 1900s. But I later realized how she had received a very traditional upbringing where knowledge from over the centuries was passed along to her as a child (and she passed it along to our sister when she was growing up). And as illiterate as Mom may have been in Western eyes, she was wise beyond her years as we all later learned.

It wasn’t until I left home at 17 and moved to Toronto during the ’60s and the hippie days that I began to understand and appreciate much more of what our Mother had tried to impart to us as kids. During those alternative ’60s, many of us talked about Yin and Yang and balance in life and spirituality. And one day, it suddenly dawned on me that this was actually what our Mother had been lecturing us about during our childhood. ‘Hot’ was ‘Yin’ and “Cool’ was ‘Yang.’ Then over the years, the scientific terms Acidic and Alkaline started to be associated with Yin and Yang. And suddenly, things started to make so much sense! If you drink or eat too many acidic foods, it will make you ill (conversely, too much alkaline will also throw your system off). Balance and moderation are always the key. I’ll get into that in future posts but I wanted to bring up the concept of balance as an introduction to how Chiropractic works.

In my earlier post, I talked about my first experiences with chiropractic over 30 years ago when I took my future wife in to see a chiropractor for the first time to treat her annual allergic attacks. (You can read that post by clicking HERE.)

Your spine plays a critical role in your daily health and your body’s ability to maintain balance day-in-and-day-out. While your brain is what literally runs everything, your spine is what allows your brain to communicate with your body and manage everything 24/7. Your spinal cord runs through your spine and connects to all of your vital organs and everything else in your body, relaying information constantly. Well, imagine if you fall and hurt your spine. And that intricately balanced system gets thrown off balance. You wouldn’t be getting proper signals from certain organs nor would those organs be receiving the proper signals from your brain to respond correctly. Which was how our first chiropractor explained why her allergies would keep coming back every spring. Imagine if your brain realizes that pollen is in the air so, in response, it orders certain organs to produce enough adrenaline to counteract the allergy. But if those lines of communication are disrupted because your spine is out of alignment and not relaying accurate signals, your body may not be releasing enough adrenaline to counteract your allergic response! It may sound too incredibly simple to believe but this can often be the case and most people never realize this for years. Often, a fall or an accident is long forgotten but the consequences can linger over a lifetime unless you get your spine re-aligned.

That First Chiropractic Experience

That First Chiropractic Experience

When I first met Dr. Parton a month or so ago, it only took me a few visits to realize that he was one of the truly good healers. Once in a while, you come across someone in the healing arts and realize that they have that “touch.” Not everyone has that unique gift. That intuitive ability to touch and find your trouble spots and go straight into working on them. Jeff is one of those people. And I can definitely say that I’ve already made great progress in dealing with several issues that chiropractic has been helping to heal.

Now for those of us who have been using chiropractic, it’s something we’ve certainly appreciated and used as part of our health regimen. But it’s easy to forget there are still a lot of people who have never heard of chiropractic let alone visited one. So one of the things Jeff and I discussed was the possibility of finding some time to do some blogging for him to address different topics related to alternative health in general and chiropractic in particular from a patient’s point of view. And hopefully, sharing some of my experiences might help others to feel more comfortable in trying out chiropractic.

My first experience with chiropractic was back in Toronto in the mid-’70s. My girlfriend at the time (who became my first wife and mother of my kids) ended up bedridden when Spring arrived and everything started blooming. She was sneezing and coughing and totally incapable of even getting out of bed for very long periods of time. And it turned out this had been going on since she was a child!

For some reason, a friend ended up telling us about a chiropractor she had found and how much it helped her. So with nothing to lose, I took her in for a full initial session right away. After a full set of x-rays and then an exam, he started to ask her about some history, including falls or accidents when she was younger; and she remembered a few. At that point, he walked us over to one of the x-rays and showed where this one injury was probably relevant to her allergies. He explained that there was a “pinch” at that spot which was likely causing her body to under-react to pollen which is basically how allergies are often caused. So he goes right up behind her and says, “This is the spot right here!” as he gently poked her in the corresponding spot he had pointed out on the x-ray.

My girlfriend started sneezing immediately!

The chiropractor then got her to lie down on his adjustment table and proceeded to go through a full regimen of adjustments along her spine and then her neck, with surprisingly little discomfort to her. She got up after it was done and had to adjust her balance while standing up. But she immediately noticed that she no longer felt like sneezing. And her condition stayed that way through to our next visit a few days later. Her allergies were literally eliminated in a few sessions! And I eventually joined her in getting regular adjustments from that point in our lives. And in all the time we were together, her spring allergies never came back because of scheduled adjustments to keep things aligned.

I look at it as maintenance. You take your car into the garage for scheduled maintenance; so why shouldn’t you do the same for your body? Taking care of your body may help avoid problems later. For me, a severe rear-ender on I-5 several years ago left me with whiplash, a torn shoulder, as well as hip displacement. And even though the insurance company had settled things out a few years ago, I’m finding timely maintenance helps a lot.

I’ll continue blogging about alternative health in posts to come. And hoping this will encourage more of you to check out Dr. Parton for your chiro needs. (Be sure to ask about any current special promotions they may have at this time!) And be sure to share this with your friends who might be in need of some bodywork! -Robert L.

A Pebble In Your Shoe…

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