Lecture Presentation by Reggie Gold, D.C.
Forwarded by David Steinberg, D.C.
Human Performance and Body Chemistry
The first thing to understand is that chiropractors are not back doctors. Instead, chiropractic deals with human performance; every aspect of human performance. We are concerned with how much pep and energy you have, how much healing capacity you have and also how much speed, stamina, and coordination you have. Chiropractic deals with all the things that your body has to do. For instance, how you perform, how you drive, how you make a salad, how fast you can read and how well you can remember things.
All of these things, every performance level in your human body is controlled by one thing, and one thing only; balanced chemistry in the body. When your body chemistry is in balance, then you perform well. If you try to do any task when your chemistry is out of balance, you cannot do it quite as well. How would you like to go to a dentist who has a hangover? Zoop, sorry! Somebody who has a hangover, whose chemistry is out of balance, cannot function properly. Have you ever had a hangover yourself? You probably did not function well that day. How about typing a letter accurately when you are hung over or chemically out of balance for any reason?
In order to perform any task, the first thing that your body has to do is change its chemistry appropriately. To fall asleep at night, your body has to make certain chemicals. They think melatonin has something to do with it, and now people who do not sleep well go out to the drug store and buy melatonin. Of course, your body makes melatonin. I read recently an article that said when you get older your body does not make as much melatonin; therefore, you have to supplement it. Has it ever occurred to anybody that if you do not make as much it is because you do not need as much sleep? I don’t know, but in order to get to sleep you have to make the right chemicals.
Some people say they sleep very well, thank you, as long as they stay away from coffee. “If I drink coffee, I have trouble getting to sleep.” Why? Because coffee contains chemicals and some of those chemicals interfere with your sleep chemicals and you cannot sleep well. If your chemistry is out of balance, you cannot sleep properly. Sometimes people go to the drug store and buy chemicals that make them sleep, and then of course they cannot wake up the next day without more chemicals.
Every change in function requires a change in body chemistry. Pretty soon you are going to take a lunch break (or computer break). Some of you are going to select good foods simply because you say “you are what you eat”. I have news for you. You are not what you eat. You are what your body is able to get from what you eat. In order to extract the nutrients from your food, your body has to make thousands of enzymes, coenzymes and prostaglandins. If you do not make the right chemicals half of your nutrition goes to waste.
So you go out and take vitamin pills and they too go to waste. I think that North American people have more vitamins and minerals in their urine than the rest of the world have in its diet. Still, some of these people have malnutrition because their bodies cannot make the right chemicals. For you to function perfectly you have to constantly change your chemistry.
You are reading this now making a chemical called adrenaline. You are not making a lot of it because at this time you do not need a lot. If you go out and run for the bus, there is nobody on earth fit enough to run for the bus and get there alive unless they first change their adrenaline production. As you start to run for the bus, the muscles in your legs need more fuel and more oxygen. They send messages through the nerve system to the brain, “we need more oxygen, we need more fuel”. The brain computes all the different chemical changes that are needed, sends impulses to the lungs to breathe more deeply, this brings in more oxygen, sends impulses to the heart to beat faster and deeper, sends impulses to the liver to release more glycogen which turns into glucose (the fuel for the muscles) and sends impulses to the adrenal glands to increase adrenaline production. The production is just enough to sustain all the extra activity as you run for the bus. Plus, the brain has to compute how much adrenaline you need, whether you are running uphill or on flat ground, what shoes you are wearing, what clothes you are wearing, how long ago your last meal was before you started running and how fast you want to get to the bus.
All of these computations are done without thought by the magnificent brain. It does all of this work for you and makes all the chemical adjustments necessary. If you make the perfect chemical adjustments, you can do your job. Of course, if you cannot make the right chemical adjustments, you cannot do your job quite as well. You cannot do anything quite as well if your chemistry is not balanced.
To fight off disease, you need to change your chemistry. When you take your lunch break, or computer break, or go outside for a stretch, there are people around you smoking cigarettes. You do not smoke, but you breathe in their carcinogens and their poisons. Whether you live or die depends on how well your body can adapt and make the right chemicals. If you make the right chemicals, you can adapt. You cannot overcome everything, but at least you can adapt to a certain degree. If you do not make the right chemicals in the right quantity and quality, you may not be able to fight off those carcinogens. In other words, virtually everything you do requires chemical change.
You walk outdoors on a spring day and you breathe in all the pollen from the trees and the grass and some people start to sneeze. They go near cats and dogs and they start to sneeze. They say, “It is the pollen! It is the animal dander!” It is not the pollen and it is not the animal dander. When you breathe in some form of protein, your body responds by chemical change. It produces a whole range of chemicals called histamines. If you make the right quantity and quality of histamines, you adapt easily. You don’t even know there is pollen in the air. If you cannot adapt and control your histamine production, you will make too much. It is the excess of histamine that causes the runny nose, watery eyes and the swollen membranes, coughing, sneezing and sputtering. With too much histamine, you go to the drug store and buy anti-histamine. It works. It dries up all histamine production. You stop coughing, stop sneezing and the membranes stop swelling. Of course, the unwanted effects of the runny nose stop, but you have this dried out feeling. Digestion becomes upset and diarrhea is quite common. All this results because you changed your chemistry inappropriately. To adapt perfectly to an ever-changing environment, you must constantly be changing your chemistry.
Why do you think some athletes take drugs? Do you remember Len Bias the basketball player? Maybe the greatest college basketball player of our age, but he wanted to be better. He wanted to be the best in the pros so he took speed. He changed his chemistry. He could run faster, jump higher and sustain energy longer. He was fantastic. He played the greatest game of his life and then went home and dropped dead; some of the unwanted effects of the chemicals.
If your chemistry is in perfect balance, you do well. If your chemistry is out of balance, you sometimes do very poorly. Sometimes death is the result of chemical imbalance. When your chemistry is out of balance, you cannot do anything at your best.
If you cut your hand, do you think it will heal? Yes, for most people it will. There are some people who cannot even make the right chemicals to stop the bleeding. They are called hemophiliacs. They can bleed to death from a simple cut because their chemistry is out of balance.
Have you seen someone with Parkinson’s Disease recently? A person with Parkinson’s Disease can shake so badly that they could not thread a needle to save their life. It is a circumstance in which the brain cannot make a certain chemical which it needs called dopamine. If the brain does not get enough dopamine, it cannot control fine movement. They cannot give someone with Parkinson’s Disease dopamine because nobody knows how to make it. They give them a chemical called L-Dopa, which the body converts into dopamine. That is the treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. The problem is that insufficient dopamine causes Parkinson’s, but they have to be very careful how much they give because too much causes schizophrenia, which is a sight worse than Parkinson’s. It is a very narrow line. Chemical balance is imperative.
Why do you think the police will not allow you to drive a car when you have been drinking alcohol? You have a couple of martinis and all of a sudden you are a bad driver, it has altered your reaction time, you cannot walk a straight line, you cannot talk straight, you cannot think straight, your reaction time is slowed and your judgment is impaired. Sometimes you walk into a bar and see your next-door neighbor who has had a few drinks. Mr. Nice guy, the guy who picks up your newspaper for you, mows your lawn, picks up your leaves, all of a sudden becomes offensive. He now wants to beat up everyone in sight. The guy next to him has a few drinks and he does not want to beat up anybody. He gets all lovey-dovey. That is another effect of chemical imbalance.
When your chemistry is out of balance, nothing works properly; not your digestion, not your moods and not your relationship with your kids. How many battered wives or battered children do you think there are from alcohol abuse or cocaine abuse? Chemical imbalance can turn some people into monsters. Today, if you have a chemical imbalance that causes mental depression, there is no more psychoanalysis. That failed miserably. If you go a doctor because you are suicidal, they treat it with drugs; psychopharmacology. You have emotional problems: Valium, Librium, Zoloft, Paxil, Lithium, Prozac, Effexor, Ritalin and so on and so on. There are three hundred different drugs to change your moods.
Your chemistry determines your personality, how well you get along with your kids and how fast you run. A group of Russian women got stripped of all their gold medals from the Goodwill Games. In order to win the strength events, these women cheated and took anabolic steroids, which are male hormones. Because of this hormonal change, they changed their body shapes, got these great muscles and became very strong. They won the shot-put, the discus and the javelin. Because of the drugs they also grew moustaches, their breasts shriveled up and their voices got deep. After all that, the Goodwill Games found out about it and took away all their gold medals. Now, all they have left are moustaches, shriveled breasts and deep voices. Your chemistry determines who you are and what kind of person you are.
How would you like it if your kid was trying to learn at school, but was going outside during breaks to smoke pot? If they came back into class stoned out of their mind, how much are they going to learn? How much would they remember? Memory depends upon body chemistry. Have you ever heard of Alzheimer’s Disease? Right now, at this moment, the chemical companies are out searching for the cure of Alzheimer’s. A chemical cure needed to battle a chemical cause. Virtually all diseases and impaired function comes from chemical imbalances. If your body chemistry is not balanced there is no way on God’s earth you can be your best.
Now you say, what does all of this have to do with chiropractic?
In order for you to be your best and perform well, your body has 70 trillion different cells which make chemicals. Every cell in the body makes chemicals. Now, if they make exactly the right quantity and quality of their chemicals, then you are the best that you can be. You are not the same as everybody else. We all need a different chemical balance and our chemical balance has to change every second of every day according to what we are doing. Your body chemistry is constantly changing.
In order for you to be the best that you can be, all of those cells do not make the maximum chemicals they can; but instead, they make only as much as the rest of the body needs. There is teamwork involved.
For all the cells to coordinate and make exactly what the body needs, you have a master control system. This is called the Nerve System, or Nervous System. It is the job of the Nerve System to coordinate and harmonize the interaction of the 70 trillion little chemical factories, all at the same time. In order to understand chiropractic, you have to understand the Nervous System.
First of all, when a new human being is formed, there is a little female egg cell about the size of a dot made by a fine point pencil. It is not even a perfect cell. It is missing half of its chromosomes. It meets with a male sperm cell which is even tinier, and too, is missing half of its chromosomes. When the two cells unite, we have a speck that you can barely see with the naked eye. It grows a little bit bigger and then divides into two identical cells. It then grows and divides again into 4, 8, 16, 32 …
These initial cells originally come from the same cell and are very similar. After several weeks an amazing change takes place. When this little blob of life looks something like a mulberry, some of the cells differentiate and form an organ. The first organ is not the heart and it is not the skeleton. It’s fascinating to realize that the first thing that develops in life is called the “primitive streak.” This primitive streak becomes the notochord, which becomes the brain and spinal cord. The very first organ to ever show up is the brain and spinal cord. Why?
Medical textbooks give us the answer. The brain and the spinal cord come first because they are the Master Control System. After they develop, other things can begin to happen. The spinal cord gives off branches, which begin to divide, re-divide and subdivide. The subdivisions will eventually form a network, a network so complex that some of these nerve fibers are 100 times thinner than a human hair. This complex of nerves will eventually develop an organ.
Once the nerves are in place, the body will then develop a heart. From that point on, the heart will be controlled from and run by nerves. The heartbeat, heart rate, heart speed and depth of the beat are all controlled by nerves from the brain over nerve pathways. Everything is controlled and run by the brain over the Nerve System.
Eventually the kidneys will develop, which of course is controlled by nerves. On top of the kidney is the adrenal gland, which makes the adrenaline we mentioned earlier. The amount of adrenaline production is dependent upon nerve control. If you need more, it makes more. If you need less, it makes less. The adrenal gland not only makes adrenaline, but also cortisol. The medical profession tells us that cortisone is sometimes an effective treatment for arthritis. If cortisone is an effective treatment for arthritis, do you think that some arthritis may be caused by a lack of cortisol? Maybe if you had the right amount, you would not have the disease in the first place. And the only way to have the right amount is from the control mechanism in charge.
In the throat you have a little gland called the thyroid gland. The main thing we know about this gland is that it makes a chemical called thyroxine. Its major function is to run your metabolism. If you do not make enough thyroxine, you are labeled hypothyroid. You are tired all the time, you put on weight if you simply look at food, you cannot keep a good job, have less income earning capacity because you do not have the energy to do your job, you want to sleep all the time and you do not have as much fun in life.
Then there is the other kind of person who makes too much thyroxine. This person is labeled hyperthyroid. They are so goosy that no one can stand around them. They are nervous, jittery and they cannot maintain body weight regardless of what they do. The amount of thyroxine production depends on the activity of that little thyroid gland.
Down below you have a couple of glands called the ovaries and testes. They make all kinds of chemicals. They determine your personality, your fat distribution, your hair distribution, your secondary sex characteristics, your moods and your reproductive capabilities. Like the other chemical-producing glands and billions of cells in the body, they are controlled by the brain over the Nerve System.
The Central Nervous System (brain and spinal cord) is not only the first system to be created, but the medical researchers tell us that the Central Nervous System is incapable of repair. Since the brain and spinal cord has to last you the rest of your life, it may be a good idea to take care of them.
That is all chiropractic wants to do, to take care of the brain and the spinal cord.
Nature takes care of the brain by protecting it and surrounding it with a box of bone, the cranial volt. The brain is not just a blob on top of the head. It is a blob on a stick. People do not tell you this, but you have a hole in the bottom of the skull. Of course, it is not very scientific to say that you have a hole in your head so the scientists give it a name called the foramen magnum. It is Latin for large hole. The brain extends down through this large hole. As it passes through this hole, its name changes to the spinal cord. It is an extension of the brain, but the spinal cord and brain are the same organ.
Nature also takes care of the spinal cord by surrounding it with a tube of bone. This bony tube contains and protects the spinal cord and all of its branches. If this spinal tube was stiff and rigid you would not be able to bend, twist or turn. As a result, Mother Nature has cut this tubular bone into 24 movable segments called vertebrae, which allows you to move. There is a little hole between each pair of bones exactly the right shape and size for the structures to pass through it.
We take so much for granted. Do you ever stop and think how beautifully your fingers fit onto your hand? They would not fit the next person. They are custom made for you, and they would not even fit your other hand! Your eyeballs are exactly the right shape and size to fit your eye sockets. If that was not the case, every time you looked down you would lose something. It fits. Everything fits.
The bones in the spine are irregular, and no two are alike. Even in the same person, no two are alike. They are not symmetrical, but regardless of how deviant they are in shape and size, they are exactly the right shape and size to fit together perfectly so the opening between them is exactly the right shape and size to protect the nerves. That is the perfection of the body’s design. The bones protect the nerves and the nerves coordinate the function.
The vertebral bones in your spine are supposed to move and bend, depending on what position you are in. In order for them to properly move, each vertebra has a handle on both sides for the attachment of muscles. It is the job of the body’s muscles to constantly move the vertebra into the perfect position so that you can move, bend, twist, turn and swoop. It is done in a way where each movement still protects the nerve that exits at that level.
Trouble occurs when you have a vertebral subluxation. A ‘vertebral subluxation’ is a term used to describe a vertebra that has lost its normal position. As a result, it is stuck out of alignment. When this circumstance occurs, the body’s control over the movement of the vertebra is interfered with and the bones cannot move as perfectly as they should. The subluxation can be so tiny that you barely see it, but irritation and/or damage occur to the spinal cord inside the bone.
Remember, the spinal cord is part of the brain, and a vertebral subluxation interferes with the function of the brain and the spinal cord to communicate all of the messages. As a result of the vertebral subluxation, the nerve control is less than perfect which means some of the cells begin to make too much or too little of their chemical. Now we have a chemical imbalance. Performance drops, we cannot think quite as clearly, we cannot remember quite as well, our mood suffers, we lack energy, we lack speed, stamina, coordination and ability to fight off disease.
If you have a vertebral subluxation, nothing in your life works as well as it should. It interferes with your income earning capacity, how well you can chop a salad, how quickly you can think, how much you can remember and how well your kids do in school. If you have a vertebral subluxation nothing works perfectly. That is why we have chiropractic.
The purpose of chiropractic is simple, to give back to the body what is called an adjustment. The adjustment is a specific movement to an individual vertebra that is subluxated. A little leverage is placed upon the vertebra so it once again can gain control, move properly and not interfere with the nerve. The body, vertebra and nerve will also “adjust” to the new position.
With an adjustment, the pressure, irritation or damage to the Nerve System begins to be eradicated. This will allow the brain and spinal cord to once again control the glands and the chemical producing cells, so that each one functions as a team, to make only as much as the rest of the body needs. With each cell under control again, we have balanced chemistry and increased performance.
Performance depends upon the body’s ability to balance its chemistry. When it cannot do this because of a vertebral subluxation, chiropractic comes along and gives back to the body the ability to control its vertebra, to rebalance, to adjust its chemistry and perform better.
Health vs. Symptoms
There are two other things we need to know about vertebral subluxations. The first is that vertebral subluxation for the most part have no symptoms. I wish that every time you had a subluxation it would hurt like heck. At least you would know to go to the chiropractor. I wish you had a big red light in the middle of your forehead and every time you got a subluxation it would light up. Flash! Tilt! You would look in the mirror and say, “Oh, my God, I have a subluxation. I should go to the chiropractor.”
There is no red light and most of the time it does not hurt. Sure, sometimes you bend down to tie your shoe and you cannot get back up. You probably have a vertebral subluxation. But if you bend down to tie your shoe and stand up and feel terrific it does not mean you do not have a vertebral subluxation.
Look, I am a chiropractor and I have a secret. I am a darn good chiropractor and have been for many years, but I do not know at this moment if I have a vertebral subluxation or not. Yeah, I feel terrific, but the only way I know if I have a subluxation is to go to another chiropractor and have my spine checked. That is the only way to find a vertebral subluxation. That is why I get checked on a regular basis, not just when I’m hurt, sick or in pain.
Do what I do, get your spine checked every week. Every single week I go to my chiropractor regardless of how I feel so they can check my spine for vertebral subluxations. Whether I feel sick or well is irrelevant simply because most subluxations have no symptoms. If I do have a subluxation, then very gently, my chiropractor makes an adjustment. They create a situation where my body can run properly again. That is what chiropractic is all about. This IS the purpose of chiropractic.
I talk to people about bringing their kids to the chiropractor and they say, “What for? The kids are not sick.” Do you want to wait until they are? That is like the fellow who falls off the top story of the Empire State Building, and as he passes every window on the way down says, “Hey, I feel great so far.” So far, but when you hit the bottom and go “splat”, it is too late!
Do you get termites? Termites are not like cockroaches. When cockroaches come into your house you know they are there. You turn on the light and you see them scamper into the corner. You then kill one and 200 others come to the funeral. Termites are not like that. The termites get into the beams under the house where they chew, eat and live. They are tiny little guys. They cannot eat a great deal, but they raise families and live there. There are hundreds of them, and then they invite their friends and neighbors over until there are thousands of them. Then there are wild parties, and you know what happens at wild parties, some of them get pregnant. Now there are hundreds of thousands of termites.
All of your beams become riddled with termites and someone mentions to you about bringing in an exterminator. You say, “What for? Exterminators are expensive. Besides, my house is immaculate. It is clean and beautiful.” Year after year you do nothing and then one day you are walking across the kitchen floor and the whole house collapses. “Ooh, I better get an exterminator in here.” It is too late to get an exterminator. The house is now destroyed.
Vertebral subluxation is like those termites. It eats away at the foundation of life, most of the time without any symptoms; and then one day, all of a sudden, the structure collapses. When you get home,
look in your local newspaper. In the obituary section, if not today, then tomorrow, you are going to find somebody who never had a sick day in their life who all of a sudden dropped dead of a heart attack at age 47. Next to their name will be a person who had an aneurysm, then one who had a stroke.
Most people who wake up in the hospital with terminal cancer felt great a month, week and even sometimes the day before. Vertebral subluxations eat away at the foundation of life, most of the time without any presenting symptoms. Do not wait until disaster strikes before you get subluxations corrected.
The purpose of chiropractic is to keep you subluxation free … or as subluxation free as possible. Remember, vertebral subluxation not only interferes with your health potential, but every other potential in your life. If you are walking around with subluxations, you cannot do anything as well. You cannot sleep as well and you cannot be as well nourished. Subluxations interfere with your income capacity, your moods, your sex life, your study habits, your memory, how well you drive a car, how well you play golf and how well you lift weights. You cannot do anything at your best if your chemistry is out of balance.
Cause of Vertebral Subluxation
There are only two other questions: Who has subluxations? and What causes subluxations? Almost everybody has vertebral subluxations. Certainly, falls and accidents cause subluxations, but there is much more to it than that. Things we do at work, our posture, and the mail carrier who carries their satchel over one shoulder all day. I have noticed that dentists and hairdressers have the same subluxations in the lower neck and upper back from bending and twisting in a certain way. Some people get their subluxations from sleeping in a twisted position. You fight these foam rubber pillows all night and then half way through the night your neck muscles get tired, but the foam does not and it pushes your neck causing a subluxation.
Everybody knows how to lift, right? You keep your back straight and you bend your knees using the long, strong muscles of the legs. Did you ever try to lift a baby out of a crib like this? You cannot do it, so you twist and distort yourself. This is how you get a vertebral subluxation. How about taking a package out of the trunk of your car? These are the little things that cause vertebral subluxations. Think about the things that you have done just this week that may have caused a subluxation.
Let’s look at the day in the life of a one-year-old. A little kid at age one learning to stand, walk and run. Do they ever trip over their own feet? Like fifty times a day, falling into chairs, tables and down the stairs. Let’s try a two-year-old. They get up in the morning and the first thing they do is fall out of bed. Bam! Subluxation. Then they get back into bed and kick their sibling out of bed. They go down to breakfast, one step at a time on their rear ends down the stairs, boom, boom, boom. That is great for their spine. Then they go out and play, roll down the hill, fight, wrestle, fall off their skateboard, tricycle, bike, out of the tree. Not subluxated yet? Before they sit down for lunch, they dive into the sofa head first a few times. Every two-year-old does this. Were you ever two?
That is when you get your first subluxation. When you are first born, one or two years old. Every child needs to have their spine checked on a regular basis for subluxations. That is what chiropractic is. To check the spine of all these people. Infants, children, adults and the elderly. Everybody. What was the cause of your subluxations? Pick your own cause, everyone does different things, and if you do not get your subluxations corrected, they are going to stay there. Every subluxation that stays causes interference with your ability to be your best. That is why we have chiropractic, because there is no way on God’s Earth you can ever be your best if you are walking around with a vertebral subluxation.