I was reading this great chiropractic book the other day called, “Are You The Doctor, Doctor?” by Dr. Fred Barge. In the book, Dr. Barge compares the human body to the frame of a car. If the frame is damaged, would you add chemicals to the gas tank to try to fix it? Obviously not, but that’s exactly what many patients try to do on a daily basis.
The example refers to covering up your symptoms with medications (even just over-the-counter ones). His concern was that you would dull your senses and therefore be less aware that you’re even having a problem since you can’t feel it fully. He also references that taking the medication will really do no good at all, especially if you’re really dealing with a chiropractic problem (aka a structural problem).
It’s such a tough thing to explain to new patients when they are brand new to care. To them, the problem started when they woke up with a “crick” and that it’s no big deal. They take some ibuprofen and it “goes away.” Sometimes it goes away for weeks or months, but did anything really happen?
How could it possibly have been fixed?
More likely, the medication decreased some of the surrounding inflammation, possibly allowing the muscles to relax a bit. Changing the chemistry just enough to result in a physical change to the area, but it certainly did not address the misaligned vertebra.
Maybe the symptom does go away for a time, only to return months later. The pattern repeats, more medication is taken, and sometimes additional treatments are required like massage, a hot bath, etc. Again, the symptoms fade and the patient believes that their problem is fixed.
Did the real problem get addressed?
Every day, new patients walk (sometimes even crawl) into our office dealing with a problem that “came out of nowhere.” While taking their case history, it becomes obvious that the problem has been around for awhile. They’ve had a similar issue come and go for years, each time addressing their structural problem with a chemical answer.