Whatcha Gonna Do?
As a kid I used to watch the TV show “Cops”. I’m not sure my mom wanted me watching it because it was about real everyday cops chasing down all kinds of crooks. Even if you haven’t seen the show you have probably heard the theme song by Inner Circle: “Bad Boys”. It goes: “Bad boys, bad boys, Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”. When you get any kind of injury or sickness. You could very well sing this song about your body: “Bad parts, Bad parts, Whatcha gonna do?”
When we have something wrong with our bodies, whether it be a virus, infection, strain, sprain, fracture, even dysfunction of the spine, the body has a choice of two things it can do. It can heal or it can adapt.
Healing is just what it sounds like. You take a organ, muscle or other body part and make it as good as new. Tissues regenerate. Symptoms go away. Your body returns to full strength and function. Throughout our lives we will heal from many things. Think about a child who suffers a common cold. Eventually the body will fully recover from this infection. When this child is 40 years old there will be no residual effects from that childhood illness. This is healing.
Adaptation is different from healing. Each of us has adapted to many things as well. This process does not fully restore the injured body part or system. Instead, healthy body parts will change to accommodate these injuries. It’s a double whammy. You still have a busted part plus you are changing healthy parts.
Both processes are natural but one is definitely better than the other. You’re probably not stupid so you guessed that healing is preferable. And you right (and congrats for not being stupid). Sometimes adaptation is unavoidable. For example if you lose a leg you aren’t genetically advanced enough to regrown a new one. So your body adapts to the change. Even a prosthesis will require some adaptation on your part.
The other thing you should know is that adaptation starts immediately when you have a problem and it is usually temporary. If you rebound a basketball and land on another player’s foot instead of the gym floor you might sprain your ankle. Immediately your lymphatic and circulatory systems change causing swelling which helps to immobilize the ankle. If you try to walk your nervous system makes lightening quick changes and develops a whole new walking pattern to protect your newly busted wheel. Between swelling and your new found limp, the adaptation is on!
At this point there is a choice. You can ignore the problem, fight through it, continue playing and walking around relying on the adaptation to keep you functional. The other option is to take care of the ankle resting and rehabilitating it. Which option do you think gives you the best chance of healing? Again you’re not stupid. Proper treatment of most injuries can help you avoid permanent adaptive changes from taking hold. You can put an injury behind you forever with the right treatment.
Another good reason to get care when you are injured is that sometimes adaptive changes can stick around even after the healing is done. Patterns of muscle tightness can be imbedded in your nervous system and may remain long after their usefulness has expired. Treatments such as chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and physical therapy can help to reverse these adaptive changes. Pills do not.
Chiropractic care in particular can be helpful for dealing with adaptations and compensation for just about any sickness or injury. Chiropractors deal with neurological interference in the spine that can have a big impact on your body’s function. Arms, legs, knees, etc. are only useful because they are attached to your spine which is the major structural support in the body and the only connection to the brain. For example if your arms were attached to your hair instead of your spine, they would be useless. Because of the spine’s central location and role in the body it feels the effects of any abnormal state. The chiropractic approach to these types of problems ensures that adaptations are short term and don’t end up becoming their own problems.
Skilled examination and manipulation if the spine can help you be in the very best of health. This is why millions of athletes use chiropractic. This is why the majority of people who seek treatment after motor vehicle injuries choose chiropractic care. This is why asthmatics, diabetics, and even people who seem perfectly healthy choose chiropractic care.
So whatcha gonna do? Bad parts? Bad parts? Don’t let them put you on lockdown. Healing is a choice. It’s a choice that chiropractic care can help you make.