In Episode 21 CLEAR-certified Dr. Alex Greaux and host Ashley Brewer venture a bit outside of the realm of scoliosis to answer the question - should I see a chiropractor?
Throughout their discussion you'll hear:
Whether you're someone living with scoliosis or not, make sure you tune in to Episode 21.
Support the show (https://clear-institute.org/get-involved/donate-to-our-scoliosis-charity/)
Do you have a question for Dr. Alex? Leave a comment below, and we'll make sure it gets to him. We may even cover your question on a future episode of Life Beyond the Curve.
Hello! Ashley Brewer here, your host for episode 21. It is always a pleasure to be joined by our co-host for today, Dr. Alex from Miami, Florida. Today's discussion is very near and dear to my heart, as we're focusing on the answer to the question, "Should I See a Chiropractor?" As someone who experienced a health transformation as a result of chiropractic, I was beyond excited to have this discussion with Dr. Alex. As always, his commitment, dedication, and passion really shines throughout the conversation. Dr. Alex from South Florida Scoliosis Center, episode 21, let's go!
You're listening to Life Beyond the Curve, a podcast brought to you by CLEAR Scoliosis Institute. Each week, we interview experts in the industry, answer your pressing questions, and empower you to take control of your scoliosis diagnosis and live life to its fullest. Enjoy the show.
Hi, Dr. Alex, thank you so much for joining me on the show today. It's always great to have you.
Thank you so much for having me, I'm excited to be here.
So our topic is one that I'm really excited about today. It falls a bit outside of the traditional realm we talk about, which is scoliosis, but today we are going to be answering the question "Should I see a chiropractor?" And I'm just going to come right out right out of the gate like that, running, and ask you Dr. Alex, should I see a chiropractor?
Yes. Podcast is done. I know that that's easy. Right? All right. So I mean, look, obviously, um, that is a really, really great question. And it's a broad question, but yes is the answer, but let's go into why yes is the answer. So, uh, you know, unfortunately like we're, chiropractors are kind of known for a couple of things, we're known for headaches, neck pain, back pain, uh, automobile accidents. Uh, that's the typical thing that when you think, when you hear somebody say about a chiropractor, that's typically what you hear. But it's so much more than that, and that's unfortunately what people don't realize. So, um, the, the back pain has kind of been niched into chiropractors where, uh, you know, most people know that, Hey, if I have neck pain or back pain, I can go to the chiropractor and they're going to help me. And a lot of people have accepted that generally. And there is significant research that shows that, right? So that's a big one as well. So the most common and the most basic understanding of chiropractic is, you ask somebody what a chiropractor does, they're either going to say they help with neck pain, back pain or automobile accidents. That's typically the response.
So I think this is really interesting, because I've been in the profession almost 12 years now, but I entered this realm as a patient and I had severe vertigo. And so I was dizzy all day, every day. It was totally interfering with my life. I could not play with my kids. I was a banker at the time, I would be sitting with a customer in front of me and I would have to go downstairs in the break room at work and lay down and close my eyes because the world was just spinning. But every week I'd go to Bible study and I would, I hate saying complain, but I would talk to my Bible study about my vertigo and my dizziness and not getting answers. And I had been to 14 specialists and not gotten answers. And every week a girl who worked at a chiropractor would be like, come see my chiropractor, come see my chiropractor. But every week I was like, I think Melissa's off her rocker because she keeps asking me to see her chiropractor. But that's because all I related chiropractic to was neck pain, back pain, and headaches. So for me, when she's like, she knows all about chiropractic and all the amazing benefits, she's like, you've got to come see my doctor. I'm sitting there going, Melissa has lost her mind. She thinks that I should go see a chiropractor. I'm dizzy. I don't have headaches.
Yeah. And that's the great thing about what we do. What usually happens is people will come to us as a last resort. They will try every single option first, even those late night TV commercials, they'll buy some product thinking maybe this will help. And then they'll come in and I sit down and I go through a history and the history of what they've been through and what they've done is three pages long, right? Yeah, of course. Yeah. But I understand, you know, "you're, you're a quack. So we're going to come to you now and try it", right? So in the end, they end up coming to us. Now here's the thing. Now, obviously, uh, there is so much more to chiropractic than neck, back pain, headaches, automobile accidents. But what people don't realize is, it is almost a chiropractic profession's fault or the medical profession's fault that they've kind of just pushed us into that corner and haven't allowed us to really, like, show the true profession that we are. And essentially we are, um, helping people with quality of life, for function improvement. So whether you have vertigo, you get response from the treatment, that's a great example. I had somebody yesterday who actually came to me because he's here because of digestive problems. And the only thing that helps him is getting adjusted. So every single patient is different, but the bottom line is, with chiropractic, what people don't realize is the brain is the master controller in the nervous system. That nervous system flows through the spinal cord, which is protected by the spinal column or the spine. And any interference on that area will start to cause pressure to those nerves. Those nerves then don't function the way they're supposed to. I explained to people like a hose, right? And it's the most easy theory and the easiest explanation.
But if a hose is open, full blast, the water flows through. You step on that hose, the water still flows through, but much slower. It's the same thing with chiropractic with certain things, there are certain muscles and organs and systems that will function at a much lesser pace just because of nervous system interference. So it's a really important key that it's not just, Hey, my neck, hey, my back, hey, my headaches, or hey, my car accident. There's a lot of posture involvement that we're a slave to these computers nowadays, and we're always stuck in these weird, awkward positions. And our posture changes directly affect our nervous system. People don't realize it, posture is the window to the nervous system.
Yeah. And what I found when I went in as a patient, I finally went in to see the chiropractor because really, because I was just more curious, I'm like, I want to know why Melissa keeps telling me to see this chiropractor. It doesn't make sense. But what they found was that my neck had completely lost its entire curve. And my atlas and my occiput were just jammed together, which is right where your vagus nerve is. And so it was throwing off the entire balance system in my body. And I was experiencing this really insane dizziness for months and months and months. And obviously I bought all in because now I've been working in the profession for over 12 years. So I think that is absolutely great. But let's talk about some of the other benefits that--
Hey, I want to know. Does, does Melissa know this story?
Yeah, Melissa knows. She, I actually ended up working with her for a very long time at the chiropractor, but I always say, I'm like, talk to your friends about chiropractic and when you do try and explain why, because she never connected the why I should go. So I thought she was crazy, but obviously I drank the Kool-Aid. So, um, let's talk a little bit, though, about some of the other benefits that people may inadvertently almost see as a result of going to a chiropractor. And I call it really living the chiropractic lifestyle because it is a wellness approach to health overall. But what are some of the other things you see happen with your patients when they start getting adjusted that maybe they didn't even know could be related to their body in that way, shape, or form?
Yeah. So initially people would come in with a specific problem and they'll tell me, "Hey, Alex, can you help me with neck or back or headaches, or I had this automobile accident". And what inevitably ends up happening is once they're under care, they start to tell me things that they didn't realize were linked to their nervous system, or they start to realize that they're starting to get improvement in things that they didn't realize they had problems with, such as they start to sleep better. Uh, their digestion is better. Their posture is better. They don't have the headaches anymore. Um, we've had women that were unable to get pregnant, and once you release that nervous system interference, they were able to get pregnant. And again, I, you know, I'm not saying that's for every single case, but the problem is when the nervous system is functioning properly, you give the body the chance to function the way it's supposed to. You know, there's a lot of different things that clear up or that start to improve or give you a better quality of life, which is really what this is about. So that whole chiropractic lifestyle that you're talking about is really a method in prevention and health, uh, health maintenance, really. It's really making sure you have a great quality of life so that you can have and use your body any way that you want. Now, again, people every day, all day suffer and they don't realize they're suffering needlessly. If they just found a good chiropractor, somebody that knew what they were doing, they could sit there and get a fabulous response from just basic care. So it's a matter of finding the right person. It's a matter of realizing you're working or your body's functioning at less than optimal. And then finding somebody who can help with that.
Yeah. I've heard so many patients over the years come in saying "I'm sleeping so much better, for the first time in years I can get a good night's sleep," or "I don't have to take my blood pressure medication anymore because I suddenly didn't need it. Like, I was taking too much because I didn't need a medication to regulate my blood pressure." And so I think it's so cool to see those types of responses happening. For people who are listening, can you just go a little bit into like the, the basic spinal anatomy for our listeners to understand, like from a structural standpoint, why taking care of your spine is so important?
Yeah, so we, we kind of went over it already, right? So the brain is inside of the skull and that brain has the connection to the rest of the body through the spinal cord. So that spine cord travels from the skull all the way down into the tailbone, really, uh, or across your waist if we want to get technical. But what, what ends up happening is that nervous system is the master controller of everything in your body. So the neck is the first spot where the brainstem comes out and the spinal cord passes through that most people have issues with, because of actions, injuries, falls, bad posture, birth trauma, repetitive traumas, just sitting on their phones, on the computers. Maybe they had a fall playing soccer, going snow skiing. Maybe they had a slip and fall, uh, in the icy areas that people live in, here where, you know, 80 degree weather when everybody else is freezing. So we don't have that issue here. But the point being is right there is the first start that most people have issues with. Then the spinal cord travels through the thoracic spine and thoracic spine then transitions to the lower back and then obviously, uh, goes into what's called the sacrum and the coccyx. But those positions in through the spine, that's a pretty long and significant length, uh, that the spinal cord and the nervous system have to pass through. The nervous system is the only system in the body that's protected by bone, right? It's encased inside of the spinal canal, uh, inside of the spinal column. So imagine how important it is that it's the only thing that's protected by bone and what people don't realize is, okay, so what causes that to change? What causes it to, uh, to affect the nervous system? Or why should I come to you?
I don't hurt. Well, that's a great question, but I guarantee you, most people listen to this are listening to this on a drive, or they're listening to it on a computer, or they sit all day at work and they're oblivious to the effects of gravity on their body, or the fact that they're sitting with one foot under their butt, or that they're slouched in staring at the computer, or that they sleep in a contortionist style position. Over time all these things add up and the spine takes a beating. You only have one spine, you've got to take care of it, the rest of your life, or you're going to end up in a really bad situation.
And I think you did a great job of explaining that. I just know that when I went to the chiropractor finally, and he showed me an x-ray of what my neck looked like, I didn't look at necks all day, so I had no idea really what I was looking at. And he was like, this is really, really bad because I didn't even fully understand that it should be curved from the side. And so when I completely lost that curve, almost had a reversal of my curve, it was just wrecking havoc on my body. And, um, I experienced all the things that you're mentioning. I slept better. My dizziness went away. I just had a better mood and attitude about life in general. So I think that's, you did a great job of explaining that. I do want to say, like on the research side, when it comes to chiropractic, obviously most people think headache, neck pain, back pain.
I just want to show this because I think this is so cool. The Journal of the American Medical Association found that 73% of back pain sufferers who received chiropractic care reported their symptoms were completely gone or much better compared to only 17% of back pain sufferers who received standard medical care. And so there's tons of research out there. We have lots of resources on our CLEAR website. I know you have resources on your clinic website as well, Dr. Alex, that supports why you should go to the chiropractor. So I'd love for you to share, like, one of maybe your favorite chiropractic testimonies with me in closing here. I just love hearing those stories of, like, you mentioned people who come in and couldn't get pregnant and suddenly got pregnant. What's one of your favorite patient stories of all times?
Well, before we get there, I want to go through a couple of things, because it's really important that we define and delineate chiropractic, right? Because, uh, you know, that I always hear this all the time. "Hey, uh, yeah, I've seen that my, I lost that curve in my neck. Uh, and I saw a physical therapist that gave me jaw exercises. And I saw a chiropractor who just, you know, used a little, little machine on me or did a drop work on me." You've got to understand that part of healthcare is finding the most qualified individuals that know how to manage that. Right? So, uh, it's real specific in that if they're really are going to say, "Hey, I'm going to fix a position in your spine." Make sure you go to somebody who take the x-rays before and after x-rays, but you want to see a change, right?
There has to be a response to your treatment, right? So, yes, it's great to get adjusted, your body functions great. But I see so many people that don't go to the proper person that gets stuck with never getting the proper treatment and getting correction, long-term correction. So it's, finding somebody who knows how to do that is really important, CLEAR is a great resource. You go to their website. These guys are trained in the most complicated spinal condition known to mankind, which is scoliosis. And if they can handle a scoliosis, they sure can handle these type of conditions. So that's, that's the one thing I wanted to say about that. Um, as far as patient testimonials, we really have a lot. And the problem is, like, there's for me personally, there's not just one that is the "Hey, this one made my day", because it really does happen a lot for us.
And the latest one, uh, is always the one that you remember the most. But, um, I had a gentleman who came into me who couldn't walk, who couldn't lift his right leg, who had everything done to him as far as diagnostic testing. Uh, it was a work-related injury. He had a really large disc herniation, which is when the actual disc ruptures, puts pressure on the spinal cord, and then cuts off all the nerve transmission down the leg. His leg had shrunk by three quarters of an inch, and he was slated for surgery. And the surgeon said, "Hey, you're really young. Why don't you try something, anything before we jump in and see what can be done?" And this gentleman is strong, man. Uh, I want to say he's in his forties, maybe even early fifties, as healthy as can be. And, uh, crying to me, with his wife, crying with me saying, "I can't do this, I'm too young. I don't want to be paralyzed." And three months later, I got a gift basket from them because they just were over the moon happy that he had no pain, that he could sleep through the night, that he had his strength back, that he was walking again, and then he was working again, when they told him he'd never be able to work again. Right? So those things happen on a regular basis. We have women that haven't been able to get pregnant, they get pregnant. We have people that have been in automobile accidents that are crying because they're dependent on medication. They come in for treatment, and now they're functioning and flourishing, and they're thriving. Uh, you know, we have patients that have ear infections, babies that have ear infections that they clear up. Uh, and when you get those kinds of cases regularly, you kind of start to get used to them, you know? And that's a good and bad thing, because you almost take what you do for granted, but you really have to respect that the human body has this intelligence in it, uh, that God made this body so intelligent that it's able to function when placed in the proper environment.
It's not just about eating right, sleeping right. Proper spinal hygiene is really important. And that's what we're here for. So, um, I wish I could give you just, you know, a list of them and video testimonials to show you, but it'll make you cry. Some of these things.
You know, working in a clinic for a couple of years, I've definitely heard many, many stories that have brought tears to my eyes. So if somebody is listening and still asking themselves, should I see a chiropractor? What do you want to leave them with?
Yeah, you know what, again, I think most people are hesitant because they're scared or they don't know anybody. Just do a little bit of research, find somebody or get a friend, if they've been to one, find one and try. Just, you lose nothing by trying. And the benefits are so amazing that you just got to do a simple search. Um, don't question it, just, there's no time like the present, right? And that's the key. Is stop wasting time. What are you waiting for? You have been put in this time, in this planet where the world is going crazy, and you realize that nobody's going to take care of you but you, jump up, go find somebody, call. Even I can help you. Right. You can call me and say, "Hey Alex, do you know anybody in this area?" I'll look, you know, it's very simple for me, you know, but find somebody that you think is reputable to get a recommendation or just go, just on a whim.
I would, I would even encourage people who are maybe struggling with an ailment that they haven't been able to find the answers to. If they're not seeing a chiropractor, to find somebody reputable and see them, because the benefits that people receive are sometimes things, they came into the office not even seeking. They didn't even know that it was a possibility of being able to help. So, thank you so much, Dr. Alex, it's always great to connect with you. And I look forward to having you again.
Thanks for having me, Ashley.
Thank you. To stay up to date on all of our latest blog articles and cutting edge information regarding scoliosis, make sure you check us out and like us on Facebook at CLEAR Scoliosis Institute. There's more to come next week!
CLEAR provides a unique and innovative way of understanding scoliosis. Sign up to receive facts and information you won’t find anywhere else.
Hi Dr Alex, Im a new practitioner in NewSmyrna Beach Florida and I have a patient diagnosed with mal de debarquement syndrom when I heard Ashley talking about her dizzy spells It made me realize a few other patients I have are undiagnosed for thier vertigo issues. Have you come across this lately in your practice and if so do you have any suggestions on how to treat?
Hi Dr. Joseph! Congratulations on joining our profession! Mal de debarquement syndrome, vertigo, and dizziness fall into similar categories. Vertigo as a diagnosis is generally given when someone has that spinning feeling on movement; mal de debarquement they usually diagnose with a history of a recent cruise or activity that mimics that constant motion experienced on a cruise. Dizziness most medical providers go to blood pressure and blood sugar as their first thought. Most of these cases will respond really well to specific upper cervical care and Epleys maneuver. Eplys is not difficult to learn and very effective and something you should add to your toolbox. I think if you apply both of these to your patients, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the results you'll get and your patients will love you! Let me know if you have any questions.