Chiropractic has been of great benefit to me in managing some of the symptoms brought on by Parkinson’s disease. Chiropractic, like acupuncture, was once branded by western medicine as far-out, hocus-pocus quackery. Though the AMA were slow to catch on, both of these forms of health care are now acknowledged as valid and are covered by health insurance. The idea that the overall health could be affected by manipulation of the spine, joints and tissues is contrary to the drug for sysmptom model, but manipluation therapy is not new. Hippocrates used such therapy, as did the ancient Egyptians, and the Chinese as well, over 3000 years ago. I have used chiropractic care for many years and have always found it beneficial to my overall health, as well as for pain relief and healing for sciatica, and injuries and herniated disks brought about by accidents. The trick is to find a good straight Chiropractor. I was lucky enough to find Dr Burdman.
LT: I am talking with Dr Darin Burdman, a wonderful chiropractor who has helped me tremendously. Dr Burdman, you are what’s called a straight chiropractor, what does that mean?
Dr B: A straight chiropractor is essentially a chiropractor who practices pure chiropractic, who doesn’t mix it with other therapies, who doesn’t mix it with nutrition or physical therapy or other types of holistic treatments, or with medicine. It’s just hands-on chiropractic.
LT: There is something else that is very unique about you. I’ve been to other chiropractors and they have a series of adjustment that they do regardless of what your issue is. You don’t do that though, you are very specific aren’t you?
Dr B: Well it really goes to how is the person diagnosing the patient. When I evaluate a person I do the standard orthopedic tests and physical therapy tests to rule out any problems that are not my specialties, so I can get the person better faster. Then I move on to a specialized chiropractic exam where I examine the person seated, standing, and walking, and I examine the entire spine for proper mechanical process. From that I determine what is the mechanical deficiency, and make the chiropractic corrections to that deficiency. Sometimes it’s the point of pain, sometimes it’s far away from the point of pain, sometimes it’s only mechanically related to were the pain is. What I’m looking for, is for it to function properly. Then after I make that one correction I go back and check everything again, to see if maybe even the things that we’re not working the first time might start to work, with or without treating them, because the whole mechanical system is connected. What I found over the past 28 years is that the less you do, the longer the person can maintain the correction, and the faster they can improve from their condition.
LT: Chiropractic isn’t usually recommended for Parkinson’s disease but I found it very helpful. I found that it softened up my tight muscles. I had a terrible frozen shoulder when I first came to you. Do you remember a little bit about my condition and how it changed through our working together?
Dr B: As far as the tight muscles and the frozen shoulder, they do respond very nicely. Wether the cause is the Parkinson’s or not, those types of conditions will respond to chiropractic directly because what the adjustments do is help to balance the two main parts of the nervous system: the “fight or flight” and the “rest, everything is OK.” If there is a lot of physical stress or emotional stress, the “fight or flight” can take control and then most of the time there is dysfunction. When the specific mechanical dysfunction is taken care of, then the nervous system can start to go back to homeostasis. So a person might leave after an adjustment and feel like they need to rest because they’re coming back to balance or, if they are the opposite, if they have no energy, they may get adjusted and all of a sudden they will be perked up and will have tons of energy. It’s really about coming back into balance. Then there is the effect on the actual Parkinson’s itself. Back in the 1920s one of the foremost chiropractors talked about treating tremors and the benefits of chiropractic. What happened is many people received results with their tremors, they decreased. Then medicine kind of caught up, because medicine was in complete disarray around 1910-1920. It kind of caught up and then eventually they found the cause of Parkinson’s.
LT: Or what they thought was the cause.
Dr B: Yes, what they thought was the cause, and what happened is, then the chiropractic profession kind of got scared since that cause was not really related to the spine. So they said, let’s just pretend that we don’t treat it. The truth is: am I treating the cause of Parkinson’s? I don’t know. Is the person’s Parkinson’s going to go away because I gave them treatment? I don’t know, but I do know that by adjusting the person’s spine very specifically there seems to be a tremendous improvement in the symptoms, and so it seems to be of incredible benefit. It is very similar to a person who has a completely different disease, which I don’t treat, who gets radiation therapy and it wreaks havoc on the ligaments in their body. When that person gets regular chiropractic adjustments which are very specific, they just feel a lot better. Conversely, people undergoing chemotherapy don’t respond to chiropractic very well at all. In that case a fantastic adjunct is acupuncture. Acupuncture can help a person under chemo a lot, but when a person is on radiation therapy acupuncture doesn’t seem to help. So truly we are looking for what makes the quality of life better during the challenge. So it is really the same thing wether it is one chronic disease or another. MS (multiple sclerosis) is another situation where there are benefits to the muscle spasms and the changes in sensation which occur and when all these things occur the specific treatments can help.
LT: They definitely helped me and my energy level! Thank you very much Dr Burdman.
Dr B: Thank you.
Dr Darin Burdman, Burdman Chiropractic