352-245-6169 mdthomasdc@gmail.com

Michael D. Thomas, D.C.

In Florida law, chiropractors are primary care, portal of entry physicians. Its a mouth full!  What it means is that you can come and see us directly by making an appointment  You don’t have to see your medical doctor (who is also primary care, portal of entry) to get a referral  Florida law places medical doctors, chiropractors, and acupuncturists on equal footing in this respect 

Yesterday, one of my patients told me that she put me down as her primary physician on a form she filled out. I have had people call me up and tell me they have broken their arm  They wanted to check with me before heading anywhere else  I don’t set fractured arms or make casts, so I did, of course, send them on to a more appropriate setting  No one does everything in this specialized world, but a real relationship of trust and confidence trumps technology and the rushed and all too often impersonal nature of most medical visits 

In our office, I think there are two critical factors that create the care you receive  One is that we really do care about you as people, and often friends  I have been in the same office for seventeen years now and I have watched little kids grow up and have kids themselves!  I have cared for people as they aged and grew old too  The relationships we share are as important to me as they are to you  It means we move a bit slower and perhaps make a bit less money, but as important as money is, it is not the most important part of life  On my website, we refer to our office as an oasis of peace in a challenging world  Each day we strive to make that true for those of you who find yourselves coming in the door  And as life continues to shift and change, certainly becoming more challenging, the peace of the office feels ever more important.

The second critical factor in our office is the care itself  Orthogonally based, upper cervical chiropractic (what you know as NUCCA care) offers the most powerful way I have yet found to remove interference to the nervous system and allow Life to unfold as it is meant to  I became increasingly unhappy with medicine back in the days I worked at the bedside as a critical care nurse  If there is however, a place that medicine shines, it is in emergency situations  When the symptoms of the problem are overwhelming and life threatening, there is no better place to be than in a place where these symptoms can be controlled and reduced  If symptoms are going to kill you, then it is time to stifle them!  This can give your body the time it needs to restore itself  This is the great problem I have with medicine and the whole medical paradigm (way of seeing the world)  Medicine sees healthcare as a war  Drugs are weapons designed to force the body to move in a specific direction  Most drugs are toxic agents that shut down specific metabolic pathways  Killing the messenger is not the same thing as being healthy  Being numb is not the same thing as vitality  Your blood pressure is normal on medication but at what ultimate cost to your body?  Your cholesterol can be made to reduce to a low level but at what ultimate cost to your brain and muscles? 

Our brains are made to respond to the greatest perceived threat we are aware of  Medicine can be used to make the acute symptom lessen in a short time  People certainly like this part  To maintain this relief, the medicine must be taken repeatedly, usually multiple times every day and in problems that have become chronic, this can mean for the rest of your life  Every day, you have to take pharmacological agents that interfere with the normal functioning of your body (yes, symptoms are a normal part of function- not one you enjoy, certainly) in order to maintain the relief from the symptom that will return if you stop the drug  For some problems, this is the best we can do  For many others, it is a sad shadow of what real healthcare can be 

There are a couple of ideas that medicine is bound up within that cause them to see healthcare the way they do  The first one is the idea that stopping the symptom has no other consequences  Our bodies are incredibly complex systems  The math (for example) that we have grown up with dealt with simple systems  This means that if you have an equation, -for example: x+2=y, y will always be 2 more than x no matter what value you give to x  This is how simple systems work  It was only in the 1960s (See Mandelbrot if you are interested) that we began to be able to use math to describe more complex systems  I wont dive into this topic because it has great depth and breadth, but what we found was that this assurance we had about what goes in being proportional to what comes out was dashed on the rocks of reality  This became known as The Butterfly Effect  The metaphor being that a butterfly fluttering its wings in in the Amazon could alter wind currents a tiny amount and that could feed into other factors in the vast and complex system that the weather on this planet encompasses, ultimately creating a hurricane in Japan  We refer to this disproportional process in medicine as side effects 

We have moved very quickly in the past century  The scientific method has opened up vast new arenas for us to participate in  Knowledge has opened up so fast that we haven’t been able to completely understand the effects of our actions  Just one example would be the use of antibiotics  Antibiotics changed the face of medicine in the Second World War  We found a way to go to war with bacteria and win  Infections that had often been overwhelming before were now treatable  It is only now, decades later that we see the insidious harm that is coming from our actions  The overwhelming majority of antibiotics now go into livestock which is then passed on to the environment in feces and directly to us in their meat  In addition, people have often demanded antibiotics from their physicians for problems not requiring them  Because doctors gave in to these demands (why else go to the doctor?) we now have a huge problem with resistant micro-organisms  Many people know about MRSA (methicillin resistant staph aureus) which grew first in hospitals and now is spreading into our communities  These new super-bugs are the direct result of over-use of antibiotics  These bacteria grow resistant precisely because of the success of the war strategy  Most of the organisms are killed by the antibiotics at first  It is the ones that are left that cause us to have this new calamity  The bugs that are left are resistant to the antibiotic and they have a clear playing field to grow and reproduce  All the other bugs are gone and there is no competition  After generations of killing off the weak and susceptible bacteria we are now left with mutant bugs that laugh at the antibiotics    It will be no laughing matter however when epidemics of antibiotic resistant bugs careen through our society and we may not be so far away from that now  The effect of these antibiotics in our environment is a whole other matter 

Remember, when you take a pill, you only use 5 % or less of it for the reason you took it  The rest of it exits from your system in your urine and feces  Down the toilet and back out into the environment it goes  The aquifer below your feet (where you get all of your drinking water) has admittedly low levels of drugs (all of them “from Viagra to birth control pills, heart medications to chemotherapy drugs!) but at levels that seem to be biologically active already  This means they can begin to affect us as we drink the water we need to live  I am just getting started but it is already too depressing to go on 

Medicine should not be a war   Science has come to be used in a mostly reductive fashion  This means we use the scientific method to break whole systems down into tiny chunks that can be better understood  The implication is that if you understand all the tiny chunks, you understand the whole too  This is not and never has been true  Complex systems (human beings, the weather, plants,¦basically every natural entity) are more than the sum of their parts  You can take a car and separate all the pieces on the floor  You can then put them all back together again and the car will start if you did your job correctly  You cant do that to Life  Life is an expression that occurs in wholeness  The wholeness doesn’t stop at the boundaries of our skin either  We are intimately interwoven into the fabric of our world  We are a part of it  We cant reject some parts and embrace others  We are comprised of all the parts: the air that rushes into and out of our lungs many times each minute, the plants that we grow and eat, the people we live our lives with; and today that means almost seven billion of us  The meanings of our lives directly affect us  So many people hating their job, feeling a bit more deadened inside each day?  The media that we feel compelled to stare at and listen to  I hope this doesn’t reflect your life, but there are many I listen to who speak this way.

Obviously I could go on and on but the point here is that we face tremendous challenges in our lives  More than ever we must find ways to increase our resilience, our vitality  More than ever it is important to recognize that there is a power of life inside us  It doesn’t need to be suppressed (the great majority of the time)  It needs to be released!  Frankly, the medicine of our day is primarily suppressive and does not value the power of life  In fact, this power of life is devalued to the point that it is called the placebo effect  This is the scientific name for that irritating ability of some people to heal even when they haven’t taken any of the pharmaceutical nostrums  Sometimes we get better just because we believe we will get better 

In chiropractic we say that the power that made us heals us  Our profession has had a difficult and unfocused history  There are more than two hundred different techniques operating under the rubric of chiropractic  In some way this is our strength because there have been so many different ways to look at what is going on and how to make meaningful change  People have been free for many decades to explore the relationships between our structure and our functionality  The battle between those who want to turn off symptoms and those who want to remove interference to the power of life has been and still is being actively fought within the chiropractic profession  As usual in these times, those who want to remove interference to the power of life are in the minority  Upper cervical chiropractic is firmly in this camp  Many would say it IS our camp 

It is immeasurably easier to stay in the therapeutic camp  Everyone likes pain to go away  It is the interrelationship of all of our parts though that can make the goal posts move  An aspirin for a headache taken once in a great while will probably work to relieve the headache and do no other harm  It will decrease platelet aggregation for a few hours and that can be a good thing  Taken by the handful, frequently over a long time and you find 40,000 people who die every year in the US from gastrointestinal bleeding secondary to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory use  Its not that it wont take the headache away but at what ultimate cost?  Now, obviously not everyone who takes aspirins on a routine basis die from GI bleeding  This is the problem  Our brains tend to stay focused on the acute issues around us  Chronic problems tend to fade into the background  Its how we are made  We cant worry about everything although some of us try! 

The upper cervical adjustment will take away pains too  Often those who come in for care find that their headaches resolve   Their dizziness fades  Their balance improves  They can take a deep breath again  Their gut begins to digest food properly again  Their low back pain and sciatica fade away  These acute reasons are why people come in to see us  After twenty years of watching the effect of this care on thousands of people, I believe that it offers more than just relief from pains  It is truly primary care  By that I mean that we seem to be able to tune the autonomic nervous system in some profound ways  Decades of clinical results have shown us that we can restore postural alignment with gravity  This levels out pelvises and untwists spines  The NUCCA work is the only technique in chiropractic that has shown the ability to restore normal blood pressure in people who couldn’t get there even on two different medications  New studies are suggesting that a corrective NUCCA adjustment at the junction between the neck and head can greatly improve blood-flow through the brain  If further studies validate this, it will be of great impact 

Doctors who practice upper cervical work have long known more than they could prove  This sounds facile until you have had the experience for yourself  As with most things that are not even imagined by the great majority of people in our society, this works progresses one patient at a time and has for several decades now  Pain often brings people to us  It is the clarity of mind and ease of body that makes people return to maintain the health they have recovered  I am confident that our research will finally open the door and allow us to reach to suffering people of the world who desperately need this work and don’t even know it exists 

For those of you who understand the effect of the adjustment in your own lives, you may have come to see it as one of my patients who told me it is her flu shot  I told her I hoped it was a lot more effective than the flu shot!  You may remember a recent blog in which I discussed the ineffectiveness of the flu shot  According to a Cochoran meta-study, the effectiveness rate is about one percent!  After decades of frustration and inability to publish our work, we are now finding great success  We are just at the beginning of this road, but we are definitely on our way  What is self-evident to the person receiving a corrective adjustment will soon be communicated in a form that the world will be able to read  That’s when it will get interesting!