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July 17, 2011


CHIROPRACTIC HELP newsletter #23

Maintenance Chiropractic care, let's admit up front, is controversial. Chiropractic gets a lot of stick from the medical fraternity for recommending that patients with chronic conditions (the majority of our patients) return for occasional but regular care.

Having just returned to the Netherlands to do a nine-week locum for a colleague (I'm writing from the city of Dordrecht), I was immediately struck by the different psyche of Dutch patients compared with their South African counterparts.


In the Netherlands, it's an accepted medical protocol that patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and hypothyroidism come "onder controle" - under control. In effect, an occasional but specified regular examination for evaluation of their medication and general progress. It gives substance to the belief, usually ignored, that "prevention is better than a cure".


However, in the Netherlands and in South Africa and I suspect the world over, chiropractors are frequently criticised by medicine for applying the same principles. We are often accused of milking our patients. However, MAINTENANCE CHIROPRACTIC CARE is an important facet of chronic joint pain.


Repeatedly, in my first week in the Dutch clinic where I'm working, I was greeted by similar remarks when asking how patients were progressing. Their replies ran along the lines: "I'm so much better now than I've been for years. When I first came x years ago I had chronic nagging pain, but now that I come every 4 (or 6-8-10-12 weeks, depending on the condition) my neck (or back...) behaves pretty well. Just in the last week, I've felt it beginning to tighten up. It's time..." hence MAINTENANCE CHIROPRACTIC CARE.


However, that psyche does not seem to hold with my South African patients. Once they are out of pain, many choose to stop care.

Money may have something to do with it, the Netherlands being a wealthy country with only 4% unemployment. Further, a chiropractic treatment at 45 euros is a relatively smaller percentage of take-home pay that 200 hundred rand is in South Africa.


I haven't researched it, and perhaps should, but I have the perception that patients who come for their occasional, regular maintenance chiropractic care actually have less treatment in total than those who wait for the acute pain to return, requiring again a number of treatments. Financially MAINTENANCE CHIROPRACTIC CARE also makes good sense. For the patient that is!


Finally, there are two acceptable models of chiropractic care. MAINTENANCE CHIROPRACTIC CARE, mentioned above, involves an occasional regular treatment, gradually spacing the treatments out until an acceptable period is found.

In this model many patients report that occasionally they may have had some pain for a day or two after gardening, for example, but doing their exercises faithfully, the pain soon vanished.

The other is the way I practised for most of my life in South Africa. And that is to discharge the patient with a stern admonision - when the stiffness or pain returns don't wait weeks or months before returning.

It's my perception that in this second group the pain is less likely to go away of it's own accord. But that is just an unproven, unresearched opinion, and perhaps misleading.


Modern chiropractic care includes a vigorous rehab program following injury. And an exercise program that continues for life with chronic conditions.

With the best will in the world, it's my experience that many, perhaps most, patients start to neglect their exercises once the pain has gone for some months. That occasional checkup serves also to remind patients that maintenance chiropractic care includes a faithfully done set of exercises. They take, in the main, only a couple of minutes, morning and evening. About the same amount of time devoted to our teeth. I do them myself, I too am a chiropractic patient! And get a very sharp rebuke from my back when I forget, which is rarely.

At this next page from MAINTENANCE CHIROPRACTIC CARE you can view (on YouTube) some recently added exercises for frozen shoulder from our clinic. Frozen shoulder causes and Chiropractic treatment ...



Rabid Dogs in the East is a book that EVERY chiropractor should read. It documents the fearful struggle of a small band of chiropractors in Hong Kong to overcome the immense power of the medical profession in that city - what's more, despite the enormous odds, they won! Lest we forget... there are so many forgotten heroes to whom we owe so much.

It's now available for a paltry $3 as an ebook. Highly recommended reading. Lay people will find it interesting too.

Tell your chiropractor!


It's been such a pleasure to return to a cold-water fish diet in Holland. Here there is an abundance of salmon, mackerel and herring which I'm eating almost daily. It may be my imagination, but already it seems that the creaking joints that most people my age experience are waning. Whether it was the broccoli and salmon soup that I made and even "Hollandse nieuwe", the first of the new season raw herring, it's been a wonderful reunion!

Red meat is less than optimal in Holland (we are spoilt in South Africa) so it's going to be chicken and mutton stew the only red meat I enjoy over here. Still awaiting me is the plentiful mussela - something to look forward to.


Don't want to get cancer? Think phytosterols. These are the powerful chemicals in many of our foodstuffs that protect your body against the effect of harmful chemicals and virus. One not unimportant benefit is less prostate enlargement, a perennial problem for the older man. What are phytosterols ?



Strange things happen in every chiropractic office periodically. This week my lovely daughter Dr Jane Ackerman DC reports, with eyes like saucers, I suspect, that a new patient, deaf since an attack of measles as a child, experienced an "explosive sound" in her deaf ear the evening after her first chiropractic adjustment, and she can now hear! She's off to the audiologist for confirmation. We wait with interest!

The only case that I claim concerning deafness you can read in Stones in my Clog at It's available as a freebie: "Perhaps DD did it after all". Far less dramatic than Dr Ackerman's case, it was for me too an eye-opener.

It's true though. We make no claims about helping with menstral cramps, constipation, vertigo, unexplained infertility, but the impossible happens in chiropractic clinics far more frequently than we would expect. But nerve deafness from measles...? Remember that every organ in your body is controlled, in part, by its nerve supply.


It's odd how in the practice the chiropractic conditions seem to come in waves. One week it's frozen shoulders, another jaw joint migraines and facial pain... every week there are difficult chronic cases of lower back and leg pain.

But this week has seen a surge in patients with Femoral nerve conditions. Pain radiating into the groin and front of the leg. Just why ....? Who knows. FEMORAL NERVE ...

Click on Chiropractic Conditions in the navigation bar on the left for many of the conditions treated frequently at the Chiropractic Coalface.

TIP: If you are having a significant musculo-skeletal condition, and are a smoker, cut back hard for a week or two. It's always a good day to quit, it will after all probably add ten years to your life, but at least cut back. Smoking is the single biggest factor as to whether you will recover or not.

That's it from Holland for this month. Apologies about the way the numbering has suddenly gone awry right across my websites. I'm hunting for the reason...

And apologies for an absence of the promised information on Aloe Vera. The cure effected on my nasty two-month skin rash, from a brush with a poisonous plant in our jungle, in only a couple of days has been permanent. Everyone should have a plant in the garden. It grows well in a pot too. I'll get to the information this month.

Until next month then. Enjoy your summer holidays if you are reading this in the sunny north. Get your fill of sunshine, it increases your vitamin D, vital for so many facets of health, but do wear a hat. Commiserations to those in the freezing south. A very cold winter this year. But still don't stop walking regularly out of doors.

Kind regards, keep well and keep exercising and eating healthily,

Dr Barrie Lewis DC and his alter ego, Bernard Preston DC!

"I have learned throughout my life as a composer chiefly through my mistakes and pursuits of false assumptions, not by my exposure to founts of wisdom and knowledge."

Igor Stravinsky

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