There are 9 cervical chiropractic techniques at this point and all of them have the same objectives, but use different tools. There are techniques that focus on the top of the vertebrae and make the correction by hand. There are some that use machines to make the adjustment. But most techniques have their patients in the upright posture for xrays to see how they can line the angles to reposition the vertebrae. This is a longer lasting correction method because it is a precise alignment segment into its proper positions. From here, Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic concluded that malconfiguration is always present in the right and left, but the top and bottom part of the vertebrae fit together. Dr. Tom Forest explains how 3D xrays help them out in looking at the outer margins of this joint to make the necessary alignment.
On the podcast, we have Dr. Tom Forest. He is a Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractor out of Pleasanton, California. In my opinion, he is one of the best chiropractors you will ever come across. He has devoted his entire life to the upper cervical profession and has helped thousands of people get their lives back. It is an absolute honor to have him on the podcast. I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did.
Listen To The Episode Here:
The Miracle Of Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic with Dr. Tom Forest
Please welcome, Dr. Tom Forest. Where are you from?
I grew up in Clinton, Iowa, which is on the Mississippi River. It’s about 30 miles North of Davenport where Palmer College is and where chiropractic was discovered.
What were you into growing up as a kid? Any sports or anything?
I’ve got a lot of slivers from sitting on the bench playing football and basketball. We played baseball all year round. It’s the traditional sports. I really enjoyed them.
How did you enter the field of chiropractic? Was there anything that propelled you in that direction?
When I started in school, it was usually people who had dramatic recoveries from chiropractic or people who were in chiropractic families. My father served in India in World War II and he developed malaria and he came home6’ 3” and 130 pounds. Sadly enough, he developed what are called malarial headaches. These are almost worse than cluster migraines. He just could not get any relief. Interestingly enough, he never heard the word chiropractic. He was sent to a chiropractor who adjusted his upper neck and, lo and behold, the headaches cleared and never came back. What he did is he drove from Clinton to Davenport. He got his chiropractic degree and set up in his home town. He was fortunate enough to go to Palmer where Dr. B.J. Palmer, the son of the discoverer, was still operating the college. B.J. had a great vision for what chiropractic could do health-wise to our country. B.J. even opened up what was called Clear View Sanitarium, an institution staffed by psychologists. They took care of emotionally and mentally disturbed people using upper cervical care, and my dad got to intern there.
We were very interested in nutrition and we had to take awful-tasting vitamins when we were kids at that, and we couldn’t have Wonder Bread or Twinkies or all the things that our friends got to have. We had to have the healthy foods. In fact, my dad even would barter with farmers and he’d have them set a cow aside so they wouldn’t use any type of growth hormones or anything unnatural with that. He was a little ahead of his time. We were naturally brought up in that healthy environment. Interestingly enough, I have eight brothers and sisters. We all were brought up on the chiropractic environment, eating right and exercising and positive mental attitude, and most importantly, keep your head on straight. Two of my brothers got into the field and do the exact same work I do. My cousin and my uncle also are chiropractors. It really is a family thing. One big advantage we have that our patients don’t have is that we would fall out of trees, land on our head, go in and get our neck adjusted, and the very next day we do something stupid like that again. We keep getting it fixed instead of having layer after layer of damage to the whole thing. The end result is I really felt we were pretty super healthy people. For us, it was more of a lifestyle.
Most people, especially if you’re a young boy growing up, you’re hitting your head every day just goofing around with your friends. I didn’t get checked for the first time upper cervically. I was going to the chiropractor my entire life, but I didn’t get checked upper cervically until I was about 24.By that time, my body just completely gave out on me. B.J. was a real strong upper cervical guy. When and why did the chiropractic profession start getting away from that?
B.J. opened the first radio and TV stations west of the Mississippi. He was very interested in communication. He actually took most of that money and funneled in into his research facility. His research facility was state of the art as far as rehab. They took three-dimensional x-rays. B.J. imported the fifth x-ray unit into the United States, the first x-ray of the spine. They handle these really advanced imaging systems and neurological testing systems. B.J. really wanted to discover, does chiropractic really work or is it placebo? There is a very interesting old book that you would be interested in called Old Moves and this is an old green book, one of B.J’s that’s very hard to find. It shows Dr. Palmer making about every single kind of adjustment that you could imagine, elbow, shoulder, hips, back, everything. He borrowed and he tested as many of the techniques as he could, but it kept going back up to the neck.
They discovered when they went to the upper neck area, it seemed to have a much more full body impact as far as health is concerned physically and emotionally. Then, they came up with an interesting concept. We’d always been taught more is better, that three pills are good, nine pills are three times as good. That’s what we’ve always thought. They started looking at the fact that maybe less is better. Maybe an adjustment where you go hit your head getting into the car, an hour later knocking it back out, meaning you only got one hour repair, is not as good as somebody who actually holds her adjustment for three weeks and four weeks and five weeks. If you think about it, anything in life, if you have momentum, whether you’re writing a report and people keep interrupting you and you’re three-hour report takes five hours. When you read it again, it just doesn’t flow very well because it was interrupted all the time.
It’s the same thing with the healing process. If you can keep that brain stem area that connects the brain to the body uninterrupted, the body will take it through cycles and phases of repair. That’s actually what Dr. Palmer did in his clinic. He got the most amazing cases, hydrocephalus, epilepsy, some really serious disorders. In fact, many of them were sent down by a very famous medical clinic off in Minnesota. The gist of it is, his adjustment hold an average of 29 days. The worst of the worst can’t hold that long. How well could we do in society in general? The problem with Clear View Sanitarium where they got to double the results that were seen in medicine at that time, closed in about ten years. I was told it was just financial. Running a hospital without any state or federal reimbursement, you just can’t do it.
As B.J. got older, his son took over the college and his son felt that just teaching upper cervical was limiting the number of people that could come to the college. The end result is they started opening it up to a lot of other techniques. The end result is as the leader who has all the energy behind that upper cervical program leaves college, the momentum will die down. There is a surge taking place in upper cervical right now. They’re coming in and saying, “This makes all the sense in the world.” It doesn’t make sense of the wisdom that made the body is made so you lean over and go out of alignment at five different places. It makes more sense that there has to be an epicenter, there has to be a starting point.
If you look at it biomechanically, the weakest area which is the most vulnerable area is the upper neck. Generally, what happens is the upper neck gets injured and it heals the wrong way. Rather than you walking around your nose pointed up 40 degrees in this direction, which will totally throw your balance off, your body will tend to level the head out for balance reasons, but it creates these distortions all the way down. You not only get mechanical problems when your shoulders don’t line up and your hips don’t line up and you’re walking on the wrong part knee and the ankle, you’re also impacting the nerves that fire to the internal organs. Maybe your left adrenal glands would not produce enough adrenaline, now you find yourself tired. Your digestive enzymes are off and you find that you’re having some issues with digestion. Your brain chemistry is off a little bit. Now, you’re finding you’re having some anger issues or you’re having some communication issues. You can see anything that keeps you alive from functioning like it’s supposed to immediately or later on are going to create some problems.
It’s pretty important for people to understand the primary role of the body is survival. Your body will do everything it can to allow you to stay alive. That means deadening nerves that go down to the arm or deadening the nerves that go down to your hip and back muscles so you can at least function. That’s good, but eventually, those areas that have been dead are just not going to work. The irony is that two-thirds of the nerves of the upper neck area don’t produce pain. You walk down the street and see some crooked people and you ask them if they’re hurting, two-thirds will say, “No, I don’t have any pain at all.”One-third of them do. I always tell people the one-third are lucky because they at least know something’s wrong. I use the example of that two-thirds is like if your burglar alarm went off two days after you were robbed, it wouldn’t be of much value to you. You wouldn’t know right away something’s not functioning. That’s just the luck of the draw, which nerves were impacted. With some people, both groups are affected.
Sometimes you don’t have the dizziness or the migraine headache or the tingling down the arms, and would also have things internally that are going wrong, but you don’t even know it. This is why when people finally get under upper cervical and they clear, which means that when you actually are finally aligned up and the blood vessels and the nerves or not being crimped and the brain could tell all of those cells what to do, you’re a whole different person. You are the you, you were always supposed to be. If we could come out at the birth process all lined up and then lead a life where we’re active and physically on the go but we’re maintaining it, it’s no different than having a Rolls Royce. You could maintain that and that thing will last indefinitely because it’s that well-built. You can also have Rolls Royce that beat the daylights out of but it’s not going to last forever. The whole concept that there’s a wisdom that made the body that heals the body and the whole idea that there’s an opening at the bottom of the skull that the brainstem passes through, and if you can keep those river lined up, it’s just like a stack of donuts all lined up. We want all those holes lined up. We really want that in the neck region because that keeps that communication working as well as it can.
You went into the specifics of upper cervical chiropractic. There’s about seven, eight, nine upper cervical techniques at this point. What is Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic?
I made a short video I show to my patients when I’m analyzing the films. I talk about the fact that there are about five or six upper cervical methods. We all have the same objectives but we use different tools. Some of them focused just on the top vertebra and make the corrections by hand. Some of them use machines to make the adjustments. B.J. Palmer developed a technique, HIO or toggle-recoil, and it’s taking the patient on the upright posture, getting angles and measurements off the x-rays, and then lying them on their side and using those same angles to reposition the vertebra. Then instead of having twisting and cracking all we have in vertebra going one third the way only to be out a couple of days later, you precisely line up behind that segment, slide it into position where the patient virtually does not feel, but because of that, the correction last a lot longer because it goes all the way in place. B.J. had the largest osteologic collection in the world, the largest bone collection in the world. When you go to and you look at them, you see the right side does not look anything like the left side. That’s what Dr. Blair’s contention was that the right doesn’t match the left. Most upper cervical techniques may show how far things are on the right, how far things are on the left, and whichever side is larger must be the side that’s gone out of alignment. Dr. Blair contended there can be malformations. The bone might be bigger on one side than the other. That can throw those data off. His conclusion was the right and left don’t match but the top half and the bottom half of the joints fit together like halves of a peanut shell.
Dr. Blair’s idea was why don’t we x-ray the joints and that’s what we do. We take three-dimensional x-rays and we take special films through the sinuses so we can look at the outer margin of the joints. Believe it or not, your fingernail is about one millimeter. The average misalignment of the top vertebra ranges from one to three millimeters. You really can’t feel that through two inches of skin. You really have to know via x-ray how that vertebra goes out of position so that you can precisely vector an angle to move it back into place. That’s why those x-rays are critical. Usually, those films will last a long time unless a person has a new trauma. If a person gets a whiplash, if they do hard facemask snowboarding or something like that, they may have knocked it out of alignment in a different direction, and the old adjustment won’t work. They will have to have a new one under those circumstances. Basically, it’s a wonderful method of care. In my office, 40% is maintenance, which means people there are all fixed, they’re all body normal. Instead of talking older and acting older, they’re getting more active and going out and do more things, and then they come in to get checked once a month or occasionally once in two months just to make sure they didn’t do any damage. Instead of life controlling them, they control their life. It’s a wonderful way to live.
Before I found upper cervical chiropractic, I was basing my life around doctor’s appointments, just trying to feel good three or four times a week. It’s just no way to live. When I found Blair, it’s almost like you get put back into alignment and your body starts healing itself. You become the doctor and everything’s healing in place and you don’t have to be in the office three or four times a week once you start holding. I held one adjustment for three years and I never thought that was ever going to happen.
I had a patient who said, “I’ve been holding for eights month, you must be slipping.” We both know that there are extenuating circumstances. I had a patient and he goes, “I’m not holding my adjustment very well.” I said, “What did you do yesterday?”He said, “My wife and I played video games from 8:00AM until 10:00PM nonstop. This guy has his head in a flexed position making the neck go in the wrong direction nonstop. You can be best chiropractor in the world but you can’t undo that lifestyle. One of the jobs we really have is trying to get people to learn how to keep their head up and keep it the way it’s supposed to be. It’s not an easy task.
Dr. Forest, why as upper cervical doctors do we say we don’t treat symptoms? I feel like a lot of the patients are very heavily based on, “I have this. What can you do for this?”What are your thoughts on that?
That is something I try to bring out not in the very beginning because that’s a big paradigm shift for people. The gist of it is, the body does the repairing. I could make the best adjustment in the world on a cadaver and it wouldn’t make any difference. What that comes down to is that whether it’s a cut to be healed or some lesion to repair, whether it’s an asthma to get better from, the body does the repair. The nervous system which is this major computer that could totally regulate the human body does the repair. It just needs no interference. If you were to say to me, “Doctor, can you fix my esophageal reflux?” I would have to say, “I don’t know. I can fix your subluxations. I can put your neck back into alignment. I can give your nervous system the best chance to resolve that.”
There may be a genetic issue in there that’s not going to let it get well. There may be an allergic issue that may be in there that’s stopping it from getting well. In most of the cases, when you do clear that patient, the body gets better and better..Here’s the thing we can’t control. I don’t know if a patient is going to emotionally get tremendously better before that rotator cuff repair. As a result, I’m not specifically treating that rotator cuff, what I am doing is making sure that the nervous system is not being blocked at all so that the body can mend. The mending process is such an amazing thing. I had a patient who has an autoimmune disorder. All of her joints are swollen and painful and stiff to the point she hasn’t been able to wear her shoes for two years. She’s had to have open toe sandals with cut knuckles on both sides because the inner and outer aspects of both feet are extremely painful. I didn’t treat her feet. I put her neck back in place and she came in with the biggest grin on her face one week after starting. She said, “I can wear my shoes now.”The entire collection of shoes she has in her closet, she could wear. To the average person that doesn’t sound like a big deal. To a person who wants to be able to function normally and not have constant pain in their feet, that’s a pretty nice thing. It’s one of those cases where I honestly could not have told you whether her wrist would have gotten better before her feet got better, before her immune system got better. All I had to really do was get her head and neck lined up like they should and we just try to see how rapidly the body can take things back to normal.
Would you be able to explain retracing, what that is and what that entails?
I gave a talk on this at one of the Blair Conferences in Las Vegas about four years ago. I had colleagues from around the country send me stories of the retracing. Imagine I’m taking care of a patient and their major complaint is migraines. Most migraine sufferers get muscle tension headaches between their migraines. On our chart, it shows where it’s coming up like this, a little dip, coming up, a little dip, and come up, a little dip. I explained to the patient the first two weeks of care, they get four muscle tension headaches with one migraine. The second two weeks, they get three muscle tension headaches and a migraine. The third two weeks, they get one muscle tension and one migraine. After the fourth week, they’re not getting any headaches. They’re like, “This upper cervical care is fantastic.”
Then on the chart, it levels off a little, and then it hits another phase of repair. Here’s what you want to think about, when I make a correction, I don’t just unpinch headache nerves. I unpinch them all whether you like it or not. Let’s imagine five years ago you were out walking, stepped in a gopher hole, and you badly sprained your right knee. For three weeks, you hobbled around on that right knee and then it healed. To this day, when you bend your legs, that knee won’t bend as far as the other. What does that tell us? It never healed all the way. Does that mean we’re going to have degenerative arthritis, a torn meniscus, maybe a knee replacement down the road? Once we put that person back into alignment, many times as the major problem is under control, the body will wake up an old injury like the knee. If I don’t tell the person about this, they’ll almost think they’ve traded their headaches for a knee problem. What I point out to is imagine a clock that goes all the way around at 10:00 and stops. Now that the person’s back in place, it’s finishing up the repair. Oftentimes, what it will do is it will wake up that achiness, the soreness in the knee, just like they had it before, and maybe for a couple of days or maybe for a couple of weeks, it’s uncomfortable. When they pull out of that cycle, they notice they could do squats, they could do lunges, they can kneel in the garden, they could do all of the things they couldn’t do before.
On that chart, it says that when you go through cycles of repair and retracing, you may experience symptoms you haven’t felt for months or years. It could be and old injury. It could be an old illness. Let’s say a person has some asthma in the past or maybe a skin rash in the past, or something along those lines, doesn’t it make sense that as those nerves awaken that that tissue is going to come back to life? It says you may even experience past emotional distress. Somebody close to you passes on, but you didn’t grieve and you buried it all on the inside, which we know is not good. Now, life is going well and all of the sudden, you’re teary and you’re emotional, and you think you need Prozac. That’s a purging process. It’s a very cool process. I’ll tell you a really odd case. A colleague of mine down in Los Angeles have this patient come in. She was quite diminutive and she had a big, abusive boyfriend who one day grabbed her by the arm so hard, she woke up the next day with a black and blue imprint of his hand on her arm.
Three years later, she comes in to see my colleague and he makes an upper neck adjustment. A month in the care, she wakes up and the black and blue imprint returned. What did that guy do? He damaged these muscles. She couldn’t buckle her bra, she could hold a hairdryer. There were certain things she couldn’t do, and now that she’s back in a position, it’s starting to awaken that. I try to tell people falling off a step stool isn’t retracing. The knee pain that comes back once a week, that’s the retracing. Retracing comes once. If the tensions are coming back and you didn’t do anything to trigger it, it could very well be retracing that. Imagine you took your car into the body shop to have them replace the headlight. They redo the interior, knock all the dents out and everything else for the same charge. That’s not a bad thing, isn’t it? It’s the body going back and fixing things that it just wasn’t able to fix before.
Dr. Forest, what are some of the most amazing stories and patient cases you’ve seen in your office?
Our UPS guy had a pretty bad case of sciatica, pain and burning all the way down to the big toe. He had shrinkage of his leg. He had toe-drop where he couldn’t put his foot on the ground, and he even had a loss of urinary control. Those are all signs that a person needs back surgery. I actually insisted that he go get his back operated on. He didn’t and he healed up100%. Every time I see him, he said, “I’m glad I didn’t listen to you.”The moral behind that is there’s many times the body can repair things we don’t think it can repair. Personally, I keep a team of physicians, neurologists, orthopedists, other chiropractors if I think somebody needs another form of chiropractic help, massage therapist, physical therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, because I can’t do all those things and I don’t want to. I want to specialize in my field. As you communicate with these other therapists and physicians, and as they start to understand upper cervical, it makes all the sense in the world to them. I have to tell you my classic story. I don’t know if you ever saw the Power of Upper Cervical.
I have. I believe that’s on YouTube now.
I did have a woman start with me 30 years ago. She gets these horrible migraines. After about two months of care, they resolved and she drops out of the care. She’d come back in two years later there with migraines. She went on but was back a year later. I said to her, “Why don’t you just come in regularly? Come in once a month, come in every couple months, and then you won’t slam you or hit you so hard.” As you can imagine, what I said went in one ear and out the other because Western medicine says treat symptoms, if you don’t have something you’re healthy, and we both know that’s not true. Anyway, long story short, I walked into room three and she was crying. I had never seen this woman cry. She’s tough. I said, “What’s the problem?” She said, “A month and a half ago, I was driving at night and the headlights were so bright. I had to pull the car off the road. I was getting blinded. I went to see my ophthalmologist and he said, ‘It’s probably stress.’” She said, “Yes, I’ve been under a lot of stress so that’s all it is.”
About a week later, she was driving and the entire peripheral vision went black. She lost about one-third of her vision, and that scared her. She went back into the same ophthalmologist and he said, “Quit wasting my time. There’s nothing wrong with you.” She knew something was wrong. She went over to a very famous university over on the Peninsula and she saw neuro-ophthalmologist. These are our neurologists who specialize in the eyes. He said, “I don’t like what I see.” They sent her up to this other university, she saw a second neuro-ophthalmologist, and he evaluated her and he didn’t like it either. They put their information together and they brought her in for a consult and they said, “You have a problem. The blood vessels that feed circulation to your eyes are filled with plaque. You’re losing your vision. We think you’ll be blind in about six weeks. We want you to enroll in blind school to get use to your new life.”Imagine what this did with this woman? One doctor said, “You’re wasting my time.” The other one said, “For the rest of your life, you’ll be blind.” She said, “The moment they told me, they couldn’t do anything for me, I remembered chiropractic.” She said, “You thought I didn’t listen.” Every single cell in the body needs to be connected to the brain. She came in and we took some new x-rays on her. She was out of alignment in a completely different way. We got her adjusted. The first week, no change. The second week, no change. The third week, she was going double-vision, single, double vision, single. The fourth week, she was quite a bit better. She went back in for fourth week follow and the doctor was stunned. He didn’t know what to say. He sent her up to the other university and they tested her there. He was baffled. They finally sat down and they said, “We don’t have to say this, but there’s no plaque in your arteries.” I’ll remember this phrase until the day I die, “Blindness is no longer an option for you.”
I saw her recently and she’s doing fantastic and has not had an issue. You could think of this in two ways. You could think, “I have such a firm adjustment, when I made that correction, I knocked all that plaque out of those arteries.” You could think that once I put her back into position, the nerves that regulate the blood flow through those arteries were allowed to change that tissue, and the body was able to take a supposedly incurable problem and resolve it. When you asked whether we treat symptoms? No. I didn’t treat her eyes. I treated her subluxation, but it was nice that it helped resolve things. What you really could say chiropractic is all about is it’s something that really delivers. For most people, once they discover upper cervical and they discover Blair, they don’t want to let it go. When you finally feel that connection between the brain and the body, it just puts you on a high and it just lets you realize the wisdom that made this body to be healthy, not to be sick.
There are times where I know for a fact I’m out of alignment. Have you ever gone back into alignment by yourself without an adjustment, or do you have any patients that magically go back? I have to drive a couple of hours to see Dr. Mel every now and then to get an adjustment. I’m just curious because sometimes I’m definitely out, like I’ll have a headache and then a couple of days I’ll feel better, and then it will be out again. Have you seen it go back in or self-correct?
First of all, I probably see about five or six chiropractors a week. We have a chiropractic college close to my office and they don’t even know if they’re on alignment. You can be in total alignment and not hold that adjustment. Let’s imagine your left side of your neck was never injured, but let’s say you fell on your left face and you ripped the muscles on the back right side of your neck. Now, we have uninjured on one side and injured on the other. For descriptive purposes, let’s say that that injury is a three-inch circle in diameter and nobody ever puts you back into alignment. Now that you’re back into alignment, that three-inch area of damage is shrinking down the joints. Which means it becomes a little harder for the vertebra to go out of alignment. If you inadvertently turn over on your stomach during your sleep, if you get hit by a volleyball watching a game, if you take a tumble off your bike or something like that, the bone is going to attempt to not slip out on your undamaged side. It’s going to out on the weak side. Sometimes if it just goes straight laterally to the side, it will produce the exact same symptoms you get when you’re locked out of alignment, but because it’s not locked, the muscles can start pulling it back in place. If it actually goes out and locks, it can’t. Ironically enough the two of them feel about the same.
What we always have the patients do is we have them do the shoulder roll exercise. We have them do the yes and no exercises, but we especially have to do that neck glide. If you can get the neck gliding, oftentimes if it’s a little bit out of alignment, the first couple times you do that, it’ll do this and then eventually it will settle. You’re an ex athlete and you still exercise and so on, and that’s probably the number one thing you could do. You really have to build up the strength. Something I never liked to discuss with my patients because it’s very negative, but ligaments hold your bones together and they’re made of Type I collagen fibers, which are some of the strongest fibers in the body. If you take your finger and you try to bend that to the side, the reason it won’t go any further is because those collagen fibers wouldn’t let it. If you stretch those collagen fibers 20% to 40%, they tear and they permanently stop, and so you end up having a weakened ligament. Some people are going to have damaged ligaments from a sports injury or from a whiplash. Even when you’re going to get them back in place and you’re going to try to build up the adjacent muscles, you’re never going to be able to make that permanently damaged ligaments healthy again.
It isn’t a reason to be depressed. It’s a reason why you’re going to have to see your chiropractor regularly and make sure it stays in place, because every day it’s out of alignment. It’s just weakening that weak spot and making that larger. You’re going to want to make sure you’re using the correct ergonomics. It isn’t that difficult to hold your iPad up here versus having it on your lap. You’re going to try to make sure that the exercise programs you’re on are conducive to a healthy spine. For example, I love Yoga, but there are a lot of yoga where you try to take your head and you put it on your back, and that’s not going to keep you in alignment. What you really have to do is many times if you’re going to go to an exercise class, go and observe first time around and look to see, “Would my chiropractor want me doing this, this, this, and that?” If you’re not sure, ask the chiropractor before you engage in it. There’s nothing more demoralizing than trying to do something and make yourself stop it. You’re actually doing more damage with that. That’s part of practice.
I have a couple people that go to those workout classes with 40 people in it and it’s tough to tailor an exercise class with 40 individual people. There are definitely some things you should stay away from. What would you say to people that feel pretty good and, “Why would I need upper cervical care if I feel fine? I don’t have a lot of symptoms or anything?”
Did you know that the first cardiac symptom, 31% of the people gets a fatal heart attack? They don’t get a second one and these people are symptom-free. Now, I’m not comparing being out of alignment to having a heart attack. What I want to say is it’s called the silent killer for a reason. Many times we can have things that are deteriorating. You can have a disc that’s wearing in your back and finally when it’s paper-thin, that’s when you get your pain. Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to get that thing fixed before it degenerates? There are a lot of advantages to aging as far as wisdom and things like that. We know that the disc up to age 25 have a very healthy blood supply which brings in nutrients and takes out waste products. At age 25, those blood vessels dry out and atrophy, and the only way the body can make that exchange of waste products and nutrients is via bone movement. If our bones are moving, the disc will function correctly.
When you subluxate, the spine goes through something called coupling, which is two and sometimes three vertebra, usually bottom of the neck, middle of the back and lower back, start to lock to each other. It means those discs slowly start to wear and deteriorate because they can’t get the waste products out. One of the things we try to do via our upper neck adjustments is we try to get the spine to go through what’s called uncoupling. We try to get those bones that are actually the muscles have dried up to start moving and for the disc to start pumping again. If you could do that, you can virtually prevent degenerative disc disease, which is a wonderful thing. Sadly enough, as much as people need disc surgery periodically, oftentimes if they fuse two bones together, it forces the one underneath to have to carry double the load, and that can become a disc problem later on that affects the spine. Not having to have surgical intervention to me would be just another reason you’d want to get upper cervical care. The number one condition we see in our office is low back pain. Number two, is Sciatica. We resolve these via keeping that atlas lined up.
Dr. Forest, thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate it. You’ve dedicated your entire life to this and you’ve helped so many people. You’ve indirectly saved my life through helping Dr. Hall who helped me. I cannot thank you enough for everything you’ve done for this profession. It’s an honor to have you on.
Thank you and probably the only thing that I would like to say, what we do is very safe. We pay one-tenth the malpractice insurance a medical doctor pays. We do different things but it is a very safe method. In fact, John Hopkins came out with a study on the safety of what we do. That’s a good thing.
Upper cervical specifically or chiropractic?
Chiropractic and neck adjustments. I’m not going to be around two or three more decades, but the next thing we need to see is we need to see a person work on chiropractic in the hospitals. We need to see it in the institutions taking care of emotionally and mentally disturbed individuals. We don’t use drugs, we don’t use surgery, but we improve the performance of how the body can function. If we could drop mortality and morbidity rates in the hospitals, imagine the lives that are saved. Let’s look at it from an economic standpoint. Can you imagine the savings? Have you seen a medical bill, $250,000 for this, $70,000 for this or something like that? They tell us that Medicare is becoming bankrupt. Our health care system has just a run amok cost-wise. Chiropractic is very inexpensive. If we could, on a level playing field, have our profession represented there, it would only make our population even healthier than they are right now.
How do you think we get in there?
First thing is we need more upper cervical chiropractors. Part of it lies on our shoulders. If we can’t convince the students to convert over to these methods, were not going to have enough doctors to work in those hospitals. I know there are a lot of altruistic doctors that love to open up doors for you. We will need to get more research. I have a theory on why we don’t have enough for upper cervical chiropractors.
5% of the professionals do what we do. 95% use the standard full spinal method. If a student goes back to chiropractic college, they are probably going to do what their field doctor did. That means probably 95% of the practitioners are going to come out practicing full spine, unless we can get doctors and students into the colleges and let them realize how effective, how accurate, how efficacious and amazingly effective the technique is. We do have to increase the number of doctors that we have. Eventually, it’s going to be the public that will change this. If I can go back to something that Dr. Guy Riekeman, the President of Life University, who used the method we utilize when he was in practice, he said, “Back in the ‘70s, if you were going to have a baby, 50% of them were C-section. They will usually do an episiotomy. They will put silver nitrate in the eye just in case the mom has gonorrhea, and they would immediately take the baby away from mom and put him or her in the nursery. It was like having a tooth removed.”
Let’s fast forward to now. Many of the birthing centers are more beautiful than you’re living room and you’ll find they will have the Bradley method and Lamaze, and dad is considered an outcast if he’s not waiting or participating in this whole thing. They want bonding right away. They want breastfeeding right away. They’re doing all these natural things, which I applaud. Here’s my question, who changed that? Did the obstetrician all of a sudden wakes up say, “Let’s go this natural way.” No, the mom said. When the public finally decides, “I’ve spent all this money on this medication that hasn’t helped me, I need something else.”When they realize what that something else is, and how easy it is transition into it. It’s not a painful procedure. It will take a public in the long run who are either going to say, “I paid all of these premiums and insurance, I support these hospitals with my taxes and so on, why don’t we have a chiropractic man?”I do think it can happen in the future. How soon is up to a lot of different things.
Dr. Forest, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Thank you so much for your time.