Henry Ford, Rabbits & Chiropractic

An ugly two inch long and quarter inch wide dark pink scar is slashed across my shoulder.

This is a remnant of what will most likely be the last office job I will ever have. It is, however, not the only remnant. I also have the misfortune of being one of over 2.5 million people in the Australia who suffer from chronic pain. Although I have yet to find anything that completely cures my pain, I have found only one thing that helps it.

I receive Chiropractic Care. Without it, my body falls into a dismal state or agony and numbness. I am 38 years old and in great physical shape. I am otherwise perfectly healthy. So how did I come to this?

It’s quite simple, really. The human body was not designed to do the things we ask of it in the workplace. Who hasn’t heard of repetitive stress injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and ergonomics? There’s a reason for this. Statistics say approximately one third of the workforce reularly works in pain.

The first question we must ask ourselves is why we do it? I have a theory. I was telling a friend once about these studies, which were being done on rabbits with regards to what is now being called Tendinosis, or permanently damaged tendons. Generally this is found in repetitive stress injuries because the tendon never has a chance to heal itself and so eventually heals incorrectly on a cellular level. This study confused me.

“How would you give a rabbit a repetitive stress injury?” I ask my friend. She shook her head, also stumped. Finally, I remembered some mention of rabbits being made to run on a machine. “Maybe they make the rabbits run for a really long time,” I suggested. To which my friend asked, “But wouldn’t the rabbit just stop?”

I stared at her stunned. It was so simple. Of course the rabbit would stop the moment it felt pain, so why didn’t I? I thought about this for a while until I had the answer. If you starved the rabbit or gave it electric shock, I bet the rabbit would keep running until it injured itself.

The image of a rabbit being forced to run forever, reminded me of Henry Ford. I did a quick search on the Internet an was appalled to see all the articles praising this man. Henry Ford was not just a brilliant innovator who instigated the first modern day assembly line. He was also the man who popularized the idea that employees were machines not people. The assembly lines were set to the speed of the fastest worker. If you didn’t keep up, you lost your job or more likely a limb. We’ve been running like bunnies ever since.

So what do injured tendons, Henry Ford and rabbits have to do with chiropractic care? Everything. We are facing an epidemic or monstrous proportions with regards to repetitve stress injuries and chronic pain. These injuries occur for three reasons:

  1. The aforementioned Henry Ford metality of working like a machine.
  2. Poorly set up workstations or the absence of ergonomics.
  3. Poorly structured bodies.

We work and work, trying to be as productive as possible. We’re part of the rat race, the work force, the backbone of society. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a body. We are then forced to o said work at a station or in a situation, in which our bodies are asked to bend or lean or twist in unnatural ways.

Finally, many people, for whatever reason, come into these work situations with bodies that are not functioning at their peak capacity.

My physical problems were a combination of all three of these. I couldn’t imagine telling my bosses I simply could not be as productive as they wanted, even though I have always been an overly productive person. I have never worked at an ergonomically correct workstation. And my body was definitely not funcitoning in peak condition. My injuries have all occurred in my major joints: my shoulders and my hips. All these joints come directly off the spine. Without a properly aligned spine, I had improperly aligned joints.

It is with these improperly aligned joints that I went to work, first as a waitress, then as an office worker. My misaligned body went through the rigors of the workplace, and I slowly but surely damaged all the tissue surrounding these misaligned joints.

The body is an amazing instrument. It is, however, designed to work in a very specific manner. Every miniscule part of the body is connected to something else. Just like cogs in a machine, if something is misaligned, the whole system is in danger of being damaged.

This is what happened to my body. I do have hope, though. As a misaligned body was a large factor in the damage to the body, I believe a properly aligned body will aid in the healing.

And so I continue to see a chiropractor on a regular basis. I also, try, whenever possible to work (at home, now) at an ergonomically correct workstation. And I have stopped running like a rabbit, and instead pace myself. When I feel pain, I stop. It’s as simple as that.

So, what is the answer to curing this disease of chronic pain that is running rampant through Australia’s workforce? It’s really quite simple: let go of the idea of the rat race and change the pace of the working world to one that suits the human body. Make sure every worker has an ergonomically correct workstation. And finally, provide each worker with regular chiropractic care, so that they, as well as their workstations, are properly aligned.

By Kristin Scheimer


Dr. Hooper’s Comment

Kristin is a columnist for a number of websites. I have included her article in our site as she describes a very typical scenario for many of the workers we treat.

You can’t do repetative tasks all day, every day and not expect it to have an impact on the body. We are all bunnies on the treadmill to varying degrees.

Our recurrent postures effects our spinal alignment, this causes nerve interference which then causes muscle imbalances and weakness. Joints become loaded too aggressively and deteriorate prematurely.

The body responds by dumping calcium down to stablise the malfunctioning joints. And this could be in spine (spinal decay), the shoulder (frozen shoulder) or in the foot (heel spurs).

If perform repetative tasks as a part of your work duties – then you should consider some type of regular preventative musculo-skeletal care.