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Can we really improve health care? I find it misleading to talk about reforming health care when we truly need to reform personal health. A government study showed 44 percent of Americans suffer from at least one chronic illness, which consumes 75 percent of the country’s health care budget.

How do we regain health when we are going broke relying on chronic care? To most folks, the term "chronic" means it is not going to get better, so we are also dealing with a negative mindset that makes health worse.

It is important that we stop looking at health insurance as an answer. Being on the preventive side of health care as a chiropractor, I know there is very little insurance coverage for services that teach people how to build up their health.

Chronic illness actually worsens because most chiropractic services that are preventive are denied by insurance companies. A routine course of chiropractic care often shows better health improvements, but the savings isn’t realized when insurance companies prematurely stop care.

An interesting RAND Corporation study of different types of health insurance policies showed people who paid more for out-of-pocket costs had better overall health savings, with no difference in health status. So, better health insurance coverage does not always mean better health.

We don’t need to be rich and famous to feel active and live vibrantly. This RAND study reminds us that health care interventions cannot overcome bad lifestyle habits. A stronger understanding of how the body works will empowers us to take better control of our health.

From the chiropractic perspective there are a great deal of noninvasive and non-drug interventions that make a lasting impact on health, including the persistent problems of chronic conditions.

Because there is a neurological component to all degenerative disease, chiropractic plays an important role in supporting the body’s immune system and healing processes. When chiropractic is approached this way, rather than as a quick fix for back pain, an improved quality of life can be experienced.

The brain and spinal cord coordinate life-sustaining messages to the rest of the body’s organs. The spine benefits from chiropractic’s periodic fine-tuning to allow these pathways to deliver the correct messages. When the nerves are stressed by inflammation and pain signals, the body’s monitoring systems become fatigued.

Additionally, autoimmune disease is seen as the body attacking itself because the nervous system can no longer differentiate between healthy parts of the body and invading germs. This becomes an overactive response that transforms into a damaging pattern.

Chiropractic care can address these types of degenerative diseases because of the physiological understanding that the spine and nervous system are interdependent, and impact the rest of the body.

So when the public is concerned that health care is overburdened with chronic illness, we don’t have to feel stuck. Chiropractic is the most popular non-drug health care approach for back pain, but we can also become better acquainted with its broader influence on our more critical health care needs.

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Dr. Lisa Ann Homic can be reached at 277-1362 or www.DrHomic.com.

 

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I'm the features editor for The Citizen and auburnpub.com, and have been here since 2006. I also cover local arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.