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“Physicians think they are doing something for you by labeling what you have as a disease.”

                                                                                                                – Immanuel Kant

“A diagnosis and a couple of bucks gets you a cup of coffee.”  Don Harte, D.C.


The word, the diagnosis, “arthritis,” has a whole lot of emotional and cultural baggage. What do I mean? This diagnosis, this word, from the mouth of a doctor to your ears, carries a lot of weight. It means: “You’re getting old.” “Learn to live with it.” “There’s nothing anyone can do.” This word teaches you to be hopeless. Hopelessness is the worst thing to be in your head and in your heart, if you have any hope and desire to get better. If this hopelessness was based on fact, I couldn’t complain. But I will complain, because there is hope, plenty hope.

First off, arthritis is a diagnosis, which means it is an allegedly scientific guess. Scientific? It is usually just based upon your complaints. The word, “arthritis,” comes from “arth,” meaning joint, and “it is,” meaning inflammation, or swelling. Pretty much, the reason your joint or joints hurts is because of swelling. So, you tell The Doctor your knee or you hip or your back hurts, and he or she translates “hurtful, swollen joint” in English to “arthritis” in Latin. What genius! The bottom line is that this label is non-specific. So is the medical treatment, which is anti-inflammatory medication. These meds fix nothing, and they all have side effects that can become quite serious over time. Since arthritis is long-term, so is the medication. So expect side effects. And if you continue to follow the medical dictates, don’t expect to get well.

There are the auto-immune versions, rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, and Marie-Strumpul’s Disease. Here, your own immune system has gone nuts, become hyperactive, and is attacking your own tissue (in this case, your joints) as if they were foreign tissue. The medical answer is a new breed of truly crazy drugs such as Humira and Enbrel, designed to suppress the immune system. Sometimes these drugs work too well, suppressing the immune system so well that side effects include pneumonia, tuberculosis and cancer. What a deal!

What to do? Well, you can do what the rest of the sheep do, or you can think for yourself. You CAN choose rationally. Instead of cover-up, or gross, dangerous manipulation of metabolism, you can choose to correct the cause. That is what Chiropractic is all about.

Do I, as a straight chiropractor, treat arthritis? No! What I do is detect, analyze and correct interference to the normal functioning of your nervous system, allowing your body to heal and function at a higher level. What does this mean in real life? When interference to your nervous system is corrected, you will be able to get better nerve control to joints, and to the muscles that work them, and to the blood vessels that service them. For the spine, biomechanical stress will be reduced, lessening the body’s need to create what you might consider “arthritic changes,” what I consider Subluxation Degeneration. The degenerative process will slow down, perhaps stop and reverse to some degree. And, your overall metabolism will be improved. Yes, the effects your joints, too.

As to those metabolic changes, if you have any of the auto-immune versions of arthritis, it would be wise to get proper nerve control and coordination to your immune system. So, I adjust, correcting interference, and your immune system and your joints get healthier. You get healthier. It sure beats covering up symptoms with drugs that will cause serious damage in other areas.

Additionally, with Directional Non-Force Technique (DNFT) as my core chiropractic technique, I adjust extremities as necessary. What does that mean, in real life? If you have “rotator cuff,” that means, in general, that your shoulder joints are out of place, and there is vertebral subluxation in your neck, from where nerves emanate to supply the muscles of the shoulder. Same thing if you were told that you have “bone-on-bone” hip or knee. I evaluate, adjust whichever extremity joints are out of place, and restore proper nerve supply, so those joints can heal and function properly. And you can expect them to function BETTER than before they began to hurt.

So, you’ve been told you have arthritis? You can watch it get worse as your doctor tries to cover up the symptoms, and as side effects of that cover-up really damage your health. Or, you can choose actual health care, straight Chiropractic.

*Forgive the crudeness of the “B.S.” in the headline, but I feel that it is appropriate here.  

Don Harte, D.C.

Marin Straight Chiropractor

Corte Madera, CA

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