The Holistic Snowshoer: Chiropractic

“Our deepest fears are like dragons guarding our deepest treasures.” — Rilke

It’s one thing to subject your body to contortionist positions through yoga. It’s quite another thing to experience the high-velocity, titillating numbness of being ‘cracked’ by a chiropractor.

What may be viewed as a controversial form of medicine to one person might be the saving grace for someone else. Chiropractic has its detractors. There are also numerous clinical studies citing its benefits and millions of people from all walks of life who swear by it.

It’s an ever-growing form of healthcare that has firmly entrenched its standing worldwide.


Spinal manipulation can be traced to 2700 B.C. in China and 1500 B.C. in Greece. Greek physician Hippocrates, in 400 BC, published details how chiropractic eased lower back pain. He claimed that knowledge of the spine was requisite to treat disease.

Daniel David Palmer founded the chiropractic profession in the United States in 1895. He created the Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1897 utilizing his vast knowledge of anatomy and physiology. Davenport, Iowa remains the original home of one of the most prominent chiropractic colleges in the United States – renamed Palmer Chiropractic University.

Chiropractic growth exploded worldwide throughout the next century. Research strongly supported the efficacy of the realm as a practical, cost-effective, non-invasive form of care that would save millions of healthcare and disability dollars globally each year.

Chiropractic research is expected to yield additional ways to prevent and combat maladies in the future.


Chiropractic is based on the law of homeostasis – a state of physiological equilibrium within an organism produced by the proper functioning of its parts. Chiropractic is a limb of the healing arts that focuses on the integration of physiological and biomechanical elements of your body. It strives for harmonic relationships among your structural, spinal, musculoskeletal, neurological, vascular, nutritional, emotional, and environmental systems.

Controlling and monitoring the proper function of every tissue and organ is the primary responsibility of the brain and the central nervous system. A lack of health or ‘dis-ease’ is the effect of an impaired or damaged nervous system by misalignment or malfunction of your spine (Vertebral Sublaxation Complex).

The nervous system coordinates and controls your cellular, organ and tissue networks while adapting you to the challenges posed by your snowshoeing environment. Improper rest, nutrition, and exercise will interfere with the integrity of command central just as if you had dumped Gatorade on the components of your computer’s hard drive.

Chiropractic is a drug-free, non-surgical form of care that adjusts and manipulates the articulations and tissue contiguous to the spinal column to treat aberrations polluting your homeostasis. Chiropractic helps mitigate or eliminate spinal problems so that your body functions more effectively and retains optimal health.

Chiropractic stresses the notion that the cause of many diseases evolves from your body’s inability to adapt to its internal and external environments. Your body’s inherent recuperative abilities are used to regain function.

The primary mandate of the profession is natural and conservative methods of health care absent surgery or medication. Chiropractic emphasizes wellness through a comprehensive lifestyle modification plan incorporating exercise, nutrition, and wellness for attaining optimal health.


Snowshoers are not exempt from pain. Back pain, for example, is often prevalent no matter how low-impact our sport is. You do not have to be a competitive snowshoer to experience it. Micro-trauma occurs from subtle repetitive motion and the effects can be as damaging as the collisions experienced by a rugby player.

More than 55 million people seek medical attention for back pain in the United States alone each year at a cost of $80 billion dollars. Think of the global implications. Prevention is an ever-present key to your health.

Health is defined as the “state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of infirmity.” You must consider the drawbacks of treating merely the symptoms versus the underlying causes of your pain.

Athletes across the globe implement chiropractic to maintain spinal health and treat the interference affecting proper function of their nervous systems. First-time snowshoers to Olympic hopefuls can rely on this whole body form of medicine to maintain optimal health and sport performance.

Find some of the benefits below:

*Increases circulation;
*Facilitates lactic acid removal;
*Enhances oxygenation;
*Increases nutrient flow;
*Enhances flexibility;
*Increases training effectiveness;
*Reduces soreness and pain;
*Reduces recovery time;
*Reduces muscle spasms;
*Reduces adhesions;
*Facilitates relaxation;
*Enhances tissue regeneration;
*Improves athletic performance;
*Enhances your immune system;
*Improves digestive function;
*Restores overall vitality; and
*Much more.

Jamie Schofield, D.C., who researches and specializes in chiropractic for the athlete maintains that “a snowshoer can expect greater range of motion, enhanced muscle strength, improvements in one’s EMG, immunological responses, beta-endorphin levels, blood pressure levels, and efficient heart rates from regular chiropractic care.

“Asymptomatic snowshoers can expect significant results in agility, balance, kinesthetic perception, power, respiration, and speed reaction among other significant enhancements,” Schofield echoed.

What To Expect

Doctors of Chiropractic (D.C.) are the only medical practitioners trained in the spinal cord and its relationship to your cellular, organ, and tissue functions. Standard medical professionals treat symptoms and specialize in the management of fractures, tissue tears, ripped tendons, dislocations, muscle strains, and other forms of trauma afflicting the snowshoer. Medical doctors are not versed in detecting and correcting spinal nerve stress.

Your first visit will encompass a consultation, case history, physical examination, diagnostic imaging, and laboratory analysis. “The thorough spinal examination makes this branch of medicine unique,” according to Christine Burdick, D.C. “Your spine is the nexus from which an intricate network of nerves affects the function of your entire body,” Burdick said.

Your spinal column is a series of 24 movable bones (vertebrae) that surround and protect your spine from the base of your skull to the center of your hips. There are 31 pairs of nerves that extend from the brain down the spine and exit through a series of openings.

Some of the extensive terminology and procedures performed in a chiropractor’s office are outlined below:

*Adjustment — The specific application of forces used to facilitate the body’s correction of nerve interference. Spinal adjustments correct vertebral malfunctions (sublaxation) via short, precise, and painless thrusts against the spine;

*Manipulation — It is not synonymous with adjustment. It involves forceful passive movement of a joint beyond its active range of motion. It does not imply the use of precision to correct nerve interference;

*Paraspinal EMG Scanning — A painless, non-invasive procedure to measure and record electrical signals given by the muscles attached to the spinal column. Electrodes are placed on your skin and its readings chart muscle spasms and spinal imbalance;

*Thermography — This procedure measure the temperature on the surface of your skin to detect inflammation of muscles and soft tissue. A camera photographs and displays the various temperature ranges by color to pinpoint spinal nerve and muscle stress;

*Vertebral Sublaxation — Also referred to as nerve interference. It is the misalignment of one or more vertebrae in your spinal column. It causes altered nerve function throughout your body and can lead to numerous health problems. The objective is to correct it before it becomes a degenerative condition.

Signs of a proper adjustment to your body include a sensation of warmth or heat, a tingling sensation down your spine, quivering in the extremities, slight dizziness, a mild headache, sweating, and a feeling of relaxation or sleepiness. Lengthy instructions are provided for new patients with rest and ice advocated the first few hours after your initial session. It’s recommended that someone else transport you to and from the clinic the first few sessions.

The healing process takes time and treatment will typically involve the following three phases:

*Intensive care – A program incurring frequent visits to reduce or eliminate your obvious needs. This may include two to four weekly visits from one to several months depending on the degree of your trauma;

*Rehabilitative care – A program that stabilizes spinal function and promotes comprehensive healing. Muscles and soft tissue strengthen during this phase to avoid relapse. This period may require one to two weekly sessions for a few months;

*Maintenance care –This phase is implemented once maximum spinal restoration has been achieved. It’s considered a periodic wellness checkup to nix any minor interference from becoming a serious problem. This may require one to two visits monthly for the duration.

Burdick said, “Consistent visits to the chiropractor would allow you to become engaged in your health beyond the traditional approach of treating symptoms – to proactively learn the intricacies of your body is quite marvelous.”


Before you judge this realm of medicine as quackery keep in mind that the educational requirements are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions.

Four years of pre-medical undergraduate requirements only prepare the student for an even more ardent stretch of study for another four or five years. A significant portion of this time is spent in hands-on clinical training.

At least one year following graduation is spent in a clinical setting dealing with patients’ wellness needs.

The curriculum totals a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience. The coursework includes all the sciences, anatomy, physiology, psychology, nutrition, public health, and is often more intensive than their MD counterparts.

The Future

Chiropractic is here to stay.

Chiropractors benefit from cutting-edge technology. Research will open more doors for the profession. The rapidly increasing population and acceptance of this branch of medicine is in high gear. There are more patients and more specialized ways to serve them.

Insurance carriers are also taking note. Policies are being developed to include holistic treatments with chiropractic atop the list. There are also a number of wellness plans available to minimize out-of-pocket expenses. The profession has boldly changed the healthcare landscape.

Chiropractic will allow you to further explore the superhighway of nerves that impact every function within your body. It will allow you the opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle. It may enhance your snowshoeing in a combination of subtle and profound ways you never imagined.

It’s just as easy to pop a pill and treat symptoms as it is to eat junk food instead of an apple. I encourage you today to research this realm of medicine and impart the benefits to your circuitry that will only deepen your snowshoe experiences.

This unique form of medicine has a vision that is focused on the big picture…not the sum of its parts.



“Dorland’s Medical Dictionary”
“Gray’s Anatomy”
“American Chiropractic Association”
“New England Journal of Medicine”
“Palmer Chiropractic University”
‘Cascade Wellness Clinic”
“Arvada Back Pain Clinic”
“The Chiropractic Journal”
“World Chiropractic Alliance”
“Dynamic Chiropractic”
‘Spontaneous Healing” by Andrew M. Weil, M.D.
“Alternative Medicine Magazine”
“The Winter Athlete” by Steve Ilg;
“Christine M. Burdick, D.C.”
“Jamie L. Schofield, D.C.”

This entry was posted in Features, Health by Jeff Kildahl, Wellness Editor. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jeff Kildahl, Wellness Editor

Jeff Kildahl is a writer, author, wellness consultant and philanthropist advancing preventive health care by synthesizing primary source nutrition and fitness as the principal components of the practice of medicine. Kildahl is a sponsored vegan ultra-endurance athlete credentialed in bioenergetics, biomechanics, metabolic efficiency™ testing, sport nutrition, and natural medicine. He is a dynamic member of CUBE™ ~ a professional speakers group ~ empowering others to harmonize the "Keys to Living in the Song of Life." He is the wellness editor at Snowshoe Magazine, United States Snowshoe Association columnist, and contributor to health, fitness and wellness sites, blogs and publications. He is a US-based ultra-endurance athlete and philanthropist for the 100 FOR 100 Movement ~ Kildahl is the creator and president of The Wholistic Edge® ~ a visionary firm providing synergistic solutions to transcend health, performance, and potential in life and sport from the inside out via the principles of Performance Medicine™ ~