Been Hitting The Gym? You Don’t Want To Miss This
There are many things in the “health” arena that will leave you scratching your head. I want you to imagine this happened to you and decide whether it would be acceptable or not.
You get a referral from a friend for a trainer at your local gym. You’ve been looking to get back in shape so you decide to stop in. You meet the trainer, we’ll call him Joe. Now Joe seems like a great guy, knows his stuff, and your personalities mesh great. Joe says we need to find a baseline for where you are today, in order to set some goals and track your improvement over the coming weeks. He decides to test 3 things:
1. Your weight
2. Body fat percentage
3. A series of strength tests.
Joe also decides he’s going to take some “before” pictures so you can both see how you look and can compare down the road. It’s decided you are 30 pounds overweight and below average on strength tests for your age.
Over the next 3 months you’re in the gym several times a week, working hard, trying to get yourself back in shape. When the time comes around to take a progress evaluation (weight, body fat, and strength tests), Joe pulls you aside and say “Things look great, you’re really progressing well, I can tell. We’re not even going to worry about re-taking the evaluation to compare. Keep up the great work and I’ll see you next week!”
Would this be acceptable to you? Are you satisfied with Joe (even though he’s a great guy and you really like him)?
I know it sure wouldn’t be for me. It doesn’t make any sense. If you’re going to use certain criteria to objectively show someone has a problem (in this case weight, body fat, and strength to show someone is out of shape), don’t you think it’s quite logical that you should use these exact same tests to show the progression? Now, if none of these are tested initially, there might be an argument. But you should never use a certain set of criteria to show a problem and then not use the EXACT same criteria to make a judgment if it’s improving or corrected. The worst case scenario is seeing no improvement, but at least you know! Maybe then you can reassess, or change your approach to something that will show better results. But again, it’s measured, so you know either way.
The same goes for chiropractic care. Have you ever been to a chiropractor who takes an initial set of of x-rays to show you how bad your spine is, and show exactly where the problem is. BUT, if they can so conclusively determine that you have a problem, and they can help you, based on those exact x-rays, wouldn’t it be reasonable that a progresses x-ray should be taken to show improvement? It simply cannot be both ways. If a certain criteria is used to show a problem, it MUST be used to show it’s improved or correctly.
So why does this happen? You may love the trainer. He’s a great guy, pushes you hard, and keeps your on task for your workouts. The reality of the situation is that it does a couple things. It lowers the bar by lowering your expectations. If there is no REAL goal to shoot for, then you can never be disappointed. Sure you’re going to feel a little better, that’s the easy part. It’s also going to remove the accountability from the trainer or chiropractor. If you get great results and are as happy as can be, then he’s the hero. If things don’t go quite so well, then he can always say you’re not working hard enough, you didn’t do this correct, etc etc. When there is no real objective or set criteria that can be measured, then what’s the point?
You cannot simply use an x-ray (0r any criteria) to determine a problem, and then use a different criteria to determine if it’s improved, such as how much better you’re feeling. You can do nearly any type of spinal manipulation and someone will feel better for a short time. Research has shown that improvements in pain levels does not mean any correction has occurred.
Think of it as a house on an unsteady foundation. You find you have continuous cracks occurring in the drywall. You call out the contractor who uses specific tools to determine your house’s foundation is no longer level, and it’s very easy for you to see. You have clearly seen the foundation is the root cause of the problem. You decide to come back after he says it’s fixed. Now, he makes no mention of the foundation at all, but takes you directly inside to show how nice the drywall has been patched up and hands you the bill. Acceptable or not? If it’s not acceptable, shouldn’t you hold your chiropractor to the same standard?
Did you enjoy this edition? If so please pass it on to others who might enjoy it as well.
Have a great day!
Dr Nathan Berner