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Dynamic Chiropractic – November 21, 1990, Vol. 08, Issue 24

How to Be a Hero and Have Fun

By Lendon H. Smith, MD

You read in "DC" how to build your practice without appearing to be greedy. My practice grew because I was fairly cheerful, helpful, and gave the mother of the children I saw something to think about when they got home.

I was having fun. I was doing detective work. Lots of "Aha." "Oh, that's why!" I tried to treat the condition for which they had made the appointment, but also to discover the reason for the problem and, by suggesting some preventive measure, to preclude its recurrence, (e.g., "Secondary ear infection, eh? Stop cow's milk or change to soy. It's usually a dairy sensitivity that sludges up the eustachian tubes.") Because I went a step further -- without being a bigoted, overbearing know-it-all -- the families suggested me to their friends who had glum, monosyllabic pediatricians who seemed to give advice and therapy, only grudgingly.

You can do your patients a great service, make a few friends, learn about clinical/laboratory correlations, and spread the word about the science of chiropractic medicine.

1. Notice that your patients with any condition due to spastic muscles (hypertension, asthma, spastic colon, any backache, migraine, nocturnal muscle cramps) usually crave vinegar, usually have a high alkalinity score in the blood test [(Na+K) - (CO2+C1)], and may have been taking excess calcium to ward off osteoporosis.

2. Notice when you shake the patient's hand as you enter the examining room: Is the palm warm and moist (anxiety because he is naked and you are fully clothed)? Or cold and dry (poor circulation or low thyroid function)? Or fingers are warmer than palms (congestion and low fluid intake)?

3. As you do a workup, do pay attention to the patient's nails:

a. Dry, flaky nails and skin suggest poor digestion and absorption of proteins and minerals, especially calcium (probably low stomach acid). Is the patient getting enough vitamin A and essential fatty acids (omega-3)? If this is associated with cold, dry hands; constipation; and an a.m. axillary temperature below 97.5 degrees, at least consider hypothyroidism. Lengthwise ridges on the toenails and the thumbnails suggest low thyroid; missing outer third of the eyebrows is another clue. "Do you wear socks to bed?"

b. Thick, dry nails that break easily means a poor circulation. Are the veins on the back of the patient's hands distended when at waist level? Those veins should keep some of their distenton until the hands are moved to the nose level. If not, the patient is about a pint or so low in fluid.

c. A young person may have good-looking nails except for some white spots (mom says they appear when you tell a lie). Everyone else knows they mean low zinc levels in the body, and that is associated with poor wound healing, low resistance to infection, and slow growth. If a young person complains of pain in the splenic area after running, think of low zinc and low B6 (low B6 is associated with poor dream recall). You won't know about these things unless you ask.

d. Horizontal ridges that make the nails look like a washboard in a 15- to 40-year-old woman suggest depleted nutrients during her menses -- low iron -- B6 again.

e. Brittle nails mean iron deficiency anemia. Nails may be thin, flattened, or spoon-shaped.

f. Yellow nails can indicate problems with lymph drainage or respiratory disorder. Blue nails mean cyanosis.

Your adjustments will work better and be more "curative" if you pay some attention to the nails. You cannot adjust them, but the nails are screaming for attention. Unhealthy nails are telling you why the patient came to see you. Something's wrong.

Lendon H. Smith, M.D.
Portland, Oregon

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