Just a Bump

In the office, I often use an instrument called an Activator to make adjustments to the spine. This instrument – cold and steel – can look menacing to a child, even if they are not the one getting adjusted! So whether I’m about to adjust them or their parent, I usually let them feel what the impulse will feel like by clicking it against the pad of their finger.  “That’s it?” they often say or, “That tickles!” And all is well in the world. Following the introduction, it doesn’t usually bother them anymore. But a couple of weeks ago, I heard an unusual comment from a child watching his mother get adjusted. He said, “That doesn’t do anything.” What do you mean, I asked? “That doesn’t do anything. It’s just a bump.” I sometimes hear similar comments from adults who don’t understand the instrument. “How is that doing anything? Don’t I need a ‘crack’?”  No, people don’t need “cracks.” They need “adjustments” – with or without the ‘crack!’ But the child’s comment did get me to thinking… if people don’t understand the complexity of what’s going on beneath that little hammer, then why would it seem special? Playing billiards also seems like “just a bump” until you actually learn more about the complexity and skill involved in playing the game well. There’s a famous little story that illustrates the point of how all taps and bumps are not created equal. So, once upon a time, there was a big important ship on the ocean, and all of a sudden, the main engine failed. They tried and tried to fix it, but they just couldn’t figure out what was wrong. They called in the engineers, etc., and they couldn’t figure it out, either. So they finally called in the specialist – an old engineer who had spent most of his life working with engines. He inspected the engine top to bottom, and then he got his little tool bag, pulled out a hammer, and very carefully hit the engine on one spot, and the engine came back to life. The old guy left, and a couple of weeks later, the invoice arrived. It was for $10,000! The ship owner was shocked and called to dispute the bill. “$10,000 just to hit a hammer??!” he exclaimed. The old engineer replied, “No, $2 to hit the hammer, and $9,998 to know where to hit the hammer.”  This story reminds of chiropractic because it really is about specifically applying forces to the body at the right time and place for the purpose of restoring function. Random tapping, bumping and cracking don’t produce very consistent results. But to the untrained eye, I now realize that even specific adjusting can appear random when out of context! So, thanks to a 6 year-old, I will be more attentive to educating on the what and why of the adjustment! And no, adjustments do not cost $10,000 in my office. (Maybe when I’m old…)  😉 

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