Archived Issue - PRAKTIKOS Summer Equinox, 2008

May you live every day of your life.
    – Jonathan Swift

The Perils of Treatment

The year was 1945 and 11-year-old Bobby Borman had taken ill. No one now remembers what the problem was; perhaps no one knew even then. His mother—our Grandma Beulah—who had lost her younger brother in the 1918 flu pandemic was so worried she took him to a doctor.   

By 1945 penicillin had been discovered, but it was available only to soldiers fighting in Europe and the Pacific.  Bobby's doctor was able to prescribe sulfa, the original miracle antibiotic that predated even penicillin.

Grandma Beulah was probably excited about using sulfa.  For the first time in human history, there was a way to fight back against bacteria.  Unfortunately, sulfa drugs have a dangerous side effect; and from this point on, things started going horribly wrong for the Borman family.

Sulfa drugs are cleared from the body through the kidneys, which is why they are still in use today for treatment of bladder and urinary tract infections.  We now know that it is vitally important to keep the patient well hydrated so that the drug does not become too concentrated in the kidneys and begin to crystallize.

Perhaps Bobby was dehydrated from sweating or could not hold water down due to nausea.  For whatever reason, he became dehydrated and the sulfa drug concentrated in his kidneys and began to form razor-sharp crystals within the sensitive organs.

The crystals destroyed his kidneys’ ability to filter and remove waste products from his body.  This led to a condition known as uremia, literally urine in the blood that is fatal if not promptly treated.

Today if this happened, Bobby would have given intravenous fluids; and if that failed he would have been placed on dialysis and later received a kidney transplant.  In 1945 the latter two treatments had not yet become a possibility.

It took only about a week for the waste products of bodily function to build up to toxic levels once his kidneys failed.  Bobby’s death occurred as his brain slowly slipped into coma and then finally stopped all together.

Bobby’s tragic and preventable death over 60 years ago has had a profound effect on why his nephews, Robert and Bill, chose the more natural healing field of chiropractic and how practice their craft today.

This needless death also had a deep impact on Bobby’s namesake, the young Robert Borman.  His first reaction was to worry that he would also die when he was eleven. When he survived turning twelve, he was left with a longer lasting and far more rational thought.

Robert and, later, Bill learned that treatment could sometimes be harmful rather than helpful.  This thought continues to guide the way that Bill and Robert practice today.

While many people think of only the good and helpful side of drugs, the Borman brothers are acutely aware of the dangers of even the most innocuous-seeming drugs.

Drugs always carry a risk of injury that we call side effects. Ironically, many of the drugs we take are solely for the purpose of treating the side effects created by other drugs we are taking.

It seemed only sensible to first try healing from the inside out using the natural power of the body.  If Grandma Beaulah had but waited and kept her son comfortable while Mother Nature worked her magic, Bill and Robert might well have an Uncle Bob today.

Of course, we do not mean to deny the power and amazing ability of modern medicine to heal.  Drugs and surgery now provide healing that was not even imaginable earlier.

Nor do we mean to imply that chiropractic is without faults or danger. From the outset in chiropractic school, Robert had the same misgivings about the treatment sometimes being more dangerous than the condition.

To that end, we at Dr. Borman and Associates have worked diligently to minimize the downsides of chiropractic treatment.

The first major change that we instituted was to stop using the fast snapping adjustments that we were taught in school.  This “high velocity” technique can create trauma and is largely responsible for the horror stories that have made many people hesitant to try chiropractic.

Instead, we use a slow and gentle specific stretching pressure to move vertebrae and restore pain-free function.  Rather than being scary, this type of work feels great and is often very relaxing.

Gone is the fear of overstretching a ligament or muscle and actually worsening a problem.  Gone is the fear of an even worse trauma that can cause permanent injury.

Another thing that we have done to improve your experience and speed your healing is to use ultrasound.  This gentle and pleasant treatment is a highly effective way to reduce muscle spasm and swelling.

Ultrasound feels like a circular massage while the powerful beam of one million vibrations per second penetrates deep into the swollen tissues and tight muscles to reduce pain.

With less pain and spasm, it becomes a simple matter to gently slide vertebra and the pelvis back toward their correct positions.  It also makes it easier for them to stay put so you can heal more rapidly.

In addition to ultrasound, we instruct you and all our patients in the correct and specific use of ice to further reduce swelling around the sensitive nerves that are causing the pain.  This reduction of pain and swelling allows you to use less medication.

This reduction of the need for medication is an important point. Anti-inflammatory drugs are actually counterproductive in the healing process.  Inflammation is really not the problem but rather it is the way the body heals itself.

All we want to do is get rid of the swelling that accompanies inflammation.  Ultrasound and ice will reduce the swelling and the associated pain without slowing the healing process.

Reducing your dependence on anti-inflammatory drugs also saves your stomach, kidneys, and liver from the damage they often inflict.

Finally, at Dr. Borman and Associates, we have done another important thing to save you irritation and aggravation.  We know that your time is important.

We have designed a system that allows you and all our patients to be seen on time.  We do not double-book appointments nor do we run late.

Your appointment time is reserved for you alone.  You can count on us seeing you on time and getting you out on time.  Unlike other doctors who sometimes seem to think that you have nothing important to do, we respect your schedule.

We think that we have devised a great system.  It places you at the center of our efforts.  It strives to heal your problem in the shortest time possible with the least disruption of your life.

Our system consciously works to eliminate the trauma that  has been associated with both traditional chiropractic and medical practice.

We think Uncle Bobby would be proud.