Analogies of relationships across areas
Overprotective parent, babysitter or supervisor: following an ‘insult’ to a given area (example: right shoulder) the portion of the nervous system that innervates the area (same example: neck – right C4/5, C5/6) changes the level of activity/tension for the muscles supporting the neck and changes input coming from the shoulder (adds to the message coming from the shoulder to make it more intense once it is registered at the brain -> more sensitive, sensation of ache, throb, heavy, or fatigue) and going to the shoulder (steals from the message coming from the brain and allows only a portion of the signal to reach the intended destination -> demonstrates weakness regardless of effort level). This would compare to the over-reaction of a parent who heard a child was hurt playing in some game – they become nervous any time the child starts to interact with anything like the original game, put restrictions on the child (beyond just the original game) and increases the restrictions for several days any time they hear the child tried participating in the game again – even if they were not hurt again. The time between the initial event and the child’s attempt to play again become irrelevant. Whether the delay is one week, one month, or six months – the parent acts the same way. The parent may become generally irritated as well or may just remain ‘uptight’. Interactions that distract the parent would allow for the child to sneak off and play without getting directly punished for short periods of time but the child still knows of the risk to be punished so the play is still affected. There could be several different interactions that distract the parent, but the duration and degree of distraction could be very different. A more direct example: If somebody has an insult to the shoulder then the neck would change conditions that the shoulder functions under as long as the neck is available for monitoring. The neck would take ANY input from the shoulder and report it as potentially dangerous (stronger ache, throb), but would take input that comes close to the original insult as directly hostile (stab / sharp or stronger pain and possible radiating symptoms) even if there was no actual risk for additional insult. The neck would additionally put on restrictions that would make participation less productive (more weakness than tightness of all muscles that are innervated by the level – potentially muscles that were not originally insulted but are under the same source’s supervision).
This is often confused for a ‘pinched nerve’ but has no direct damage to the nerve and does not respond to treatment to the spine. The area that was initially insulted may or may not have individual responses to the initial insult – so change in behavior or input of the neck muscles may either result in full resolution or it may result in more clarity as the primary area of concern is the only source remaining (remain partially improved until the local muscles are directly addressed).
Leaving a parking brake engaged: If somebody has problems with a vehicle – such as an issue with an engine, then they would not be surprised if any mechanic would apply a parking brake while work is being done on the vehicle. They would be completely unaware if the mechanic applied the parking brake, then released it after moving the car from the garage back out to a parking lot. Like many mechanical devices, the parking brake could be applied at different degrees of tension. If the person does not typically apply a parking brake then they would not look to release the brake when they started driving. If the parking brake was left applied at a low tension, then the driver would be able to drive but would recognize that the car was performing poorly and would likely blame the engine “ what did they do to my engine?” and would be frustrated when told the engine is working fine. If the parking brake was applied more tightly then it would become more obvious where the ‘new problem’ was located.
Somebody could have a joint sprain (e.g. a knee sprain) that would initially have swelling and related symptoms that would resolve with natural healing and any intervention that helps that along, but the levels of the spine (e.g. L2/3, L3/4 or possibly L5/S1) would remain in different tension and would have an indirect effect on the behavior of the knee - often the sensations of low intensity muscle ‘pulling’ with stretch or persistent mild to moderate weakness but without any specific area of tenderness or tightness when inspecting the muscles nearby (e.g. the quadriceps or hamstring or calf muscles’. Treatment to the level of the spine would have an immediate response with reduced pulling or reduced weakness without any stress being applied to the local area, but interactions at the local area without treatment to the level of the spine would not have any meaningful benefit.
Robbing the neighbor’s house: To help describe the different responses that can show up based on the ‘proximity’ of treatment or interaction with the problem. If a person or family hears about a house being robbed in a different city or state, then they likely do not give any real thought to changing their behavior to better secure their home (locking doors or windows, etc). If the person or family hears that a neighbor’s house has been robbed, then they would likely change their behavior for a few days out of anticipation for more direct risk – but if nothing happens to their house after a few days then they return to their prior behaviors based on the assumptions ‘the robber has left the area’ or ‘the robber is not interested in my house’. They would react the same way even if there are future robberies within the neighborhood – each time changing behavior for a few days because that seemed to work out well enough the last time. If the person or family’s house is directly robbed then they would change their behavior for a significantly long time – even possibly for the duration of their lifetime – because of the direct recognition and direct interaction.
Similarly if a treatment is applied that would sound like it would help but does not change symptom or performance behavior then it is recognized as inappropriate for continued use. If a treatment is applied and it changes the behavior or performance for up to a few days it is easy to expect for the next treatment to ‘finally make the difference’ but never expands beyond the initial response. If a treatment is applied and is a direct impact then the response to treatment would be lasting and easy to separate from the other categories. A common example observed is performance of spinal manipulation (chiropractic care termed ‘adjustments’). If the spine is the source then the client feels and stays better after one, two, or three visits. Otherwise that treatment would help somebody feel better for that day or the next day but would return to the prior status shortly after that – with the same response any time they had it performed. If the muscle is treated then the behavior changes overall. The circumstance would be equally applicable if the true spine was the source; treatment to the muscle would have a short response. Note: if multiple muscles were involved and only a percentage of them are treated the response may appear similar – for a couple days the ‘neighboring’ muscles would behave better but then would return to their own presentation until they are directly treated. In this case however, the examination would demonstrate lasting changes in some form.