Being yourself surely includes taking care of yourself. And taking care of yourself opens options that include new and specialized approaches to established methods of treatment. That’s our Destination for Healing. We enjoyed an enriching conversation with Dr. Aaron MacArthur of Portland Chiropractic Neurology where a specialized functional approach is offered to patients by improving the health of their brain and nervous system, without the use of drugs or surgery.
Dr. MacArthur is the only Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist in the state of Maine. According to his website, www.portchiro.com, he’s dedicated to bringing a new model of health care to Maine.
As a Maine native, Dr. MacArthur understands the need for a new approach to many areas where drugs and surgery could not meet the needs of many patients. He not only specializes in treating the spine through chiropractic care, but he also treats the brain and its supporting structures, which is the basis for many problems faced today.
Dr. MacArthur received his undergraduate degree in biology from University of Maine, Orono. His Doctoral education was spent in Dallas, Texas for an additional four years at Parker College of Chiropractic. He received his Post-Doctoral education at the Carrick institute for neurological studies, which is an extensive three-year program where a rigorous board examination must be passed to obtain the degree.
According to Dr. MacArthur, the unique quality of Chiropractic Neurology is the “fact that you are incorporating the brain more than anything else. You are working with what we call neuroplasticity or changing the brain. This change comes from activation through the nervous system. Most of the activation from the body comes from the spine. We use several different methods to access different parts of the brain including working with joints, muscles, the spine itself, and optikenetics or eye movement, auditory stimulation, balance, coordination, and cold laser therapy (low level laser technology) which activates the metabolism of the brain and the body’s DNA at the cellular level. The body is one entire system that works fluidly together and when it gets out of balance the whole body is affected.”
Chiropractic Neurology began in the early 1990s as a field of functional medicine. “Chiropractors are not the only ones who take these courses.” Osteopaths, Orthopaedic doctors, and medical doctors take the same course of study as Dr. MacArthur because of recent knowledge learned about the brain since the 1990s. “I use chiropractic to treat people with neurological deficits, but it really is a separate field outside chiropractic although they work well together because it’s able to stimulate many changes.” By incorporating neurology, he meets the needs of a broader spectrum people. “Now we have an unlimited potential to help people, utilizing different techniques like neurological aspects of chiropractic, or maybe they are referred out for Reiki, Craniosacral, massage or some other modality. With an in depth understanding of the nervous system we’re able to understand the body’s functions altogether and really understand what the person needs. Therefore, we’re able to give them the best possible treatment options. Maybe it’s not my office. Maybe it’s elsewhere, but you’re able to provide the best treatment options and the best diagnosis of what really is causing the problem not just looking at, and treating symptoms."
Dr. MacArthur explained that the way he can initiate change in someone is through their thorough examination procedures. “The real trick to making a health change for a patient is to locate the cause of the problem.” This is accomplished by examining the brain and its function and, in turn, identify the areas of dysfunction. “It may be something simple.” However, they may need to examine deeper to locate the source of the dysfunction. “Once we find that dysfunction through in depth examination procedures then we can devise treatment plans for that condition.
“The heart of our treatment is to identify the cause of the problem through thorough examination. We evaluate the symptoms and use them in our diagnosis, but we don’t say your knee hurts, so it must be your knee. That’s a segmental approach and that’s traditionally more western. If someone has right knee pain, it may not be at the knee. It could be an area in the brain that perceives that area pain and built up an area of plasticity (change) in a bad way. Now it’s too sensitive to pain. To treat that left knee area one needs to examine that area of the brain, change it, and stimulate it so it becomes healthier. Also there are many pharmaceuticals available for people and one thing they may not realize is this… pharmaceuticals are not long term. They do not create permanent changes. They are short-term, and we know that. What I am interested in is creating permanent long-term changes and that’s what we do.”
Dr. MacArthur was helpful in explaining how he works with patients following the initial exam. “Let’s say someone has a left brain dysfunction. One way to activate that left-brain would be to utilize structures only on the right side of the body, maybe using pressure points. If you use some pressure points, mobilize, or manipulate some right side joints that would send activation to the left side of the brain creating changes (neuroplasticity) in the brain and thus increase the health of the brain.”
“The cool thing with this stuff is it isn’t a temporary thing. The goal is to create a permanent change, and the nervous system does that. Once it creates enough memory or it has had enough activation either over time or spatially then it can become permanent.” That’s what they want to accomplish instead of making a temporary change requiring a follow up two weeks later for the same activation. Depending on the longevity and severity of the condition, follow up visits may be necessary. But the goal is to create permanent change.
Sometimes, results are quick. Other times results may take a while. Dr. MacArthur referred to an example that can be found on their website, www.portchiro.com,
A fellow Chiropractic Neurologist was speaking in Spain when he was confronted by a family who traveled a great distance to see him. They had been everywhere and decided to try this Doctor, who they hoped could help their blind daughter of 20 years. Dr. Frederick Carrick accepted and began treatment that day. Within hours the young girl who had been blind her entire life, entering the room with a cane, now stood and walked outside, without her cane! Everyone stood in astonishment as she described the beautiful roses in the garden! How could this be? This girl had seen countless medical experts and had been blind her entire life prior to this moment. She could now see! Welcome to the world of Chiropractic Neurology.
How did Dr. Carrick accomplish this? The young girl was experiencing Cortical Blindness, a condition that affected her Thalamus and Occipital lobe of the cortex, but did not affect her actual eye or optic nerve. The Occipital cortex and Thalamus receive images from the eye and translate them into a language your brain understands. However, here the translator was sick. She didn’t have a tumor, or vascular lesions of some sort; she just lacked the functionality of her occipital cortex (it just didn't work correctly). Her brain had not been activated properly and thus became unhealthy, much as a muscle will atrophy, or shrink after a period of inactivity. When you actively use that muscle it grows again and becomes healthy. Put it in a cast and it will shrink. The same goes for the brain, although quite a bit more complicated. Restrict the proper activation to the brain and it will lose proper function. Dr. Carrick activated the brain properly and turned on the DNA production of the brain, which made adequate materials for her cells to thrive. Amazingly, this was in one visit.
Depression, stress, insomnia and many other conditions can be treated through Chiropractic Neurology. “It’s a longitudinal level of a lesion.” He doesn’t mean a lesion like a tumor. Longitudinal level of a lesion is a system of diagnosing a problem. Let’s say a person’s finger hurts. “Maybe it is a problem in the finger. Maybe the joint is affected. Then we discover it isn’t. So we begin to systematically look for where the nerve controlling that finger is entrapped. It could be at the wrist, the elbow, shoulder, finally the spine. We work our way to the final controlling part of the system, the brain. We go through the steps to locate and identify the problem.”
In his practice, Dr. MacArthur treats the whole person through not only Chiropractic Neurology, but nutrition, and lifestyle changes to bring the patient into balance. Besides treating structural and spinal needs of patients, he also treats those overcoming issues relating to strokes, multiple sclerosis, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism.
Dr. Aaron MacArthur of Portland Chiropractic Neurology a Destination for Healing in Southern Maine offers a specialized functional approach to patients by improving the health of their brain and nervous system, without the use of drugs or surgery. Their office is at 19 Commercial Street Portland, Maine. Telephone (207) 699-5600 or visit their website www.portchiro.com.
Kevin Pennell, an author from Bethel , Maine, wrote Two Feathers-Spiritual Seed Planter and as written for other periodicals and media. Kevin Pennell is an Usui and Karuna Reiki® Master Teacher, Certifi ed Hypnotherapist, Ancestral Healing Practitioner, and Psychic Empath. He conducts Reiki and other workshops that assist spiritual and personal development. Kevin, with his wife, Vickie Cummings, own and operate Spirit Wings, their Compassionate Healing Center and Therapeutic Store located in Bethel, Maine