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Ted Carrick, DC, PhD, is the Distinguished PostGraduate Professor of
Clinical Neurology at Logan College of Chiropractic, near St. Louis, MO. He
is the author of Neurophysiological Implications in Learning, and for 21
years he has had a specialty practice limited to the diagnosis and treatment
of neurological disorders. Dr. Carrick is an active brain researcher,
teacher and clinician who attends patients throughout the world.
Chiropractic treatment is a relatively new approach to medical care. For
just about one hundred years, chiropractors have been studying the
relationship between a healthy spine and a healthy body and spirit. On this
week's Body & Soul, we meet up with a remarkable chiropractic neurologist --
one who finds cures for patients who had almost given up hope.
For most of her adult life, Mariangela Pino suffered from extreme vertigo, a
condition that severely restricted her life. After years of searching for a
cure through conventional medicine, she found relief in the last place she
expected to -- in chiropractic treatment.
Finally, we'll meet Lucinda Harman, who is bound to inspire you with her
grace and courage. With Dr. Carrick's help, this former college professor of
neuropsychology has found meaning and power in her own physical challenges,
and helps others to do the same.
Next, series creator Gail Harris talks with chiropractic neurologist Ted
Carrick about how even coma patients are benefiting from neurological
treatment that doesn't require surgery or drugs.
Chiropractic Neurologist Ted Carrick, DC, PhD.
For 21 years, Dr. Ted Carrick has had a specialty practice in the diagnosis
and treatment of neurological disorders. He is Professor Emeritus of
Neurology, Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas, Texas and Distinguished
PostGraduate Professor of Clinical Neurology at Logan College of
Chiropractic, in Chesterfield, MO, and attends patients throughout the
world. Senior executive producer Gail Harris spoke with this remarkable
healer and teacher. Following are some excerpts from their conversation:
Gail Harris: What kinds of things can be treated through chiropractic?
Ted Carrick: Well, we're finding every day that more and more things that we
didn't think were associated with chiropractic treatment can be affected
very nicely. There are testimonials from people who have had their eyesight
and hearing back, and people waking up from comas.
It would seem that the level of one's existence, the ability to participate
at a high level of society -- to laugh, to cry, to enjoy activities, to not
perceive painful stimulation if it's not necessary -- are things that
chiropractic definitely does affect. The level to which some treatment will
affect these is unknown from individual to individual.
GH: What about chronic conditions like arthritis, or life-threatening
illnesses like cancer?
TC: There are many cancer patients who see chiropractors for treatment --
certainly not for the cancer. We don't do anything for that disorder. But we
can do things to make patients more comfortable, to be able to live with the
disorder. To decrease the degree of pain, to bless them with a little bit of
a smile or other consequences that are associated with the brain.
It's important to realize that chiropractic treatment is not a treatment
that is specific for a shoulder or a knee, but is a global body treatment.
GH: What is the difference between a regular chiropractor, and a
chiropractic neurologist, which is what you are?
TC: Well, the difference is in training in the discipline. The neurologists
in the chiropractic profession have an additional three years of training,
specific to the neurological system. And they serve their communities as
referral services to a variety of physicians -- medical and chiropractic,
dentists, podiatrists -- on neurological problems.
GH: If someone comes to a chiropractor, and perhaps is not successful, does
that mean that chiropractic doesn't work, or that perhaps they need to see a
TC: Over the last hundred years, the chiropractic profession has developed
specialists, similar to the medical model, where we have neurologists,
orthopedists, radiologists, etc. And now more so, if a general chiropractor
has a problem, he or she will customarily refer the person to the
chiropractic specialist if the condition is amenable to the type of work we
GH: We first heard about you as an incredible chiropractor who had been able
to wake up coma patients. Now I know that's not something that you do
routinely. But most people on hearing a statement like that would say, "How
can that be?"
TC: Well, the treatment of patients in a coma -- and I've had considerable
experience and been blessed to attend many of them -- is not really much
different than treating other patients. We use the same techniques -- that
is to say, my specialty of neurology. We look at the brain, and use
brain-based treatment to cause change.
GH: So if someone were in a coma, how would you know what to do?
TC: We make an examination, and largely, when people are in a comatose
state, they can't speak to you, so their body must speak to you. We look at
the way their eyes react, we look at different reflexes, which way their
eyes may go or not go. We look at the stiffness in the joints. The
angulation of the body parts can tell what parts of the brain have been
damaged. And then we can do specific things, which we have found to be
GH: Is it a fairly common circumstance even now, that when a chiropractor
does something that makes a difference, both he and his patient are amazed?
GH: You know, when you first start to practice, it's an amazing miracle. And
the second patient is an amazing miracle. And it keeps going. But after a
period of time, it's clinical experience. You have a feeling the treatment
is going to cause a drastic change in the patients. But the miracle never
ever leaves us. So as a profession, the rewards of this type of practice are
incredible. It's miracles, every day, hundreds of times a day, in your
A Balancing Act
For close to 30 years, Mariangela Pino suffered from a feeling of constant
motion or vertigo that made normal life extremely difficult. Even ordinary
tasks like leaning her head back in the shower were impossible. Conventional
medicine was unable to diagnose or treat her. Finally, Pino consulted a
chiropractor in Pasadena, CA, Dr. Kathleen Power, who felt the person who
might be able to help her was one of Power's teachers, chiropractic
neurologist Ted Carrick. Dr. Carrick and Ms. Pino each spoke with Body &
Soul about her journey to healing.
Pino: I've probably been to 500 hospitals, and most of them on an emergency
basis. Wherever I moved, I would always calculate how far is the hospital,
and where's the entrance to the emergency room?
Carrick: It's important that what we're treating is something that is
realistic -- that we know what we're talking about. It's not hopscotch or a
throw of the dice that we're going to say 'You have vertigo, we're going to
do this and see what happens.' Because with all cases of vertigo, even when
symptoms are similar to Mariangela's, there can be entirely different
lesions or pathology or scenarios.
Pino: So I said over the phone to Dr. Power, "I'm really, really sick. I'm
actually a lot sicker than I told you, and I was wondering if I could come
over there today and tell you the truth because I'm feeling really scared
and lonely, and I need a friend."
Carrick: Dr. Power went through her physical examination, and was able to
tell me about Mariangela's eye functions, her direction of spin, and her
fragility. Also the long-term history of her suffering and the variety of
treatments that she had had, as well as her fear of going through another
barrage of treatments which may or may not be successful.
Pino: And then later Dr. Power told me about some people Dr. Carrick had
helped -- people he had helped bring back from comas, and I said, "Do you
know what? I feel like I'm in a coma, and I really want to wake up."
Carrick: My assessment was that Mariangela suffered a non-ablative left
cortical lesion. Which simply means that there's something wrong with the
functioning of the left side of her brain. The word non-ablative means that
there's nothing structurally wrong -- for instance you may have a muscle
that looks good, but if you can't move your arm, even though there's nothing
wrong with the muscle, it's the function of the muscle.
Pino: So Dr. Power gave me this ball, and had me squeeze the ball with my
right hand. And it actually helped a little. There was a feeling that things
were coming into focus -- and I'm like, "Well, that's really weird."
Carrick: The treatment is specific to increase the integrity of the left
side of her brain. So, my direction of treatment, especially in Mariangela's
case, was to use whole body direction to increase the functioning of the
left side of her brain, and decrease the dominance of the right side. Not
only do we give them specific exercises, we tell them things they definitely
shouldn't do -- for instance don't look in that direction. When you're
sitting in a restaurant and there's a window, don't sit on this side of the
room. So the exercises are very, very important.
Pino: In the first week I felt relief from the various exercises -- I was a
really good patient. And I woke up one morning, and realized I had been able
to sleep on my left side. There were a series of things I was able to do,
that I had never done before.
Carrick: Although an exercise is very simple -- if I move my arm it's very
simple -- the consequences of an exercise are not simple. Sometimes we do
things that seem very, very trivial and there's a cure or a cessation of
symptoms immediately. And I think that people must realize that it's not the
magnitude of the treatment, but the consequences of the treatment. So,
things that are trivial to some people, may be of great magnitude in the
entirety of someone's life.
Pino: I'd been in treatment for about two and a half months. And I had an
incredible response, waking up in the morning, shampooing my hair like a
normal person, okay? And getting dressed to go for my treatment -- I did all
my exercises... And I had this feeling of being brought back to life.
Carrick: I feel greatly satisfied in being able to do that, and at the same
time I feel very frustrated that I can't do it for everybody. I like the
A Life in Equilibrium
Sometimes, the patient isn't the only one affected by the treatment. Dr. Ted
Carrick spoke with Body & Soul about his experience treating Lucinda Harman,
and how it changed them both.
"Lucinda Harman is a marvelous human being. She's been a university
professor, she's an experimental psychologist by trade. She's taught
neurophysiology, neurobiology, and clinical neurology at the university
level. And has been through just a heck of a life, with a lot of problems
that have been very, very complex, that we were able to assist her with.
"We're certainly not treating her for the genetic expression of what she has
[Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome], and neither is there anybody at this time that can
do that. But we're treating her wholeness, specific to lesions in her brain,
that allow us to have her functioning without her heart racing out of her
chest, without her spinning out of control, without her eyes not being able
"I saw Lucinda in grand rounds. At the time I saw her she was completely
disabled. She was unable to speak, to think, to work at a level that would
be reasonable for a professor. She had feelings of dizziness, vertigo,
sounds in her head and ears, and tachycardia, or a fast racing heart --
which really would go out of control. When this would happen, her legs would
swell up almost like an elephant, her face would droop, her lids would close
and she couldn't move one side of her face. She would have angulation and
stiffness of body parts, similar to what you see with an individual having a
"I think Lucinda's one of the very fortunate ones because I saw her in grand
rounds, and her changes were immediate, as a consequence of what we were
able to do with her.
"In Lucinda's case, it was a little more difficult because she couldn't get
up and do an exercise for instance -- she couldn't walk. So, we had to
devise different mechanisms that would allow us to cause a brain-changing
activity… In her case, we would use warm air stimulation for instance, in
her ear, and hook her up to the ECG monitor and we would see an abrupt
change in the rate of her heart. We would see her legs shrink in front of
"I think with all the miracles and the mysteries of the human nervous
system, nothing surprises me anymore, and if it was Lucinda's case by
itself, I would definitely be in awe. But there's more then one Lucinda --
there are many patients like this that I've attended to, many thousands of
them and there are many thousands more that are treated by my colleagues.
So, she's not an isolated case, although she's an individual case.
"The things that seem to be miracles are things that you only see once or
twice. When you start seeing them every day of your clinical life, they're
not that miraculous, but you realize how very fragile we are. Someone can
play in the Super Bowl and get slam dunked and get up and go to Disney
World, and somebody else can step off a curb and never be the same. We're
very strong, yet we're very, very fragile. The things that chiropractic
specialists are doing, although they seem simple, are very, very complex. If
we do them on the wrong side, if we do them with the wrong temperature, or
misapply them in some way, we can make the people worse.
"I think Lucinda will be doing some great things. Even though she has a PhD
in these studies, because of her disorder she has learned just a
hundred-fold more about the nervous system. And I believe that this is one
woman who will be able to share with other people what she has learned as a
consequence of her own unfortunate scenario.
"Lucinda's wonderful. I don't think any of us know how we would deal with
that type of situation. She certainly has been dealt a bad deck of cards,
but she's playing a winning hand -- I think she's inspirational to other
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