Is Batman’s Healing Method Sound?

Is Batman’s Healing Method Sound?

Consulted chiropractor Dr. Suzanne McBride of Network Wellness Care to find out whether Batman's healing powers are, indeed, superhuman.

Ask a Doctor: Is Batman’s Healing Method Sound?
By Gwynne Watkins

If you've already seen The Dark Knight Rises, you are approved to read the following spoiler-packed post. If you have not yet seen The Dark Knight Rises, we'll see you back here after you do.

During his first showdown with supervillain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce Wayne incurs what would normally be considered a career-ending injury: a broken back. In the comics that inspired the film, Wayne takes a while to get back in fighting trim. But director Christopher Nolan found another way to get Batman on his feet. Trapped in a prison by Bane, Wayne is helped by a fellow inmate, who punches a misplaced piece of vertebrae back into place, then creates a rope harness for Bruce to hang from until he can walk again. Eighty days or so later, he's back on the streets of Gotham. Confused by this particular method of physical therapy, Vulture consulted chiropractor Dr. Suzanne McBride of Network Wellness Care to find out whether Batman's healing powers are, indeed, superhuman.

Let's start with the vertebrae being punched back into his back.

Obviously, no, you can't do that. There's so many things that you'd have to pay attention to, so many things going on with the nervous system. The spinal cord itself is extremely tender and it's a type of material that needs to be protected, which is why it's protected by bone. So, I mean, that's ridiculousness.

So if someone came to you with a vertebrae sticking out of their back, you wouldn't punch it into place because you could damage the spinal cord, is that correct?


How would one actually put a vertebrae back into place without going into surgery? Is that even possible?

Probably not, no. If it's sticking out of the skin, it's gone pretty far awry.

Let's talk about the stretching device that he uses. You said there's some controversy about hanging in the chiropractic community?

Yes. There's a study by Alfred Briggs on adverse mechanical cord tension (AMCT), and that's what I base a lot of my work on. It says that if you were to pull the spinal cord really tightly, you could herniate the pineal gland in your brain, which helps control the endocrine system. But a lot of other professionals use those really expensive traction machines, and people seem to get a lot of relief from it. I use gentler techniques to get your body to truly heal, long-term, without damaging other parts of your body while you do it.

So Batman is hanging from the ceiling. Hypothetically, if he did that for a few months, could he align himself?

That's just going to depend on what damage occurred — if the spinal cord tore, if the vertebrae shattered, if arteries were severed. If everything else in his body remained intact except for the shape of the spine, then the shape of the spine could absolutely shift with gravity. But it's never one thing. Generally, it's fourteen things happening all at once. But if his bones were intact and they just moved out of place, gravity could do the job.

But assuming he has other injuries, putting that kind of pressure on his spinal cord — you said it could tear? Would that leave him paralyzed from the waist down?

Yeah, he could lose a lot of function. If you rip and tear the spinal cord, then the brain can't communicate with your body, and you're not going to heal.

If Bruce Wayne were to visit a chiropractor under less strenuous circumstances, what do you think you could do for him?

I'm a Network Spinal Analysis chiropractor; I see things from the perspective that there's emotional stress, physical stress, and chemical stress. So I would work more with the tension in his system as a whole person, to help alleviate the emotional stress and have him work through his old issues. Which, for a superhero, might take away his abilities, because he has channeled all that bound-up energy. But for the average person, emotional stress from your past turns into lower back pain and ulcers and all sorts of other stuff.
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marvel72 - 7/26/2012, 5:26 PM
that scene was total bullshit,i don't think you would being sit ups in your cell either.

one of many flaws with the film.still a good movie,but nolan is meant to be a genius film director,this shouldn't of had as many flaws as did.
CaptainAmerica - 7/26/2012, 5:28 PM
A few days later? Wasnt it a few weeks later?
YOUNGBL00D - 7/26/2012, 5:29 PM
What the [frick] are you guys talking about,MIT wasn't a few days or even a few weeks it was about six months he was in the hole and bane was blowing shit up.
marvel72 - 7/26/2012, 5:31 PM
^ thats meant to read "be doing" not "being". :P
YOUNGBL00D - 7/26/2012, 5:32 PM
Was I the only one who paid attention to the movie, instead of searching it for flaws like all of you, JEEZUS!

Sorry, just had to get that off my chest
DanJ18 - 7/26/2012, 5:35 PM
@YOUNGBL00D I'm with you on that.
CaptainAmerica - 7/26/2012, 5:37 PM
Yea im pretty sure it wasnt a few days, it wasnt more than 3 months though cuz the bomb would've exploded. I think it was 2 or 3 months.
YOUNGBL00D - 7/26/2012, 5:43 PM
@captainamerica it was about 5 months because they were racing to stop the bomb, remember the timer was coming close, if you remember the last part where SPOILER ALERT
batman has to fly away with the bomb while the time ticks down to zero.
BlazinTexan - 7/26/2012, 5:44 PM
he was in there for 3 months PAY ATTENTION
BlazinTexan - 7/26/2012, 5:44 PM
3 - 5 *
MrReese - 7/26/2012, 5:48 PM
Wayne was there 4 4 months

The bomb had 5 months on the timer. it took Wayne 4 months 2 recover & escape. & I think he had like 20 something days 2 get 2 Gotham.I think.

The real question is how will Joker react 2 Batman "dying" XD
BarnaclePete - 7/26/2012, 5:50 PM
He was able to stand and started working out after being in the prison for 3 months, it was then almost another 2 more till he climbed out. When they showed him watching the tv it always said how many days had gone by. This stuff isnt hard to figure out. Just seems like some people are looking for problems.
I agree, it is all for entertainment and should be taken as that.
YOUNGBL00D - 7/26/2012, 5:51 PM
@cipher, ur uncle sounds like a true scholar sir,
Also hats off to ur uncle for serving our country
YOUNGBL00D - 7/26/2012, 6:00 PM
Finally someone who gets the picture
CPBuff22 - 7/26/2012, 6:00 PM
As someone who is certified as a Massage Therapist that part of the movie was literally the WORST part. And as an athlete who has seen people suffer lower spine injuries I can attest to time it takes one to recover. I have some good friends and a couple family members who needed surgery to repair their injuries and they were not anywhere near as server as what Bruce Wayne suffered.

Also he had 5 months to get back to Gotham and stop the bomb. Now subtract from that travel time and the time needed to plan a way into the city. Now from that amount of time subtract the amount of time it took him to actually work himself into shape to make that jump. Remember he already had a bad knee so with an extreme rehab regiment he is spending at least three months just working up to that jump due to his knee issues. Leaving him with a few days to get over the back injury while hung from the ceiling.
MrReese - 7/26/2012, 6:08 PM
I love how Nolan gave us such an iconic scene from the comics & ppl r still bitching bout it smh.

Reminder: Nolan put that in there 4 us!!!! U think the GA knew that Bane is most known 4 breaking the Bat.......[frick] outta here!!
REDSTORM - 7/26/2012, 6:09 PM
He also dresses up like a bat and fights crime. What the [frick] else do you all want to nitpick on?
MrReese - 7/26/2012, 6:11 PM
Of course Bats in the comics is gonna take all the time 2 heal know why?? its a [frick]ing comic!! This a 2 & a half hr movie ffs.
Bane2099 - 7/26/2012, 6:17 PM
He didnt heal in 8 days

In the scene when the military guys go to meet Gordan and Blake before Bane hangs them from the bridge, doesnt Blake say that the cops have been trapped underground for 3 months, or did i miss hear that?

So that means Bruce was locked in Bane's prison for that amount of time, so could that be enought time to heal his back?
superotherside - 7/26/2012, 6:19 PM
Heh, I was wondering how they would explain that... lol. Doesn't put me off to go see the film though, it is kinda funny that people think Nolan's films are more true to life than Marvel films though. Seriously. I can almost believe their stuff easier.
CPBuff22 - 7/26/2012, 6:21 PM
@superotherside I completely agree with that statement!
ThreeBigTacos - 7/26/2012, 6:21 PM
Though the movie was awesome I gotta laugh at the butthurt Nolanites.

P.s. it took 5 months for him to heal and get back, since the bomb had about 5 months to blow.
MrReese - 7/26/2012, 6:30 PM
@cipher everyone I saw it with enjoyed it the film (not comic book fans).They actually wanted 2 know more about Bane.Showed them the back breaking pic from the comics & they immediately recognized it from the movie like "ohh that's where he got it from" lol. I think that's why I like going 2 CBM with my friends that aren't fans of the genre.They take the movie 4 what it is & that's it.Hell they were even shocked at the reveal of Talia. LOL
YOUNGBL00D - 7/26/2012, 6:33 PM
@superotherside, seriously, the batman movies are supposed to be more realistic but it's obviously not 100% true, IT'S BATMAN, NOT A [frick]ING DOCUMENTARY? It's going to stretch the realm of possibilities, it's a CBM! Hence the name BATMAN!
MrReese - 7/26/2012, 6:35 PM
@cipher Dude my mouth dropped when he picked him up over his head.Like Holy Shit!!! Nolan did not just do that!! lol I also love how it goes 2 black right after Selina is looking at the battered Bruce.Kinda like "end of act 1" in some play or some shit haha.
CPBuff22 - 7/26/2012, 6:37 PM
Someone get Stone Cold Steve Austin on here to talk about how long rehab time for a spinal injury that doesn't shove the vertebra through the skin takes. He was out three months after surgery and you can argue that he was in about the same condition as Bruce Wayne was prior to injury and SCSA's injury was less severe. Just giving everyone a real life comparison.

So surgery on a less severe injury and recovery time is three months. In TDKR no surgery on a much more severe injury also takes three months or less. The science doesn't add up.
YOUNGBL00D - 7/26/2012, 6:38 PM
Agreed @cipher and @mrreese I sincerely shit my pants during that scene, plus I was actually surprised the first time I saw bane underground with his shirt off, he looked huge
Luminus - 7/26/2012, 6:44 PM
That's why he's Batman and we are not. Very simple.

No one can just jump off a building, glide to another building, and crash through a specific window without a scratch on the first try let alone the 100th either.

No one can just disappear, while 2 guys argue with each other, without being seen leaving the area.

Oh, and guess what, there's no way someone can fly a military aircraft through the city without being tracked, confronted by fighter jets and forced to land within minutes.

He's not just anyone. He's Batman.
LoudNoises - 7/26/2012, 6:45 PM
Who cares if it medically accurate. Most people know without consulting a doctor that this healing method is unsound. It's a movie, not a tutorial in spinal cord repair. These are the kind of plotholes people are pointing out? Give it a rest.

Nothing against the article btw. Interesting read.
YOUNGBL00D - 7/26/2012, 6:47 PM
[frick] you @threebig tacos, who said I was a nolanite just because Im defending this movie, I did the same thing for the avengers when people tried to bash it, I'm not a nolanite or a marveling, I just love comicbooks and movies, thats the problem with this site, everyone acts like people belong in some kind of cliche!
BernieSanders - 7/26/2012, 6:51 PM
Damn henchman Bane!
MrReese - 7/26/2012, 6:57 PM
@YOUNGBL00D Yeah he looked huge.In "Warrior" he was ripped!! but in TDKR he had body mass & looked physically threatening.Great scene I love how he tells the guy 2 "follow him" "Follow him?" & he [frick]ing shoots his ass.Bane was not 2 b [frick]ed with & he made sure ppl knew that.

Another scene that I really enjoyed was the Bane & Daggett scene."I paid u a small fortune" "& this gives u power over me". Bane literally looked [frick]ing tall in that scene more so than the others.Daggett was looking up the whole time & it made him look like he was over 6 feet tall.Amazing camera work on Bane Mr.Nolan!! XD
Knightrider - 7/26/2012, 7:02 PM
Hang wait a minute!!!! Is this serious? Since when has a film needed to be realistic, even those films that are meant to be grounded or even set in our world, comic book movie or not, take liberties.

My lord and people say it is a flaw, errr, what, why? Because it isn't medically accurate.

Ok, I asked my scientist friend, he told me there is no such thing as a super serum, an iron man suit, being hit by a nuclear blast won't make you the hulk and no one has a hammer to bring down lighting. So I guess that has made Avengers flawed movie of the year. No of course not, because it is a movie, and thus to be enjoyed as such.

Now I know people will say this is valid as Nolan's bat movies have are meant to be realistic. Yes they are too a point, the science for a lot of the gadgets etc is there, but is stretched somewhat, they have taken liberties with what we have and what is possible.

Personally I think this is one of the safest things I have ever read.
Knightrider - 7/26/2012, 7:03 PM
YOUNGBL00D - 7/26/2012, 7:10 PM
Agreed @kinightrider, and also @mrreese I know a lot of people didn't like the way bane went out, but personally I thought it was awesome, when bane had the gun to batmans head and an explosion went off, I tout he blew off batmans head, until I saw banes body fly across the room, what an epic way to go out.
BooYah - 7/26/2012, 7:18 PM
So now Nolans movie isn't realistic enough for you guys? lmao there's no winning.
BarnaclePete - 7/26/2012, 7:18 PM
I thinks People payed more attention to the timeframe of the movie, there would be less confusion to how long it look Bruce to get outnofnthe prison and back to Gotham. It was clearly layed out in the movie.
MrReese - 7/26/2012, 7:20 PM
@YOUNGBLOOD Yea I felt let down with how he went out I can't lie.He deserved a better death IMO.But only because he was built up as this massive threat.The fight should have been longer also would have liked 2 see more of Bane going crazy after the tube broke.He literally went mad & kept swinging at the brick pillar after Bats had moved away.Still,it doesn't take away from the experience + the ending was brilliant.With all the little nods 2 Fox,Gordon & Alfred.Robin getting the coordinates 2 the batcave.

YOUNGBL00D - 7/26/2012, 7:22 PM
@booyah exactly, people complained about Nolan's batman because it was too realistic and not a true CBM, but this one was probably more comic book related than any of them, and now they're complaining about that too.
MrReese - 7/26/2012, 7:26 PM
@YOUNDBLOOD a friend from work who didn't like TDKR as much said his complaint was "it was 2 comic booky". U know what I said 2 him? I said "[racial slur] u loved The Avengers!!" LMAO that guy made my day lol XD
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