What is chiropractic?

 
According to the Association of Chiropractic Colleges, “chiropractic is a health care discipline which emphasizes the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery. The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health.”

 

The control system of the body, the nervous system:

The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. The brain coordinates all functions in the body, and it communicates with every cell in the body. At any point in time, the brain is sending billions of signals to the body via the spinal cord and nerves. At the same time, your body is sending messages back to the brain via these same structures. Your nervous system is responsible for you experiencing pain, breathing, smelling, seeing, moving, and experiencing every other function in the body.

It is important to protect these important, yet delicate, structures. Luckily, your brain and spinal cord are surrounded by hard bone, the skull and spinal column, respectively, to protect your nervous system. The spinal column is composed of a series of bones through which the spinal cord passes. The soft and delicate nature of the spinal cord necessitates that the bones of the spinal column be moveable. Thus, the safety of these nervous structures is dependent upon the spine’s ability to move.

How chiropractic works with the nervous system:

When one’s nervous system is supplying 100% of the signals from the brain to the body, the body is going to function at 100%. However, if something is interfering with the supply of information contained within the nervous system, the body will not receive 100% of the signals it needs, and it will not function at its optimal level. Over time, if the body is not functioning at 100%, it begins to break down. Finally, after the body has gone through significant amounts of breakdown, symptoms develop. So, symptoms are the final manifestation of breakdown because the body, and more importantly the nervous system, are not functioning at 100%.

In chiropractic philosophy, it is believed that at times, the bones of the spinal column can be shifted out of their correct alignment, resulting in them becoming fixated. In chiropractic, it is called a subluxation when these bones become misaligned and stuck. These subluxations are problematic because the spine is designed to be moveable to protect the delicate nervous structures. When the spine isn’t able to move, the transmission of messages from the brain down to the body is affected. As explained earlier, this affects the function of the body, which eventually leads to physical problems in an individual.

Subluxations can result from any number of factors, such as falls, accidents, stress, tension, or over-use. Chiropractors are trained to locate and eliminate these subluxations through the use of spinal adjustments. Through various methods, chiropractors locate the areas of the spine that are in improper alignment and not moving properly. Once they know where the subluxations are, they utilize various methods to restore proper motion to these spinal units. When motion is restored, the system is able to function at 100%, and the body is allowed the opportunity to heal.