What is Chiropractic?

sherin 0017webAs stated by the ACA (American Chiropractic Association) “chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms and legs, and headaches”. Chiropractors believe that most illness and disease is due to an inability of the body to adapt to the environment in which it lives. Your spinal column is made up of vertebrae that are stacked on top of each other with discs in between to prevent friction between the bones and absorb shock. In addition to providing central structure to our body, the spinal column also houses and protects our spinal cord. Our spinal cord is the vital link from our brain to every area of our body. Nerves come out from the spinal cord and through the vertebrae to all of our organs, muscles and other tissues. Everyday stress and tension to accidents and falls can cause the spinal column or other parts of the musculoskeletal system to become displaced, irritating the roots of the nerves. Such irritations can lead to pain, disease, and other malfunctions because your body isn’t getting all of the nerve impulses it needs from your brain to stay healthy.

Chiropractors locate the musculoskeletal regions of the body that are not functioning properly and make the necessary adjustments. Chiropractors will use traditional methods of diagnostic testing to identify the source of a problem, and they often provide counseling on nutrition, exercises, and other lifestyle issues affecting health and wellness. However, they choose not to prescribe any medications, nor do they perform any surgeries. Chiropractors use non-invasive techniques such as palpation, vertebral and/or extremity manipulations, and other modalities such as electric stimulation, hot/cold packs, ultrasound, and soft tissue work. This relieves irritation and pressure on the nerves, restores mobility of the joints, and aids in the restoration of the body’s ability to heal.

Vertebral Subluxation

A subluxation is when one or more of the spinal bones (vertebrae) are misaligned and causes stress on the spinal nerves. Your nervous system controls and coordinates all the functions of your body. If there is interference with the signals traveling through the nerves, parts of your body will not get the proper messages and will not be able to function at 100% of their innate abilities.

When a subluxation exists, it not only affects that bone, but there are a lot of other issues that are taking place in your spine and other areas of your body. There are 5 components to a vertebral subluxation which are the following: Osseous, Nerve, Muscle, Soft Tissue, and Chemical components.

The osseous (bone) component is the bone is not moving properly. The nerve component is the nerve having unwanted pressure applied to it decreasing the signals passing through it to other areas of the body. The muscles hold the vertebrae in place so if the bone is out of alignment the muscles react to it. Nerves also innervate the muscles and if the nerve loses some of its signal it will weaken that particular muscle. The soft tissue is the surrounding tissue that is affected such as the tendons, ligaments and blood supply. The chemical component is the last component and consists of chemical changes that actually occur in the body due to the other components of the subluxation.

After a subluxation has existed for a period of time, symptoms will occur. The person may experience pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness. In other cases, the symptoms may go unnoticed except that the person has poor posture, is more susceptible to colds, tires more quickly, or starts having problems with an internal organ.
Remember, the energy, which travels down the spinal cord and through the nerves, serves every area of the body. Therefore, any area of the body can be affected by a subluxation.

Chiropractors are the ONLY health professionals trained in the detection, location, and correction of subluxations.

Spinal Manipulation

Chiropractors use specific techniques to return the vertebrae into their proper positions. This restores proper motion and function and eliminates nerve irritation. These techniques are called spinal manipulations or adjustments. Once performed, the adjustment allows the restoration and maintenance of health.

The most common method of adjustment is called Diversified technique. With this method the practitioner physically moves the joint with a small fast impulse that causes a release/cavitation or what the patients often calls “popping or cracking”. The sound that the patient hears is a release of gas pressure within the joint when it resets itself during the adjustment.