To understand chiropractic, you first have to understand a little about the way the body works.
When you were born, your body knew exactly what to do to keep
you healthy. It knew how fast your heart should beat, how often your lungs should breathe, how you should digest your food, and a million other things about its own functions. Your body knew all this because it (and every other living thing) possesses what is called innate intelligence. This is the knowledge our bodies are born with knowledge that no school can teach!
from your innate intelligence are sent to every organ and cell in your body. If the instructions are received and followed properly, your body is able to reach and
maintain its optimum level of health.
However, if there is any interference with the transmission of those instructions the result is less-than-optimum health. Your body can no longer function normally. It is said to be in a state of "dis-ease."
All messages to and from the brain are electrical impulses traveling along a complex system of nerve fibers called the spinal cord, which extends from the base of the skull down the center of the back. It is protected by the spinal column -- sometimes called the backbone -- which forms a "tunnel" of small interlocking bones called vertebrae. Spaces between the bones allow nerves to branch off to various parts of the body.
This tunnel has to be strong enough to safeguard the nerves from injury, but flexible enough to allow the body to bend and move freely.
For the most part, the spinal column does a great job. But sometimes, one or more bones get out of proper alignment. The spaces between the bones might close up or the bones might rub against and irritate one of the nerves.
A spinal bone which has lost its normal placement or alignment is said to be "subluxated." The impulses traveling along the nerve past a subluxated bone can become distorted. This is what causes interference with the instructions sent by Innate Intelligence to a part of the body.
Subluxation = Interference = Dis-ease
The sole purpose of chiropractic is to locate and correct subluxations. Detecting subluxations is a complicated and exacting science. A large part of a chiropractor's education deals with how to locate and analyze improper placements of the vertebrae. Even though education is similar to that of medical doctors, what truly differentiates doctors of chiropractic
from any other healthcare professionals is the fact that chiropractors are the only professionals who are trained to diagnose and treat spinal subluxations. Educational requirements to receive a Doctorate of Chiropractic degree are a minimum of eight years of study. That includes a four year undergraduate degree with two years of pre-professional studies. The studies include chemistry, physics, biology, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pediatrics, dermatology and genetics. Before being able to graduate, a one year clinical internship must be completed. After graduation, four national and state examinations (In the state they plan to practice in) must be passed before their license is obtained. Chiropractic and medical school curricula are extremely rigorous and virtually identical. In fact, chiropractors have more hours of classroom education than their medical counterparts. Just like medical doctors, chiropractors are professionals that are subject to the same type of testing procedures, licensing, and monitoring by state and national peer-reviewed boards. The biggest difference between chiropractors and medical doctors lies not in their level of education, but in their preferred method of caring for people. Medical doctors are trained in the use of medicines (chemicals that affect your internal biochemistry) and surgery. Consequently, if you have a chemical problem, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism or an infection, medical doctors can be very helpful. However, if your problem is that your spine is mis-aligned or you have soft tissue damage causing pain, there is not chemical in existence that can fix it. You need a physical solution to correct a physical problem.
That is where chiropractic really shines.
Chiropractors give spinal adjustments to correct subluxations. Although there are several different adjusting techniques, they all accomplish the same thing. They "unlock" the misplaced vertebra from its improper position, and allow it to shift back into normal alignment. When the vertebrae are allowed to return to their proper alignment, the nerve flow can resume its normal course. The instructions being sent throughout the body by Innate Intelligence can once again reach their destinations without interference.
There are actually five components that contribute to the vertebral subluxation complex
Bone Component-where the vertebra is either out of position, not moving properly, or are undergoing degeneration. This frequently leads to a narrowing of the spaces between the bones through which the nerves pass; often resulting in irritation or impingement of the nerve itself.
Component-is the disruption of the normal flow of energy along the nerve fibers, causing the messages traveling along the nerves to become distorted. The result is that all of the tissues that are fed by those nerves receive distorted signals from the brain and, consequently, are not able to function normally. Over time, this can lead to a whole host of conditions, such as peptic ulcers, constipation and other organ system dysfunction.
Component-since nerves control the muscles that help hold the vertebrae in place, muscles have to be considered to be an integral part of the vertebral subluxation complex. In fact, muscles both affect, and are affected by the VSC. A subluxation can irritate a nerve, the irritated nerve can cause a muscle to spasm, the spasmed muscle pulls the attached vertebrae further out of place, which then further irritates the nerve and you have a vicious cycle. It is no wonder that very few subluxations just go away by themselves.
Component-the VSC will also affect the surrounding tendons, ligaments, blood supply, and other tissues as the misaligned vertebrae tug and squeeze the connective tissue with tremendous force. Over time, the soft tissues can become stretched out or scarred, leaving the spine with either a permanent instability or restriction.
Component-is the change in the chemistry of the body due to the VSC. Most often, the chemical changes, such as the release of a class of chemicals called "kinins," are pro-inflammatory; meaning that they increase inflammation in the affected area.
Sometimes the first subluxations occur at birth. How can that occur? According to Abrham Towbin, MD:
"the birth process… is potentially a traumatic, crippling event… mechanical stress imposed by obstetrical manipulation-even the application of standard orthodox procedures may prove intolerable to the fetus…. Most signs of neonatal injury observed in the delivery room are neurological…"
Larry Wester D.C. founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association said," The spine and infant health with the birth process becoming more and more an intervening procedure, the chiropractic adjustment becomes even more important to the child's future.
Research is confirming chiropractor's observations that infants may suffer from spinal subluxations. In one study, 1250 babies were examined 5 days after birth. 211 of them suffered form vomiting, hyperactivity and sleeplessness and subluxations were found in 95% of this group. Although the researchers of this study were MD's they recognized the power of chiropractic care and these babies were given the spinal care they needed. The authors reported that the spinal adjustment
"frequently resulted in immediate quieting, cessation of crying, muscular relaxation and sleepiness."
The authors noted that an unhealthy spine causes
"many clinical features from central motor impairment to lower resistance to
infections especially ear, nose and throat infections."
The above study discusses an 18-month old boy suffering from tonsillitis, frequent enteritis, therapy-resistant conjunctives, frequent colds, earache and increasing sleeping problems. He received a chiropractic spinal adjustment. The child demanded to be put to bed and slept peacefully until morning. His health returned to normal. One wonders what would have happened to this child if he never had spinal care. A life of antibiotics and other medicines?
The author of the above-mentioned study concluded that a chiropractic spinal check-up
"should be obligatory after every difficult birth and any spinal stress should be adjusted; the success of adjustment overshadows every other type of care."
These changes get progressively worse over time if they are not treated correctly, leading to chronic pain, inflammation, arthritis, muscle trigger points, the formation of bone spurs, loss of movement, as well as muscle weakness and spasm.
Chiropractors have known the dangers of the vertebral subluxation complex ever since the birth of the profession. More and more scientific research is demonstrating the tremendous detrimental impact that subluxation have on the tissue of the body. In order to be truly healthy, it is vital that your nervous system be functioning free of interference from subluxations. Chiropractors are the only health professionals trained in the detection, location, and correction of the vertebral subluxation complex through chiropractic care.
As you can see from the diagram below, the body's processes are intrinsically linked with the spinal column. Chiropractic care can offer the missing pieces to achieve your body's wellness potential.…It is effective for a wide variety of conditions. The following is a partial list of some of the most common.
High Blood Pressure
Immune System Problems
Lower Back Pain
Slipped Disc (herniation)
Spine & Disc Degeneration
Many years ago, dentists have done an excellent job conveying to everyone that the best time to go to the dentist is before your teeth hurt, that routine dental care will help your teeth remain healthy for a long time. The same is true of chiropractic care for your spine. It is important to remember that, just like your teeth, your spine experiences normal wear and tear as you walk, drive, sit, lift, sleep, and bend. Routine chiropractic care can help you feel better, move with more freedom, and stay healthier throughout your lifetime. Although you can enjoy the benefits of chiropractic care even if you receive care for a short time, the real benefits come into play when you make chiropractic care a part of your wellness lifestyle.