How Does Chiropractic Work? The Easy to Understand Version!
To understand how Chiropractic works first we need to understand a little about how the body works.
The human body has been evolving genetically for thousands of years and we are ingeniously engineered in such a way that the body is a self-healing and self-regulating system. If this was not the case our species would have ended long ago because medicine is relatively new in the scheme of things.
Research says the average 5-year-old experiences approximately 2000 falls learning how to walk and navigate playgrounds. These micro traumas add up with each passing year so it’s no surprise by the time we reach adulthood our body’s mechanics would have altered somewhat, some worse than others. Imagine a Ferrari engine never having a tune-up… this is what Chiropractors see most of the time!
The Chiropractor’s main focus is to identify areas of dysfunction in the body and bring about the corrections needed for the body to work at it’s optimal best. Chiropractors do not introduce anything new or different just simply looking to reinstate what we are born with…. (in most cases) a perfectly balanced machine with all its parts working properly so it can self-regulate and self-heal.
The body’s ability to do this relies on its master control system, the nervous system. The nervous system sends and receives trillions of messages every microsecond making all the necessary adjustments ensuring your survival.…. It is the system that controls all systems. Without a properly functioning nervous system, you would not be able to digest food, have a heartbeat, have a thought or emotion or move any muscles in your body. In fact, anything you can think of, will be controlled and regulated by the nervous system.
When life first forms, the very first thing we see in an embryo is the nervous system- the brain, spinal cord and all its branching nerves. All the other organs such as the heart, spleen, lungs etc.. come much later.
As a Chiropractor, their focus is to “tune up” and removing all interferences to the nervous system. We have an ingenious design but our one of our vulnerabilities is our spine. Our spine has 2 conflicting jobs, one is to house and protect a big chunk of the nervous system and the other is to provide dexterity and flexibility. If it was just to protect the nervous system our spine would have been made from a single rod housing the nervous system but try doing up your shoelaces with that spine design! So the way the body gets around this dilemma is by having 24 moving segments that completely house the nervous system and allowing movement at the same time…… genius really!! These segments are called vertebrae and each bump in your spine represents a vertebra.
This design works perfectly except when these segments start to lose their normal relationship with each other… remember those 2000 falls I mentioned earlier?
Between each segment, a pair of nerves from your spinal cord leave the protection of the spine branching out into trillion of nerves reaching every single cell in your body. Your brain needs to be in constant communication with every cell in your body… right?
Commonly in most cases, existing nerves from the spine get irritated or worse trapped altering the communication between body and brain. The degree will depend on the severity of the entrapment. Imagine whilst on your mobile phone you are given critical instructions from your boss but just at the moment, you enter a tunnel and communication is fragmented getting half the information… now imagine being stuck in the tunnel indefinitely….. this is where most people sit when their nervous system is interfered with.
Our primary focus as Chiropractors is to get you out of the tunnel so to speak. Chiropractic initial and subsequent examinations primarily focus on the spine because this is where most of the communication breakdown occurs.
As Chiropractors, we often hear people say “it’s just a muscle problem”. Now that you understand the nervous system is the master and the muscle is the servant waiting to do the master’s bidding could a muscle problem really exist on its own? Remember the nervous system decides whether the muscle will be loose, tight, strong or weak. Whether it moves or not or if you can feel it or not. Quadriplegia is the sad example of when the nervous system is severely damaged no longer able to communicate effectively.
So how does the nervous system warn you of potential or existing damage? You guessed it ……PAIN! Pain is the number one reason people see a Chiropractor. The second most common reason people see a Chiropractor is to prevent pain.
If pain is a triggered by the nervous system wouldn’t it make more sense to look at this source as well as the end target such as a muscle?
Most low back pain, midback pain, neck pain, and headaches are predominantly nerve based and the solution lies within the mechanic of the spine which is why Chiropractors have such a great rate of success. No point chasing referred pain or compensatory pain…. identify the source and concentrate your efforts there.
Please note that pain from pathology/disease or from a traumatic injury such as a broken bone is not what I am referring to in this article.
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