So, what is chiropractic and how does it actually impact my health and wellness? Glad you asked…
Chiropractic is a unique approach to health maintenance through the detection and removal of bodily misalignments. We use the term “subluxation” to describe these misalignments, which simply means a deviation from normal placement which is less than a full dislocation.
We as chiropractors work primarily with the spine, primarily by hand. We do this because it is the central structure of the body both musculoskeletally, and neurologically. It has to be very strong, even supporting over half your body weight at the lumbar spine, yet also very mobile where it can take the demands of life to twist, bend, stretch, and compress. These two physical requirements (motion and strength) are at odds with each other, so there is a fine‐tuned balance the spine is designed to have. This mechanical/ musculoskeletal aspect is why so many professional and collegiate athletes and teams have chiropractors in their corner, because they have titles or potentially millions of dollars riding on how they perform, and they want to do so in perfect balance.
Imbalances and negative patterns in the spine are going to be caused by a combination of your make‐up (how you’re put together), and your stressors like accumulated slips, trips, falls, your toxic load from stuff you eat, drink, breathe, absorb, and the repetitive lifestyle stresses of how you work, play, sleep, drive. Some of these stressors we can get rid of, but some we cannot. This becomes a problem because when the structure of the spine is displaced, the nerve communication is inhibited.
The control system of the body is the nervous system. It works by the brain sitting atop the spine communicating and orchestrating every function of every organ, gland, muscle, cell, and tissue either directly or indirectly. It does this by sending information down the spinal cord and peripheral nerves at almost 250 mph, 24/7! The skull is to protect the brain, and the vertebrae are supposed to protect the spinal cord while still allowing the needed motions of life. The body tissues then perform their task, all while constantly communicating back to the brain for regulation. THIS IS WHERE HEALTH COMES FROM!
Health is your body’s ability to properly take stimuli and stress, and appropriately adapt to those demands.
We tend to think of pain or symptoms to be the problem because of our engrained allopathic healthcare model, but in reality, pain is the body’s “warning light” that something is off; it is the body saying: “Stop! Look at me! Deal with me! Address this!” Nociception (pain sensation) is estimated to be less than 9% of the body’s communication. The other communication is all the other data that the body needs to perform.
Nervous tissue is unique. It is a soft, flexible, fatty insulated tissue that needs to be slack, and bathed in nutrient‐rich fluid. Neurologists currently are estimating that there are 77 Trillion nerve fibers passing through the top of the spine! The central nervous system is so soft that you could poke your finger into a brain, or even tear a peripheral nerve root with your hands. It is not meant to be under long‐term tension, compression, rotation, or sheering forces. This is where we come in as chiropractors.
We want to find areas of imbalance and misalignment, gently put a force into the direction of correction, then let the body respond appropriately.
We are the only profession doing what we do, and how, and why. When we put specific favorable force into the spine, we interrupt some of the musculoskeletal patterns of tension and inflammation that can cause pain, but more importantly we open communication from brain to body, and allow the wisdom that heals the body to pass through uninhibited. This in‐born wisdom is the only thing that ever does heal the body.
If you break a bone and the ambulance takes you to the hospital, and the Dr. gives you meds and a cast, 6 weeks later you’re magically healed, right? Well, all of that was helpful, but it wasn’t the ambulance, hospital, Dr., meds, or even the cast that healed you. It was your own body knowing exactly what to do to repair itself. In fact, all of that other stuff was just to help facilitate by helping you cope and stay out of your body’s own way. This is the vital wisdom we want everyone to have communicating freely within their body.
Now there may be the “miracle” cases where one adjustment to the spine is given and some chronic deficiency is restored immediately, but more often than not…
Chiropractic is delivered in a way of promoting a wellness lifestyle where just like eating right, exercising, learning a new skill, or even taking medicine, we are trying to break old body patterns and create new ones.
This takes time and repetition. Instead of imbalance being your “normal”, we want new patterns of dynamic responsive symmetry to be your “new normal”, wherever physically possible. It will always be of great benefit to correct imbalance on anybody of any age who experiences any of the stressors we talked about before.
When there are structural imbalances, gentle corrective force should be the starting point of positive approaches. Additional treatments addressing soft tissue response like heat, stretch, ice, massage, rest, muscle‐stim, or anti‐inflammants can be very helpful to amplify what we do, but can’t affect the structure or the nervous system in the same way that we do when we adjust the spine.
The ultimate goal is to have a well population not seeking chiropractic as some sort of hopeful aspirin always trying to regain lost ground and chasing a symptom, but as an effective and affordable, safe approach to health maintenance through the routine checking of the spine and nervous system.
Life has its stress, we want to help undo the effects of these stresses on the body before health concerns or symptoms arise from the imbalance of the body. My family is typically on a 7‐day cycle of work, school, play, rest, workout, sports, and house‐work. For this reason we get checked once per week for misalignments; to interrupt the stress patterns on the body before they ever present with symptoms.
Every man, woman, and child is different, and has different life experiences. This is why we each need our own specific and unique adjustments. This is my goal as a chiropractor: To provide safe, effective, gentle, affordable, routine, family, wellness chiropractic care.
Your health advocate,