When most people think of chiropractic, they think of bones and joints. Some people even jokingly refer to us as the “bone-crunchers”. True, we do spend a lot of time adjusting joints, but the real basis of chiropractic actually lies in the nervous system.
The nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. It literally controls every function in your body. Nerves to muscles tell them to contract and produce movement. Nerves to glands control the secretion of hormones, which go on to control many bodily functions. Nerves to the skin, eyes, and ears allow you to experience the world.
As you can see, a properly functioning nervous system is crucial to overall health. It is so important, in fact, that the brain and spinal cord are encased and protected by the skull and vertebral column. Each of the vertebrae are designed to move a certain amount in each direction. Occasionally these vertebral joints can become “stuck” due to injury or poor posture. Without proper movement, the joint doesn’t get as much blood circulation. Waste products begin to build up, and the joint begins to get inflamed. The inflammation and swelling start to irritate the nerves that exit through the holes on the side of the spine. At this point, a person will often begin to feel symptoms of pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness. Depending on which organs the affected nerves are going to, the patient may also experience other symptoms like heart palpations and constipation.
So how can chiropractic help? A chiropractor specializes in evaluating the joints of the spine for proper movement. When an area of restricted motion is found, we use our hands to provide a quick, gentle thrust in order to restore motion. This is called an “adjustment”. Once the joint can move freely, inflammation decreases, the nerves stop being irritated, and symptoms diminish.