What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these conditions on general health. It is a natural health care discipline which emphasizes the inherent ability of the body to heal itself without drugs or surgery. The practice of chiropractic focuses heavily on the relationship between the structure of the spine and the function of the nervous system, which consists of the brain, the spinal column, the spinal cord, and the spinal nerves. Why is your nervous system important? Every inch of your body is covered with nerves! Through this network system, the brain is able to communicate messages to the rest of the body to keep it healthy and vibrant with life. Chiropractic works because you are a self-healing, self-regulating organism controlled by your nervous system. However, this communication system can be disrupted by a subluxation.
What is a Subluxation?
Misalignment of an individual bone (vertebra) in the spine is known as a vertebral subluxation. Subluxated joints are noted by improper motion, position and tension. Subluxations can interfere with vital exchange of neurological information and thus, compromise the function of all systems and tissues controlled by the nervous system, leading to a variety of health complications. Pain is often one of the most common indicators of a subluxation, although not all subluxations are accompanied by pain. Health conditions such as high blood pressure, headaches, indigestion etc, may be your body’s way of signaling to you that there is no longer proper regulation of the nervous system. It is important to understand that the chiropractic doctor seeks to find and treat the cause of the complaint (ie: subluxation) and not to treat the effect of it (symptoms or disease). We look for the subluxation and correct it; thereby, eliminating the cause, and as a result, symptoms improve. In our daily lives, there are various opportunities for subluxations to arise.
What are the Causes of a Subluxation?
Subluxations are most commonly caused by three factors: Trauma, Stress, and Toxins.
Trauma – Trauma is the most easily understood cause of subluxations. It is a direct injury to the vertebral segment causing it to misalign. Trauma is separated into macro-trauma and micro-trauma.
- Macro-trauma – Car accidents, falls, playing contact sports, and other types of activity that result in direct jolts to your body are categorized as macro-trauma. When these types of injuries are severe, they cause fractures and dislocations, but often times, moderate injuries will cause ligament tears and sprains which result in the crucial ligaments that stabilize your joints to become overstretched. This allows the bones connected to those ligaments to move past their usual limit producing a misalignment.
- Micro-trauma – This type of trauma is not as easily noticeable and is built up over a longer period of time. Most microtrauma cause a low level of inflammation that cannot be seen or felt. These injuries can arise in muscles, ligaments, vertebrae, and discs, either alone or in combination. Repetitive microtrauma which are not allowed time to heal can result in the development of more serious conditions. Bad posture is the most common example of micro-trauma. Sitting and sleeping posture can result in slow progressive back and neck pain that if left untreated will result in arthritis and degeneration in the spine.
Stress – Most of us have learned that stress is one of the most common causes of disease. Stress, like all of our body’s functions, is controlled by our nervous system. In ancient times, this system was designed to defend against predators. Commonly known as our fight or flight system, it was meant to do just that, but in today’s world of deadlines and hectic environments in both the business world as well as the home, our stress system is overwhelmed and our body’s balance of stress/de-stress becomes distorted. The symptoms of stress can include sleeplessness, anxiety, irritability, weight gain, and muscle imbalances-- all of which are controlled by our nervous system. Have you ever felt that you have all these knots in your neck in back after a stressful day? They are often caused by an improperly working nervous system affecting all the nerves connecting to these muscles. Left unchecked, more serious symptoms may develop.
Toxins – When compared to many European and North American countries, China still has much to learn about toxins and how it affects its people’s health. Just walking down the street, a person is exposed to heavy air pollution, and often paint fumes and fruit sellers spraying pesticides. The tap water often tastes as horrible as it smells, and Chinese “Bai Jiu” (a strong alcohol spirit) isn’t doing your liver any favors. On top of all this, the second-hand smoke is just about everywhere. Although you may not be feeling the effects of any of these because your body is filtering these toxins out, over extended exposure, these toxins build up and cause continuous micro-stress to your body. Once these stressors accumulate to a sufficient amount, your nervous system reacts and the result is the same as what was described in the section above. Our body uses fat cells as storage for toxins. As our toxins increase, our body needs to create more fat cells in order to keep up with toxin storage. Weight gain is a good indicator that you may be accumulating more toxins than your body can eliminate. A properly working nervous system is necessary for eliminating toxins. Adjustments help regulate this nervous system as well as boost your immune system so your body can perform at its highest.
What is an Adjustment?
The primary treatment that separates chiropractic from other medical professions is the chiropractic adjustment. To correct a subluxation, the chiropractor manually applies a specific, directed force to the vertebra of concern, thereby restoring proper motion and eliminating nerve irritation between the brain and bodily organs. Once the correction has been made, the body has an innate ability to heal itself from within. Adjustments are safe and very effective.
X-ray Right: As soon as the correction was made, the body’s own ability to heal began. The curve was restored, proper function was returned, and this patient’s headaches and neck pain were relieved.
Who Should See a Chiropractor?
If you are living in pain or discomfort due to a health condition, chiropractic care may be very beneficial to you. Unfortunately, pain isn't always a good indicator of a problem. Just as in cases of heart attack or cancer, most people don't even know that there is a problem until the situation has progressed significantly. That is why we recommend everyone get checked for subluxations to make sure their nervous system is functioning at its best. Chiropractic care can contribute to a healthier lifestyle, even in young children, pregnant women, and older patients. Professional athletes, musicians and other top performers often seek the care of a chiropractor to help them perform at their best. Give your body a healing chance with chiropractic care!
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