Chiropractic adjustments offer more than just pain relief and good posture. They have a calibrating effect on joint alignment and movement which allows for optimal function of the nervous system. Considering that every organ and structure in the body is mediated by the nervous system, it stands to reason that proper body alignment promotes health in more ways than one.
By promoting optimal nerve function, chiropractic aids the body resist disease, not just treat it. Optimal nerve function and alignment contributes to better healing by the body, less mechanical sources of stress, less pain, and better sleep.
What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?
Also known as “spinal manipulation,” the chiropractic adjustment is the primary treatment modality of most chiropractors. It involves manipulation (or manual thrusts) of spinal and peripheral joints to improve their motion and alignment.
The motion and position of joints (especially spinal joints) influences the state of adjacent structures. This includes nerves, muscles, blood vessels, and other connective tissues.
Other modalities used in chiropractic include manual therapies, corrective exercise, and education. Chiropractors may also work with other types of practitioners to offer a larger scope of therapies such as massage and acupuncture. Because they are trained to assess dysfunction beyond their scope of practice, chiropractors can refer patients to other specialists when appropriate.
Why Focus on the Spine?
The spine hosts and protects the spinal cord, a section of the central nervous system (CNS) that connects to the brain and modulates nerves in the body. Spinal nerves exiting the spine eventually innervate all visceral organs, glands, smooth muscle, skeletal muscle, and cardiac muscle. This is why the spine is so important.
If spinal vertebrae are displaced or rest abnormally, physiological symptoms may arise from added tension on the exiting spinal nerves. Not only that, but vascular structures and connective tissues that support the spine itself are also subject to dysfunction and may elicit symptoms.
Misalignment and Adverse Joint Motion
Abnormal joint alignment and motion can result from dysfunctional movement from all aspects of everyday life including work, sleep, sports, and physical trauma.
The Workplace: Repetitive motions and awkward body positions are two detrimental aspects of many jobs. Over time, these can lead to chronic pain and many forms of musculoskeletal disorders.
Sleep: Awkward sleeping positions can alter joint function and cause pain. While not a major concern for youngsters, older individuals can certainly appreciate the importance of proper sleeping and the effect that this has on body mechanics.
Sports: Athletes and other active individuals are subject to acute joint injuries and dysfunction. It is important for them to allow for proper healing of such injuries before resuming other forms of strenuous physical activity.
Physical Trauma: Major traumatic injuries lead to extensive recovery. Depending on the type of trauma, joints can become injured and limit movement. Proper alignment and joint function are critical in these cases, as improper joint mechanics can do more harm than good.
Whether it is to treat an injury, improve athletic performance, or simply feel better, chiropractic has something to offer. Getting your body and nerves to function optimally will yield health benefits far beyond pain relief and good posture. If you are considering starting treatment, an Initial Chiropractic Exam with a licensed practitioner is the safest first step on your path to health and wellness.
- Gatterman, Meridel I. Foundations of Chiropractic: Subluxation. 2nd ed., Elsevier Mosby, 2005.
- Lefebvre, Ron, et al. “Evidence-Based Practice and Chiropractic Care.” Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 28 Dec. 2012, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3716373/.