In recent years, chiropractic has become the most popular drug-free health profession in the world. More than 25 million Americans, and many more millions globally, have benefited from chiropractic care. But what is chiropractic, and how does it work? Furthermore, what conditions does chiropractic treat?
The focus of this healing art is the nervous system, which comprises the brain, the spine, and the spinal nerves. These nerves exit the vertebrae, the individual bones of the back, and run to every single part of the body. Their purpose is to relay messages from the brain to every aspect of the body allowing each component to function. An improperly functioning nerve would not relay its messages properly resulting in a malfunction of the intended segment.
This could be perceived as pain or numbness of a limb such as in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In an athlete, it could manifest in muscle weakness, thus decreasing performance. In children, this nerve compromise could increase chances of ear infections or hyperactivity. The symptoms are so diverse because the function of the nerves is so diverse. When the nerve flow is compromised, we call this nerve stress. But what would cause nerve stress?
A leading cause of nerve stress is misalignment of the spine. When the vertebrae become misaligned, it compromises the nerve flow as the nerve is exiting the vertebral column. The medical term for spinal misalignment is vertebral subluxation.
What causes vertebral subluxations? Subluxations result from any type of stress on the body, whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or chemical. They can occur as early as in newborns during the birthing process. Other examples of physical stress would be auto accidents, sports injuries, poor posture, or poor sleeping habits. Mental or emotional stress would result from the loss of a loved one, home or job pressure, or any other type of anxiety, and chemical stress could be due to poor diet or drug use.
Uncorrected vertebral subluxations will eventually lead to a breakdown of the bodily systems and a state of "dis-ease". You would experience this in the form of pain, weakness, numbness, or a malfunctioning organ or body part. In addition, an uncorrected subluxation will eventually culminate in degeneration of the vertebrae themselves, a disease we know as osteoarthritis.
So, how do we correct these vertebral subluxations? A visit to the chiropractor will determine the location of the spinal nerve stress during a spinal analysis. Afterwards, Chiropractors deliver spinal adjustments at the site of these subluxations to correct them. During the adjustment, a measured force is delivered to the specific vertebra that is misaligned to eliminate or reduce the nerve stress that is present. Most Chiropractors use their hands to adjust patients, but other manners of adjustments can also be incorporated.
Relieving the body of subluxations is a valuable and significant way to maintain proper health. Americans accept engaging in regular dental checkups to maintain their dental health. Now, we must realize that regular chiropractic checkups are even more important, for what is more vital to one's health, your teeth or your spine? The answer should be quite obvious. Therefore, getting regular chiropractic checkups at every age is vital to uphold a healthy spine, which, in turn, will help to sustain a strong body and healthy lifestyle.