What Do Chiropractors Do?
What truly differentiates doctors of chiropractic from any other healthcare provider is the fact that chiropractors are the only professionals who are trained to diagnose and treat what are called spinal subluxations. The word “subluxation” comes from the Latin words sub meaning “somewhat/slight” and luxare which means “to dislocate”. So the term vertebral subluxation literally means a slight dislocation or misalignment of the bones in the spine.
When a subluxation occurs, a chiropractor can correct the misaligned bone and allow it to return to its proper position using a procedure called an adjustment. The chiropractic adjustment is a gentle thrust applied to a vertebra for the purpose of correcting its position, movement, or both. By returning bones in their correct places, pressure is taken off nerves and muscles and proper blood flow can return to the area. The result is that the patient will begin to notice a decrease of pain but an increase in flexibility and relief. Several adjustments over a course of time may be necessary to keep the body functioning properly – in the chiropractic world, keeping the problem fixed and preventing its re-occurrence is just as important as the initial remedy.
Components of Chiropractic
- This is when the vertebrae (or other bones of the body) are either out of position, not moving properly, or are undergoing degeneration. This frequently leads to a narrowing of the spaces between the bones through which the nerves pass; often resulting in irritation or impingement of the nerve itself.
- The disruption of the normal flow of energy along the nerve fibers can cause the messages traveling along the nerves to become distorted. The result is that all of the tissues that are fed by those nerves receive distorted signals from the brain and, consequently, are not able to function normally. Over time, this can lead to a many different conditions, such as peptic ulcers, constipation, and other organ system dysfunction.
- Muscles both affect and are affected by the vertebral subluxation complex (VSC). A misalignment can irritate a nerve, the irritated nerve can cause a muscle to spasm, the spasmed muscle pulls the attached vertebrae further out of place, which then further irritates the nerve. This can result in a vicious cycle of pain and irritation which is why subluxations do not go away on their own.
- As the misaligned vertebrae tug and squeeze the connective tissue of the back with a tremendous force, tendons, ligaments, blood supply, and other tissues can be affected. Over time, these soft tissues can become stretched out or scarred, leaving the spine with either a permanent instability or restriction.
- The chemistry of the body can change due to the VSC. Most often, the chemical changes are pro-inflammatory, meaning that they increase inflammation in the affected area.
These changes can get progressively worse over time if they are not treated correctly. This can lead to chronic pain, inflammation, arthritis, muscle trigger points, the formation of bone spurs, loss of movement, or muscle weakness and spasm. Chiropractors have known the dangers of the vertebral subluxation complex ever since the birth of the profession. More and more scientific research is demonstrating the tremendously detrimental impact that subluxation has on the tissue of the body. In order to be truly healthy, it is vital that your nervous system be functioning free of interference from misalignments. Chiropractors are the only health professionals trained in the detection, location, and correction of the vertebral subluxation complex through chiropractic care.