What is a subluxation and what causes them?
To understand chiropractic you first have to understand how the body works. Our bodies have the knowledge and ability ( chiropractors call this "Innate Intelligence") to keep us healthy. This power controls heart rate, breathing, digestion and every other vital function. Instructions from your brain via the spinal cord are sent to every organ and cell in your body. If the instructions are received and followed properly, your body is able to reach and maintain its optimum level of health. However, if there is any interference with the transmission of those instructions the result is less-than-optimum health. Your body can no longer function normally.
Messages to and from the brain are electrical and chemical impulses traveling along a complex system of nerve fibers including the spinal cord, which extends from the base of the skull down the center of the back. The system is protected by the spinal column -- sometimes called the backbone -- which forms a "tunnel" of small interlocking bones called vertebrae. Spaces between the bones allow nerves to branch off to various parts of the body. This tunnel has to be strong enough to safeguard the nerves from injury, but flexible enough to allow the body to bend and move freely.
You have over 200 bones in your body. Where these bones come together, either in the spinal column or elsewhere in the body, they form a "joint" or articulation which allows you to move, while maintaining a protective structure for your nerves and other sensitve organs and systems. These joint areas are where subluxations may occur. The vertebral subluxation is an alteration of the normal position and/or motion of the spinal bones. This alteration creates interference to vital nerve signals on their way to and from the brain.
Vertebral subluxation can be caused by any type of stress that is greater than the body can handle. Physical stresses such as falls, accidents, a difficult birth, sports, computer work or long car rides can strain the muscles, ligaments and joints, causing spinal subluxation. Chemical stresses such as pollutants and toxins can create cellular weakness that can disturb the body and cause nerve irritation. Emotional stresses from common life demands can cause an overall tightening of the muscular system and therefore cause spinal strain.
The purpose of chiropractic is to locate and correct subluxations. Detecting subluxations is a complicated and exacting science. A large part of a chiropractor's education deals with how to locate and analyze improper placement and motion of the vertebrae and adjacent structures of the body.
Chiropractors give spinal adjustments to correct subluxations. Although there are several different adjusting techniques, they all accomplish the same thing. They restore the joint or vertebrae to their normal postion or function so that the nerve flow can resume its normal course. The instructions being sent throughout the body by Innate Intelligence can once again reach their destinations without interference.
Many experience the positive effects of the chiropractic adjustment immediately as decreased pain and increased range of motion with improved overall body function. When senitivity of the body improves, awareness of the condition of the body also improves, which may lead to some temporary discomfort as the body attempts to change.