Routine Chiropractic Care: Why Would I Need It?
In order to better answer this question we need to take a quick step back and understand what chiropractic is and what a chiropractor is trying to accomplish any time he or she makes an adjustment. Chiropractic is a holistic form of healthcare that seeks to relieve pressure and interference on the nervous system by making small adjustments to specific areas of the spine and/or extremities. Even though a chiropractor makes adjustments to the bones of the patient’s body they are doing this not necessarily for the health of the bones but for the proper function of the nervous system.
Our nervous system includes our brain and spinal cord, as well as the hundreds of nerves that branch off and travel all over our bodies. These nerves then control all the functions in our body including our muscles and even all our organs such as the: lungs, heart, eyes and stomach, just to name a few. Hopefully this helps you better understand what chiropractors are doing when they make adjustments and the importance that the nervous system has on all of the functions of our body. We can now talk about how these interferences, shifts to the vertebrae in your spine, occur.
The human body is made to be both protective and functional which means we have bones that are rigid/structural and between these bones we have joints which allow us to bend, ski, jump, sit, ride a bike, lift weights, swim, etc. If the human body was made to be purely protective we would have a thick tube of bone around our spinal cord and all of our organs. This would make us very unlikely to injure our bodies but would also mean that moving and doing all of the other activities that we do on a daily basis would be nearly impossible. So you see, because we consist of both bones and soft tissue/joints we are able to do all the amazing things I have listed above and more. Joints allow us to have greater movement but also mean that those bones can shift and move. Very often these bones move incorrectly and cause soft tissue swelling around those particular vertebrae. This in turn puts pressure on the nerves around them. This is what we call in the chiropractic world a subluxation; the misalignment of two or more adjacent vertebral segments that cause interference to the nerves in that area. Now that we’re clear about what a subluxation is let’s talk about what can cause them.
Subluxations can occur from three main ways: trauma, repetitive motion, and posture. Trauma is fairly self explanatory; something throws or shifts the body such as an automobile accident or a fall down the stairs. Repetitive motion is also fairly simple if your job or home life consists of several repeated actions in a day this type of subluxation is likely to occur. Examples of this would be a factory worker who has to pick up a part off a conveyor belt, turn to their left, and put it on a different conveyor belt hundreds of times a day. Another example is a stay-at-home mom who has to pick up her baby or babies numerous times a day to change them or get them in and out of their car seats. These both involve a lot of repeated actions that the person does over and over again. These motions can start to cause the bones in the spine or extremities to shift which in turn leads to subluxations in these areas. Last but not least we have posture. Postural subluxations are ones that nearly all of us suffer from but none of us think about. If you are someone that sits at a desk for multiple hours a day, several days each week, you have postural subluxations. If you are someone that works as a mechanic and uses tools over your head for multiple hours each week, you have postural subluxations. Postural subluxations occur from being in a specific position for an extended period of time.
I hope that upon reading up to this point that your eyes have begun to open about all the ways that your everyday life affects your spine and in turn your nervous system. I also hope that you have a better understanding of how we as chiropractors work to correct these issues. If you’ve had one or more of these subluxation types occur in your life, which nearly everyone does, please seek out a chiropractor before it is too late. Subluxations cause damage to the nerves and the joints in which they are found. If left unchecked, they will cause a continuous uneven wearing down that can lead to arthritis and joint damage. We are mobile, active beings and this is an amazing gift. However, if we don’t do some regular maintenance on ourselves, much like our cars if we don’t change the oil or rotate the tires on a regular basis, our bodies start to break down. The only difference between your body and your car is that if your car breaks down you have the option to get a new one but do you have the same option if your body breaks down?