Chiropractic has always been concerned with the overall health of the person. It has sought to correct the cause rather than supress the symptom. At the root of chiropractic is the term subluxation. When you visit a chiropractor’s office and get adjusted, a subluxation is the “what” a chiropractor adjusts. So, what is a subluxation?
In simplest terms, a subluxation (a.k.a. Vertebral Subluxation) is when one or more of the bones of your spine (vertebrae) become locked. This may include some form of misalignment in the spine. Once the joints have been locked up there are two processes that occur simultaneously. The first of which are localized tissue changes. There is inflammation of the spinal joints causing irritation and muscle spasm. This is what usually produces the symptoms that bring people to a chiropractor. If this subluxation is not corrected, it will lead to premature degeneration or arthritis in the spinal joints as well as deterioration of the intervertebral discs. Sca tissue formation will also occur in the joint as well as fibrosis in the surrounding muscle tissue. In essence, like a cavity in a tooth, the longer this process continues, the worse it gets until it eventually becomes fused and permanent. The second process is more of a system wide process. You see, every time you move a joint in your body, our body send positive messages into your brain which stimulate your brain areas for learning, relaxation, pleasure, affect (mood) and reverses the stress process. This is called proprioception. Approximately 80% of the nerves that carry proprioceptive messages come from the spinal joints. Thus, when you have one or several spinal joints that are not moving, this creates a movement deficiency and thus stresses your body. Even worse, once the joints are locked they begin to send negative stress messages called nociception into your brain which stimulate your stress system and begin to contribute to overall decline in health and wellness. This is how chiropractic adjustments can affect overall health and wellbeing.
It is the responsibility of the Doctor of Chiropractic to locate subluxations, and reduce or correct them. This is done through a series of chiropractic adjustments specifically designed to correct the vertebral subluxations in your spine. Chiropractors are the only professionals who undergo years of training to be the experts at correcting subluxations.