By Dr. Adam J. Friedman, Margate / Coconut Creek – I was thinking about what to write for my next blog post; headaches, whiplash, numbness and tingling, pregnancy, chiropractic care vs. the use of NSAIDS, all sorts of topics were going through my head. Then I thought to myself, what about the basics, do people know “how does chiropractic work”?
Most people seek out chiropractic care because they begin to feel symptoms of pain, mainly in their neck or back, muscles get tight, backs go out or they start to feel pain going into a leg or arm. How does this form of treatment actually work though? Are there benefits of receiving chiropractic care that go beyond just symptom relief? How does chiropractic care compare to other healthcare options?
The best way to start talking about chiropractic care is to first start the conversation of how the nervous system actually works. When it comes down to it, we have three separate parts; the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems.
The central nervous system very simply includes the brain and spinal cord. Its function is to gather information from all over the body, coordinate activity, essentially making it the main processing portion of the nervous system.
The Central, Peripheral and Autonomic Nervous Systems
Think of the spinal cord as a multi-lane highway that shuttles information to the brain for processing (sensory portion) and then, in turn, returns information back to the hands, fingers, legs, toes and feet from which the information originated (motor portion).
For example, every activity we do, whether it be running, walking or completing a typical house chore requires constant input to and from the central nervous system so we can adjust our balance and ultimately not fall. These “sensory-motor pathways” are crucial in allowing us to complete our daily tasks in an efficient, safe manner as the information is consistently bouncing back and forth between the brain and the rest of your body.
It’s crucial that these signals go back and forth without interruption and this is where chiropractic care shines.
The peripheral nervous system refers to the parts of the nervous system that are outside the central nervous system, that is, those outside the brain and spinal cord. The PNS also includes, like the CNS, a “two-way street” system relaying information back and forth from our arms and legs to the spinal cord.
To add to this whole convoluted conversation, we also have reflexes that allow us to rapidly take our body out of harm’s way, when needed. Reflexes actually allow the information to essentially pass over the brain’s processing part so quicker movements can occur.
The autonomic nervous system includes both the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions that basically control our main organ functions like breathing, heart rate, digestion, hormonal output, and more.
The parasympathetic nervous system controls homeostasis and the body at rest and is responsible for the body’s “rest and digest” function.
The sympathetic nervous system, on the other hand, controls the body’s responses to perceived threats and is responsible for the “fight or flight” response.
There is constant communication between the ANS, PNS and CNS that allow us to function in a normal, balanced way, unless of course, something disrupts them.
Disruption of Communication between the CNS, PNS and ANS
There are many serious neurological disorders that interfere with this communication, which would be considered “obvious” reasons for delayed or blocked neurotransmission; however, there are many other, less obvious injuries or conditions that can result in faulty nerve transmission of which chiropractic care can benefit.
The term SUBLUXATION is what most chiropractors use to describe the compromised nerve transmission from your CNS to the rest of your body. A nerve can become compressed or irritated due to inappropriate or fault bony alignment and/or joint positioning along the nerve’s course.
If one were to look at the spine from behind, ideally, you would like to have each spinal joint lined up perfectly with the ones above and below; this will allow for maximum joint mobility, while greatly reducing the possibility of nerve irritation.
What chiropractors are so good at is our tactile ability (typically referred to as palpation) to identify misalignments of the spine resulting in muscle imbalance and in most instances PAIN.
We can identify these areas and provide a specific, precise chiropractic adjustment where the bony position is restored to normal via a short-levered, gentle manipulation. Reducing or eliminating the nerve compression typically allows for a restoration of function.
Given the minimal side-effect risks and well-reported benefits, it only makes sense to try chiropractic FIRST. It’s cost effective, far less invasive than traditional medical management and can have other wide ranging positive effects on the body as a whole that the patient didn’t necessarily come in for.
Related – Learn how Chiropractic addresses Back Pain
As a Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa graduate I truly believe that I received the best possible training to offer the most precise chiropractic adjustments. Through consultation, exam, x-ray findings and palpation of the area of complaint I am supremely confident that the chiropractic care I provide will aid most patients in returning to optimum health.
When delivered in an exact manner, there are few things more powerful than a chiropractic adjustment in relation to restoration of health. If you’re in pain, don’t wait any longer, schedule an appointment today and let’s get you back in action!
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