What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system (nerves, muscles, bones and joints) and the effects of these disorders on general health. Special focus is often given to the spine, which houses the central nervous system. The nervous system controls or influences the function of the entire body. When there is dysfunction in the joints and movement in the spine/skeleton, the nervous system can also be affected. This can then lead to dysfunction in the nervous system, as well, and symptoms can begin to manifest (pain, numbness, tingling, muscle tension, indigestion, etc.).

When an interference in the spine/skeleton occurs, it is called an intersegmental joint dysfunction (ISJD) or a subluxation. This means that there is a change in the position and/or motion of the spine or joints of the body, causing the spine/joints to not move in a normal way. When the spine is affected, the spinal nerves in that area may behave abnormally. Nerves that send signals between the brain and body for muscle movement, pain sensation, and other bodily functions can be affected. This changes what your brain perceives about the body and alters the signals that the brain sends back.

What causes ISJD/subluxations?

ISJD/subluxations are caused by any stress or trauma (physical, mental, or chemical), big or small, that the body’s natural resilience cannot cope with or adapt to. A physical stress can result from a car accident, slipping on a wet floor, bad posture, work injury, or even birth trauma. Emotional stress can be the result of an inability to adapt to a stressful situation, or any other significant emotional trauma. Chemical trauma can originate from poor nutrition, misuse of prescription or illicit drugs, or environmental toxins. By irritating the nervous system, these dysfunctions interfere with, and reduce, your body’s ability to self-regulate, adapt, and heal.

If left untreated, in the early stages, an ISJD can affect muscles, ligaments, and sometimes nerves. You may not even notice the problem, other than some stiffness or muscle tension that comes and goes. If the condition is allowed to go untreated, your body will begin compensating in an attempt to help support the subluxated vertebra or joint. Any spinal imbalance will cause other areas of the spinal column to work harder in order to compensate for the area that is out of balance. Over time, the original problem, as well as these areas of compensation, will begin to wear out, break down, and degenerate. This can lead to pain, muscle stiffness, possible degeneration or herniation of the spinal discs, and potential arthritis of the spinal joints.