There are many reasons people seek chiropractic care - some for wellness, others for pain relief. The public is shying away from drugs and surgery, and demanding a less invasive-more holistic approach to health. This shift has heightened the awareness of chiropractic to where it is now the number three form of health care in the U.S. (behind medicine and dentistry). Still only 20% of the public has been to a chiropractor. This is possibly due to their unfamiliarity or lack of understanding of chiropractic treatment. Most people are very misinformed and have a distorted view of chiropractic. The following document addresses the most commonly asked questions about the chiropractic healing profession.
The science of chiropractic is based on the basic principal that normal body function is essential to health, and normal body function is directly dependent on a properly functioning nervous system. The nervous system is the primary governing system in your body; it controls every other body function - it controls your heart, your liver, your kidneys, everything! It is the very first system to be formed in the developing embryo, and it is responsible for the proper formation and development of all the other body systems. No organ or muscle system can function on it's own without proper input from the nervous system.
Your nervous system consists of your brain and spinal cord. So important is the nervous system that it is the only system in your body that is entirely encased in bone - i.e. your skull and vertebral column were designed to protect the nervous system from harm. But sometimes we sustain minor traumas throughout our lives that cause aberrations to our spine (and cranium... see the CFR section). This can cause the vertebrae to mis-align and put pressure on the nerve roots as they exit the spine, causing nerve interference. This often causes a "pinched nerve" and is frequently experienced as pain. Sometimes these misaligned vertebrae do not cause pain, but instead suppress the message being sent from the nerve root to what ever organ or muscle system that nerve innervates. This alters the function of those particular body parts so they no longer work at 100%, and sets up a state of dis-function which chiropractors call "dis-ease". Long term dis-ease leads to a slow breakdown in the functioning of that particular organ system and eventually gives rise to disease . . . and that is how people get sick!
Disease is not usually something you catch from the outside - it is the end result of long term dysfunction caused by nerve interference. In chiropractic, these mis-aligned vertabrae that cause nerve interference are called "Vertebral Subluxations". They sometimes cause pain, but always interfere (and alter) proper nerve flow. Subluxations are easily corrected and maintained with regular chiropractic adjustments. The chiropractor's job is to locate and remove these veterbral subluxations by gently "adjusting" the mis-aligned vertebrae back into proper position. By doing so, the chiropractor takes the pressure off the nerve, relieves your pain and restores normal function to the involved area. When your nervous system is working properly and the body is communicating with itself properly, for the most part, you will stay healthy.
So this is the basic principle of chiropractic, and it makes total sense! But occasionally people still tell me that they don't believe in chiropractic. I think it is safer to say that they just don't understand chiropractic. It's not really something you believe in or you don't, it's just the way the body works! Remember, the body is an amazingly intelligent machine which is fully capable of healing itself. It doesn't really need any help from the outside - it just needs no interference on the inside.
"The Body Heals, and the Doctor Gets the Credit". In chiropractic we understand this concept and work with it, always trying to facilitate and encourage normal body function through a properly functioning nervous system. In the words of Dr. Patch Adams, "Treat the patient, not the disease." Doesn't that make sense?
Remember, it is so much easier to stay well then it is to try and get well - and just because you are not sick, doesn't necessarily mean that you are healthy. So stay well and get Adjusted - for the Health of it!
In The Interest of Better Health,
Dr. Adam J. Del Torto, DC, QME