Have you ever wondered why chiropractic works? Most people, even those who have seen a chiropractor before, have never been given a good explanation of why the chiropractic adjustment makes them feel better. Hopefully this will give you a better understanding of how chiropractic helps millions feel great and stay out of pain!
Improves Joint Movement
The most basic effect the adjustment has is to improve the way the joints in the spine move. Remember the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz? Although I rarely see a patient whose joints are actually squeaking, I have seen lots of folks that are in need of a little “oil”. Rather than lubricating your joints chemically, the adjustment When normal motion is lost this leads to arthritis, disc bulges, and the joint pain and stiffness that countless people experience every day. The chiropractic adjustment is unique in that it is able to specifically target joints that are fixated, or not moving properly, and restore movement. This is why many people will notice an immediate improvement in the way they can turn their head or move their low back immediately after an adjustment.
Stimulates Pain Blocking Nerves
To explain this effect of the adjustment, we’ll condense several hundred hours of graduate level neurology into a few minutes. I have lots of incredibly boring textbooks that discuss this in great detail if you’d like to have more detail on the subject (strangely, nobody has every taken me up on this)! We have nerves in the body that cause pain (nociceptors) and nerves that block pain (mechanoreceptors). The pain blocking nerves are located in high concentration in the tiny muscles that attach between the bones in the spine. Research has shown that the quick stretch that takes place during the adjustment causes the pain blocking nerves to be stimulated, causing a decrease not only in pain but in muscle tightness and spasm as well.
Retrains the Joints
Next time you sign a receipt or a check, pay attention to how it feels. For most of us this is an act that is second nature, and we could do it with our eyes closed. Now take the same pen and try and sign your name with your left hand! If you’re like most people it will feel completely unnatural and look like the average first graders handwriting. Why is it that your dominant hand can write so effortlessly and smoothly, while the opposite hand feels awkward and uncoordinated? Both hands have the same birthday, and they connect to the same brain. Then why the difference? Because your writing hand has been TRAINED to perform that task! As we discussed, if an injury caused you to use your non-dominant hand to write, over time the handwriting would begin to look smooth and natural. This is a process called motor learning, or more simply, retraining the joints. This is EXACTLY want we want to accomplish with your spine! It is also the reason you will be adjusted relatively frequently for a short period of time in the acute phase of care. In order to retrain the joints, they must be treated with a certain frequency. If you were to practice writing once a year with your opposite hand would you ever really improve your signature? Of course not. It’s the same principle with the spine.