Why Does Routine Chiropractic Care Matter?
By Dr. Molly Casey
Chiropractic basically means “done by hand.” The chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is a physical maneuver performed by a doctor of chiropractic to spinal and extremity joints. Today, although most adjustments are performed by hand, many techniques require instrumentation to deliver the procedure. What does the chiropractic adjustment or manipulation actually do?
Joints and Motion
An anatomical (physical) joint is the connection made between bones in the body. This connection is wrapped in tissue and has synovial fluid that lubricates and promotes proper movement. Different joints have different ranges, types and degrees of motion. These are specific to the type of joint and are based upon the forces and functions that joints perform.
Joints are often restricted in range of motion. These restrictions can occur because of normal wear and tear that we apply to our body through long days of sitting at a desk, crazy recreational sports, poor posture, or a multitude of other stressors. The restrictions can also occur when we experience trauma or heavy times of stress in life.
Increase Range of Motion
Chiropractic adjustments increase the range of motion of a restricted joint. Why is this important? Decreased joint range of motion not only poorly affects the structural function of the body, it can also negatively affect the nervous system (communication system) and brain patterns.
An example of decreasing the structural functioning of the body is if the low back (lumbar spine) is restricted in range of motion; you may not be able to bend over or twist and turn your back the way you desire. So picking up your kids, doing household chores and other daily activities become much harder.
Proprioception is the perception or awareness of the body’s position and movement in space. The more one’s body is able to gain and read proprioceptive information, the better it’s able to function. When the spinal joints become fixated or decreased in their range of motion, the amount of proprioceptive information headed to the brain is decreased and prohibited.
Chiropractic adjustments stimulate proprioceptive receptors. In addition, the increase and restoration of motion furthers the joint’s ability to perceive and send this information properly to the brain. In turn, this allows the brain and body to read and process outside information of the environment more effectively and ultimately helps the body function better.
Decrease Negative Input
The muscles and structures surrounding the spinal joints are consistently sending information to the brain through the spine. When a joint is fixated or restricted in range of motion, the information balance sent to the brain is skewed (as mentioned above) with the decrease in proprioceptive information.
In addition to stimulating proprioceptive receptors, the chiropractic adjustment decreases the activity of nociceptive receptors, which take in all sorts of negative or irritating stimuli and relate it to the brain -- this includes pain.
By restoring the joints’ ability to most efficiently take in outside information and send it to the brain (increasing proprioception), increasing optimal body function, whether it’s reaching out to a loved one or having a fight or flight response.
The bottom line is this: the chiropractic adjustment promotes balance and healing. The more frequently you allow a doctor of chiropractic to check and adjust your spine, the better your body is equipped to return to its natural state of balance and heal from undue stress that is a part of daily life. Drop into The Joint Chiropractic to see how we can help you help yourself.
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