How a Chiropractic Adjustment Works

By Michael Cole

The whole premise of chiropractic therapy rests upon the idea that when bones are displaced from their natural positions, particularly those in the spine, they push against nerves and cause pain throughout the body. If the bones are adjusted back to their normal resting places, the pain is relieved. 

In chiropractic-speak, these bone displacements are called subluxations when applied to the vertebrae of the spine; a vertebrae is considered to be luxated if its joint surfaces are completely separated, and subluxated when partially separated. 

A Piece of Work

The human skeletal system is put together so efficiently that even a slight shift in any of its 200 bones will cause pressure on surrounding nerves. This is especially true for the spinal column, which is basically a shielded, bone-tube for nervous tissues. When nerves are under pressure, they react by causing surrounding tissues to become inflamed, which produces excesses of the hormone cortisol, known as the “stress hormone.” When too much cortisol stays in one area of the body for too long, painful sensations and other uncomfortable symptoms result. 

These irritating nerve symptoms affect the entire body because nerves are threaded throughout the body’s whole. When the body’s systems are in equilibrium or homeostasis, a state of vital health is the result. Irritated nerves upset homeostasis and thus throw the body out balance, making the baseline state of health more difficult to maintain. 

Changing of the Guard

Traditional medical practice has viewed these chiropractic premises with skepticism. However, recent studies over the last 10-15 years have provided enough evidence-based data to confirm the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment to make it increasingly accepted by the mainstream. While the exact mechanism that makes nerves irritated by displaced bones throw the body out of its natural homeostatic balance remains unverified, the techniques of manual adjustment that chiropractors use have been shown in multiple studies to be effective in treating all kinds of pains associated with the musculoskeletal system and other medical conditions.

Because chiropractic treatment works so closely with the human central nervous system, it is theorized that it could play a role in treating diseases beyond the musculoskeletal system. Common disorders like allergies, high blood pressure, and fibromyalgia have also been shown to respond favorably at times to chiropractic treatment. The idea is that a chiropractic adjustment, especially spinal manipulative therapy, affects the central nervous system at its root level, which may be the mechanism that keeps the body in a homeostatic balance of good health.

There are any number of things a chiropractic adjustment may be able to help. Drop in at The Joint Chiropractic to consult with a chiropractor. With extended weekday hours, and open on weekends, there's easy availability; without appointments or the hassle of insurance, there's easy access.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Clayton, Mo.

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