(This was 1st published in the Chittenden East Wellness Committe’s (of Vermont) Wellness Letter in 1989)

Chiropractic is a word most people are familiar with but few understand.  The purpose of this article is to introduce you to the healing art of chiropractic

We express ourselves through the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system which directs it. We move, run, work, play tennis, build buildings, pain pictures, make music and teach. All human activity and expression involve movement in the body. Health is dependent on a properly functioning nervous system and body. There’s a link between the structure of the body and the function of the body.  These are the spinal column and the nervous system. Deviation in the structure affects the function and vice versa.

The central nervous system which is made up of the brain and spinal cord is the master computer of the body. It communicates with all the muscles and organs of the body through spinal nerves which exit between each pair of vertebrae.  Each spinal nerve root has over 300,000 nerves.

The central nervous system is the most important organ we have. Because of that, it is the only system in the body which is totally encased in bone.  Around the brain is the skull, and around the spinal cord is the spinal column made up of 24 movable bones of vertebra, a sacrum and coccyx.

Functional movement of the spinal column can affect the expression of the nervous system and cause various health problems. Symptoms are the way your body communicates to you that something is wrong. Just like the oil or engine light in your car. The most common symptom is pain!  35 to 40% of all Americans wake up every morning in pain.  Chiropractors are biomechanical experts. They are trained to evaluate the spine and all the joints of the body for proper function. A locked or dysfunctional joint will eventually cause pain or symptoms, and often becomes arthritic. When a joint does not move properly and causes pressure or irritation to a nerve, it is called a subluxation.

Just as you cannot check the alignment of a car from looking at it, or even from driving around town, you cannot tell how a spine or joint is moving from a static examination or x-ray. A joint most be moved through its normal range of motion and beyond to test for joint play. Joint play is the involuntary movement of a joint, which is less than 1/8 of an inch. Chiropractors using examination technique call Motional Palpation to test for the presence or absence, of joint play.

If a loss of joint play is found, specific movements are introduced to restore the proper movement of the joint. This movement is called an adjustment or manipulation. When the structure of the body is corrected in the body can function more optimally…then the body can heal itself.  The same intelligence that causes the heartbeat up to 100,000 times a day, every day, pumping 4,600 gallons of blood through your blood vessels, without you having to think about it has the ability to heal itself.  Because of this, chiropractic healthcare not only helps the most painful conditions but often helps people with allergies, headaches and menstrual disorders to name a few.

Chiropractic was not invented to be a pain relieving specialty. It was developed in 1895, and continues to day to promote optimum health using natural methods. Today chiropractic healthcare is the third-largest healing profession in the world (behind medicine and dentistry).  It is the largest healing art using totally natural or holistic methods. Chiropractic physicians spent four post-graduate years in the study of “the care of the human frame, diet and the cause and prevention of disease” (Thomas Edison).  Chiropractic physicians are specialists in spinal hygiene.  We teach our patients about exercise, nutrition, proper lifting, sitting and preventative health care. Too many people learn how to take care of the spine only after the trouble begins.

Wouldn’t it be great to keep your spine healthy? That is the ultimate in preventative health care. What shape is your spine in?

For more information contact me at drbradweiss@performancehealthcenter.com