How Chiropractic Works:
When internal or external forces irritate tissues in the body, nerves cells send signals to the spinal cord. Some of these signals travel up to the brain to be perceived as pain, while others exit the spinal cord directly (without ascending to the brain) and return to neighboring muscles with the instruction to contract. This automatic reflex can be beneficial to a person such as dropping a hot object or knee jerk reflex at a Doctor’s office.
However, sometimes the contracting muscles can worsen the irritating stimulus and cause a feedback loop. The painful stimulus makes the muscle(s) reflexively spasm even more, which in turn causes increased painful stimuli with increased spasm and so on and so on...
These spasms can last from a split second to years, and can manifest as pain, discomfort, decreased range of motion and even interfere with the function of other organs. Strains, inflammation, dehydration, trauma, disease and other factors can cause them to occur.
These spasms reduce blood and lymph flow to the affected tissues. It becomes harder for oxygen and nutrients to enter the tissues and for waste products to be carried away. This leads to even more tissue damage and therefore more spasm.
When these muscle spasms occur near joints, they can cause decreased joint mobility and even more pain. When they occur in the paraspinal muscles of the neck and back, they can lead to altered joint movements and bone positions, commonly referred to by Chiropractors as subluxations.
Chiropractic care can interrupt the cycle with multiple techniques. Muscle massage helps increase blood and lymph flow, returning valuable circulation. Adjustments further reduce spasm by reducing or eliminating neurological interference caused by the subluxation at the specific joints needed to make the optimal correction. Physical modalities such as ultrasound and interferential therapy can help drive away inflammation, reduce swelling and most importantly to the patient reduce pain.