• The physiological ‘rationale’ for regular chiropractic care

    Disclaimer: We MUST re-emphasise that we do not recommend unnecessary or excessive care.

    If you have evidence of chiropractic subluxation we believe that adjustments are indicated.
    In our view you DO NOT NEED to see a chiropractor regularly, however if you would like to live in an OPTIMAL state of health and wellbeing, you do need a nervous system operating in peak condition.

    The following rationale explores how Chiropractic care may contribute to this goal:

    Wellness chiropractors argue that better communication between your brain and body through the nervous system by necessity means that the brain is more efficient and accurate in its control of your body’s systems – if we accept that the body is self-regulating and self-healing, that without our conscious awareness it coordinates every aspect of our function, then it makes sense that improving its function will improve your overall function.

    Every experience you have while alive – breathing, thinking, digesting, emotion, movement, memory, healing, coordination, balance, posture, stress, energy, and focus all come about through the coordinated function of your brain and nervous system – it truly is the ‘master controller’

    The brain and nerves are continuously monitoring everything happening at every moment while you are alive.

    Using the metaphor that the brain is a central ‘super-computer’ - if it has garbage input (poor feedback), it will give garbage output – and over time your body will show negative consequences from this. 

    Chiropractic is not about ‘back cracking’ or about clicking an ‘out’ bone ‘in’ – it’s about improving the flow of information (primarily sensory information) in loops from brain to body and back again. Chiropractors are ‘brain and nerve’ docs not ‘back’ docs!

    Your spine consists of 24 moving bones linked to your hips and skull at either end. It must provide both protection and stability at the same time as controlled movement.

    Nerve pathways exit between these bones. When these joints become dysfunctional (sometimes they get ‘stuck’ – a static subluxation; sometimes they lose part of their proper alignment or range of motion – a dynamic subluxation) it kicks off what is called the ‘afferent model’ of dysfunction in your nervous system.

    The body sends 2 main forms of feedback (sensory experience, sensations) to the brain – mechanical feedback and ‘potential stress’ feedback (that may become pain).

    The mechanical feedback contributes to a ‘map’ that your unconscious brain is constantly keeping updated micro-second by micro-second – it helps the brain know where every part of you is in space and time and helps it construct appropriate controlling messages outward to every part of you.

    The ‘potential stress’ messages can begin and/or maintain many changes throughout your body by initiating responses from your brain (whether or not they come to your awareness as conscious pain!). These messages say to the brain “there is something wrong, or possibly something wrong here – pay attention!”

    Joints (and every other part of your body really) are always sending both. When moving correctly, the ratio of mechanical to ‘stress’ feedback strongly favours the mechanical messages.

    These messages travel on thicker, faster nerves and gets to the spinal cord before the ‘stress’ messages. When they do, they block the stress messages and stop most of them from going any further. (This is referred to in the literature as ‘Gate Control Theory’)

    Incidentally this is why if you hurt yourself you will often rub the area to reduce the pain you feel!

    When joints STOP moving correctly (even just by fractions of a millimetre) the opposite occurs; the ratio of ‘stress’ messages markedly outstrips the mechanical messages and so they get a bee-line to the brain where the brain goes into protective mode to support the body while it attempts to heal and (hopefully) implement changes to the things that caused the dysfunction in the first place.

    This protective mode initially is undetectable to most of us – until or unless the brain cannot successfully resolve the issue – usually because through our lifestyle choices the insult increases and we continue to aggravate the situation. This builds up like straws on the camel’s back and over time results in things like: pain, inflammation, tense muscles, reduced or improper movement, and so much more...eventually leading to overt injury. (If the body has built up an adaption to these 'straws' over time, it also can't respond as effectively if you experience a trauma!)

    This is just one very clear example of the ‘garbage in’ which then results in improper outward control from brain to the rest of the body. Less efficiency means improper use of resources – overuse and underuse in some circumstances.

    Perhaps most importantly this ‘stress feedback’ (whether or not it is processed to the point of conscious awareness of pain) alters brain and hormonal function – it initiates and/or maintains the ‘stress response’ and may lead to a dominance of the stress side of the automatic unconscious part of your nervous system which controls all the things you don’t have to think about! (Most of the functions of life, really!)

    This in turn can have a significant impact on various function in your body, from obvious muscle tension, to postural distortion, to increases in adrenalin and cortisol production. Left in play for too long, these and other effects can become self-fulfilling loops (‘positive feedback cycles’ in the physiology textbooks!) and a lack of ‘ease’ or appropriate function of body systems is the result.

    This process may contribute to the development of a range of disease entities or other syndromes of dysfunction.

    Chiropractic care does not claim that it can treat or fix these disease processes or syndromes (like our critics often suggest we do!).

    Instead by helping you normalise your body’s function and teaching you healthier life behaviours and choices, nervous system efficiency can be restored and the self-healing capacity we described earlier with may be restored.

    Clearly this is not envisaged to be, nor will it have success as a ‘one-off’ or a ‘quick-fix’! It requires repetition to have most benefit. 

    We believe this rationale just makes sense!

    However it is ALWAYS YOUR CHOICE whether you choose to have regular, ongoing chiropractic or not.