The word chiropractic derives from the Greek words “cheir”, meaning hand, and “practikos” meaning skilled in or concerned with. The origin of the word chiropractic can be traced back to D.D. Palmer coined it in 1895 when he founded chiropractic.
Chiropractic care is really about total health and wellbeing
What does a Chiropractor do?
A chiropractor is a healthcare professional who specializes in the health and function of the spine and nervous system. Because of this focus on the spine, many people think chiropractors can only help with back pain, neck pain, and headaches. They can often help with these issues, but there is much more to chiropractic than just pain.
This is the first video in our animated series “Introduction to Chiropractic.” In this video, we outline what a chiropractor does, then we briefly explore the effects of care. It is a perfect one to watch for anyone curious about chiropractic care and how it can help their family.
Because of the close relationship between the spine and the nervous system, every day strains can impact the flow of information and communication between the brain and the body. Messages may not be delivered to the brain, or they may be inaccurate. When that miscommunication occurs due to abnormal movement in the spine, chiropractors call this a ‘vertebral subluxation’, or a “chiropractic subluxation”.
You might hear it again from your chiropractor – so now you know what it means.
If you’re watching this video, you’re probably curious about chiropractic care, and how it can help you and your family. So let’s explore what chiropractic is all about, and how it works.
A chiropractor is a healthcare professional who specializes in the health and function of the spine and nervous system.1
Because of this focus on the spine, many people think chiropractors can only help with problems such as back pain, neck pain, and headaches.
And it is true that chiropractors can often help with these things, but there is so much more to chiropractic than just pain.1 Chiropractic care is really about total health and wellbeing.1 It’s about helping people to feel great, and get the most out of life by functioning at their optimal potential.2 3
The spine is there to protect the spinal cord, which is part of the central nervous system. The spine is like a set of armor made up of segments so that it can bend and move naturally with the body.
A spinal segment consists of two vertebrae and the joints that connect them. There is a disc between each vertebra that acts as a cushion.
Underneath that armor, a whole lot is happening. Messages travel from around the body, up the spinal cord, and into the brain. The brain processes those messages and sends replies back down the spinal cord to tell the body how to respond. The central nervous system is one big information highway, and it carries vital messages to every part of your body.
Sometimes, the wear and tear of everyday life can impact the spine and cause spinal segments to move in a way that is different to normal – in a dysfunctional way.4 That wear and tear can happen gradually, such as from bad posture, or it can happen suddenly, which is common with sports injuries.4
And because of the close relationship between the spine and the nervous system, everyday strains can actually impact the flow of information and communication between the brain and the body.5 Messages may not be delivered to the brain, or they may be inaccurate.6
When that miscommunication occurs due to abnormal movement in the spine, chiropractors call this a ‘vertebral subluxation’, or a “chiropractic subluxation”.5 6 You might hear it again from your chiropractor – so now you know what it means.
By making fast, gentle adjustments to the spine, chiropractors restore its natural movement.4 6 If the central nervous system is like the engine of your body, a chiropractor acts like a mechanic, tuning the spine and central nervous system so that your body can run like a race car.
Just keep in mind that as you are adjusted, you may hear a popping sound that can seem a bit strange. In fact, it’s completely harmless – it’s just the release of gas from between spinal segments, and is no more significant than any other release of gas from the body.7
So… are you ready to supercharge your engine?
- Rosner AL. Chiropractic identity: A neurological, professional, and political assessment. J Chiropr Humanit 2016;23(1):35-45.
- de Souza R, Ebrall P. Understanding wellness in a contemporary context of chiropractic practice. Chiropr J Aust 2008;38(1):12-16.
- Schuster TL, Dobson M, Jauregui M, et al. Wellness lifestyles II: Modeling the dynamic of wellness, health lifestyle practices, and Network Spinal Analysis. J Altern Complement Med 2004;10(2):357-67.
- Henderson CN. The basis for spinal manipulation: Chiropractic perspective of indications and theory. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2012;22(5):632-42.
- Haavik H, Murphy B. The role of spinal manipulation in addressing disordered sensorimotor integration and altered motor control. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2012;22(5):768-76.
- Haavik Taylor H, Holt K, Murphy B. Exploring the neuromodulatory effects of the vertebral subluxation and chiropractic care. Chiropr J Aust 2010;40(1):37-44.
- Herzog W, Zhang YT, Conway PJ, et al. Cavitation sounds during spinal manipulative treatments. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 1993;16(8):523-6.
- Haavik H, Kumari N, Holt K, Niazi IK, Amjad I, Pujari AN, Türker KS, Murphy B. The contemporary model of vertebral column joint dysfunction and impact of high-velocity, low-amplitude controlled vertebral thrusts on neuromuscular function. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 2021; doi: 10.1007/s00421-021-04727-z. Advance online publication.
- Haavik H, Niazi IK, Kumari N, Amjad I, Duehr J, Holt K. The potential mechanisms of high-velocity, low-amplitude, controlled vertebral thrusts on neuroimmune function: A narrative review. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania). 2021;57(6). doi:10.3390/medicina57060536