Whether or not we can help with one particular condition or another is probably the single most common question that we get as Chiropractors. It’s a straight-forward and reasonable question. Of course you want to know how we can help you. We get it. Really.
The quick and honest answer is “I don’t know.” Well that was a quick post!
Not satisfied? OK, I’ll try to do a little better. In order to really understand and answer this question, I need to tell you more about how the body works and how chiropractic affects its function. So let’s get started.
Everything your body does requires that it maintains a perfect, delicate balance. With a little more than 37 trillion cells in the human body, this can be a bit tricky! Just a little bit too much or too little of a single hormone, neurotransmitter, or other chemical can make things go haywire. In fact, virtually every disease and condition known to man can be traced back to an imbalance in one or more of these chemicals.
This concept of body chemistry is nothing new. The medical industry has known about it for years which is why they try to use pharmaceutical drugs to restore this balance. Heartburn? Neutralize the excess acid produced by the stomach with an antacid. Allergies? Combat the overproduction of histamine with an antihistamine. Depressed? Take a SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) to increase the serotonin in your brain.
Not surprisingly, medications have side effects. Did I mention that body chemistry is a DELICATE balance? It is nearly impossible to take the exact dose needed to perfectly balance your imbalanced chemistry. And even if it were possible, the amount would change from moment to moment. Your body is (or at least should be) constantly adapting to its environment and its chemistry changes along with it. Balanced body chemistry is a moving target. So what’s the answer? How do you get back to that elusive state of balance and harmony?
Thankfully, your body is smart! You don’t have to be a victim of random chemicals floating through your bloodstream. Nature created a system that controls, directs, and regulates all of your chemistry down to the tiniest cell. And it can do this perfectly! The central nervous system (AKA the brain and spinal cord) is the master control system in your body.
Your body, in all its wisdom, thought it should protect this vital nervous system. Your brain is enclosed by your skull and your spinal cord is surrounded by a tube of 24 movable bones in your back called vertebrae. There are holes in between the bones out of which nerves exit and carry messages to and from all of the organs and tissues in your body. When your brain is able function properly and maintain full and clear communication with the rest of your body, everything can function optimally.
Sometimes, your spinal bones can become stuck or misaligned due to life stresses such as trauma, poor posture, or emotional stress. In Chiropractic, we call this a vertebral subluxation. Subluxations interfere with your brain’s ability to communicate with and coordinate your body’s 37 trillion cells. And most of the time, subluxations don’t hurt so you don’t even know they’re there.
Without proper coordination, your cells can function a bit too much or too little for the needs of your body. Multiply this problem over days, months, or years and you get an idea of the devastating effects of a vertebral subluxation.
This is where we shine! As Chiropractors, we are experts in finding and correcting subluxations which interfere with the function and communication of your brain and nervous system. By correcting these subluxations, we improve your body chemistry and function by putting your brain back in charge.
Exactly what this means for one particular person is difficult to predict. It might mean more energy, a stronger immune system, less pain, better digestion, a happier outlook on life, or a myriad of other things. The truth is that every function of your body can benefit from a properly functioning nervous system.
Taking all of the above into consideration, let’s reconsider the question of what Chiropractic can help. While it is true that we don’t know for sure what will happen with a particular condition in a particular person, we know for certain that your body will have a better chance of resolving the problem if we remove the interference caused by vertebral subluxation.
It’s a little like asking whether ending a ritual of eating a half dozen Krispy Kreme donuts every morning will make you lose weight. We can’t guarantee anything but it would be crazy to keep eating all those donuts (or living life with subluxations)! Darn, now I’m hungry!