The term “chiropractic” stems from the Greek language, and translates to “to use one’s hands.” This form of medicine was first introduced by D.D. Palmer in 1895. Since then, much scientific research has unveiled the mystery of how and why it works. Chiropractic manipulation is a great tool we can use to reduce pain and improve function not only in spines, but throughout the whole body.
Chiropractic manipulation helps release entrapped menisci, which are a special type of cartilage, within the joint capsule. When they become trapped, they can keep the joint from moving properly, which can lead to compensatory patterns and pain.
Nerves are the communicators of the body; they send messages in all directions between the brain, the spinal cord, and the body. There are many different types of nerves, and some travel faster than others. Pain fibers travel slower than other fibers, so an adjustment can effectively “close the gate” by overriding the sensory receptors in the spinal cord, and the pain message is not sent to the brain. A good example of this is when you hit your elbow and rub it to decrease the pain.
Muscle Stretch Reflex
Muscles are made up of proteins called actin and myosin, which bind together to cause muscle contraction. Stretching of the periarticular muscles can help relieve chronic muscle contraction by lengthening the muscles and depleting contractile neurotransmitters. This releases the actin and myosin binding and allows the resting tone of the muscle to return to normal. Relaxation of the muscles can also remove tension from the joint capsule, allowing the joint to move freely through its range of motion.
Endorphins are hormones used in the brain and nervous system that bind to opiate receptors, which activate an analgesic effect. Chiropractic adjustments are one of the many ways to trigger a release of endorphins and reduce pain in a natural way.
Some Common Myths About Chiropractic
This is a really great video by FXNL featuring Dr. Shawn Thistle addressing some common questions and concerns we often hear from patients. He addresses the “bone out of place” model, x-rays, and anatomical body shaming.
It is important to us that we are staying up to date with current evidence so that we can do what is best for our patients!