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To understand chiropractic, you first have to understand a little about the way the body works.
Innate Intelligence - When you were born, your body knew exactly what to do to keep you healthy. It knew how fast your heart should beat, how often your lungs should breathe, how you should digest your food, and a million other things about its own functions. Your body knew all this because it (and every other living thing) possesses what chiropractors call Innate Intelligence. This is the knowledge our bodies are born with - knowledge that no school can teach!
Instructions from your Innate Intelligence are sent to every organ and cell in your body. If the instructions are received and followed properly, your body is able to reach and maintain its optimum level of health.
However, if there is any interference with the transmission of those instructions the result is less-than-optimum health. Your body can no longer function normally. It is said to be in a state of "dis-ease."
Subluxations - All messages to and from the brain are electrical impulses traveling along a complex system of nerve fibers called the spinal cord, which extends from the base of the skull down the center of the back. It is protected by the spinal column -- sometimes called the backbone -- which forms a "tunnel" of small interlocking bones called vertebrae. Spaces between the bones allow nerves to branch off to various parts of the body.
This tunnel has to be strong enough to safeguard the nerves from injury, but flexible enough to allow the body to bend and move freely.
For the most past, the spinal column does a great job. But sometimes, one or more bones gets out of proper alignment. The spaces between the bones might close up or the bones might rub against and irritate one of the nerves.
A spinal bone which has lost its normal placement or alignment, is said to be "subluxated." The impulses traveling along the nerve past a subluxated bone can become distorted. This is what causes interference with the instructions sent by Innate Intelligence to a part of the body.
Chiropractic - The sole purpose of chiropractic is to locate and correct subluxations.
Detecting subluxations is a complicated and exacting science. A large part of a chiropractor's education deals with how to locate and analyze improper placements of the vertebrae.
Most doctors of chiropractic use their hands to physically feel the bones for even slight misalignments (a technique called palpation). They also may use X-rays or other instruments to verify their findings and get a clearer picture of the location and severity of the subluxation.
Chiropractors give spinal adjustments to correct subluxations. Although there are several different adjusting techniques, they all accomplish the same thing. They "unlock" the misplaced vertebra from its improper position, and allow it to shift back into normal alignment.
When the vertebrae are allowed to return to their proper alignment, the nerve flow can resume its normal course. The instructions being sent throughout the body by Innate Intelligence can once again reach their destinations without interference.