Chiropractic is based on enabling the body and the nervous system to function optimally. A chiropractor addresses the relationship between structure (movement restrictions within the spine and the extremities) and function (the coordination through the nervous system) and how their interaction affects the health of an individual.
All the joints in our body have very similar characteristics. Joints are surrounded by ligaments and soft tissue, separated by cartilage, and moved by muscle. Importantly, they also have nerves that detect the motion and the position of the joint. This is the relationship between structure and function or the integration of the neuro-musculo-skeletal system.
If motion is altered, the nerves that detect the motion and the position of a joint relays inadequate information to the spinal cord and to the brain. This often leads to tightness and in many instances of injury or overuse – pain. The nerves that send pain signals to the brain also initiates a reflex in which it causes muscles around the joint to tighten up. Many chiropractors refer to this as a joint dysfunction or a subluxation or a restriction.
To restore proper function to joints – proper motion must be restored. Nerves that detect motion and position of joints are able to block pain signals (much like after you bang your arm into something and you quickly rub the area). Chiropractors use chiropractic adjustments that are gentle, controlled and use minimal force (as required) to restore proper function to the joints. The adjustment restores motion within the joint, sends adequate information about the joint via the motion-position detecting nerves, the motion-positioning detecting nerves will block pain signals, and that allows for tight muscles to relax.