The Adjustment – this is the hallmark of going to a chiropractic office. Medical doctors (MD) learn pharmaceuticals and surgeries to work with the body; chiropractors (DC) learn to adjust the spine. The difference is that MD’s treat disease, DC’s attempt to enhance health. Last week we talked about the chiropractic philosophy: the nerve system coordinates all the functions of the body, and that a healthy nerve system creates a healthy body while a sick nerve system creates a sick body. The everyday stress of life distorts the spinal cord changing the communication signals between the brain and the body, which manifests as dis-ease. Instead of treating the disease, chiropractors adjust the spine to “tune” the spinal cord, and let the body correct/heal itself.
Most people are familiar with the hard, structural adjustment. This is what people refer to as “getting cracked”, “twisted like a pretzel”, or “manipulated”. The word Adjustment best describes what is happening because the word means “to make a small alteration to achieve a desired fit”. The spine is composed of 32 movable bones called vertebra. The spinal cord is protected inside the spine and sends nerves to the body through the joints made by each of the vertebra. It is thought that if the joint becomes stuck, it can pinch a nerve interfering with its function. By thrusting into the joint, the doctor can free it up, take the pressure off the nerve and health is restored. Although most people tolerate this, many are uncomfortable with it and don’t realize there are other forms of chiropractic spinal adjusting available.
In my office, I practice a very gentle form of adjusting called Network Spinal Analysis (NSA). Instead of addressing vertebra that are supposedly “misaligned”, an NSA practitioner lightly touches various points along the spine to release spinal cord tension. The spinal cord is covered with three layers of tissue called meninges. It is the meninges that are affected by stress, creating a pulling and stretching that may put 20 to 30 time more pressure on a spinal nerve than a disc a tumor can. The meninges are also attached to the boney spine giving support to the spinal cord inside. The tension building in the meninges can lock up of the movement of the vertebra giving the illusion of misaligned vertebra. Instead of thrusting into these “stuck” joints, which only increases spinal cord tension, a light touch at the right attachment causes the tension to release, freeing the pressure on the spinal cord and allowing the body to relax. You won’t hear the usual audible “pop”, what you often hear is a gentle sigh.
As the tension in the spinal cord is released, people will feel their breath open up which through the body in waves dissipating the stress held in the muscles. With NSA, we don’t have to prepare a person for an adjustment with hot packs, electrical stimulation, or rolling massage tables to get the muscles to relax. They will relax spontaneously as the spinal cord relaxes. We don’t force vertebra to move with hard thrusts. After the spinal cord is relaxed, and a joint system is still stuck, a gentle touch will release it. During the process people say they feel themselves melting into the table. You can see a demonstration of this by clicking here.
The result of your NSA adjustment will allow you to have a more flexible and elastic nerve system. This means that you will be more “in tune” like a fine musical instrument which results in greater health on all levels. You will be able to deal with more forms of stress, heal old and current injuries, become more creative and fulfilled, and enjoy life like never before. When we live and work to our fullest capacity; when we feel in sync emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually; when everything comes together on cue, it is because alignment is present. This is the gift of chiropractic: to free you from who you are not so you can become all you were meant to be.