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Goal of Chiropractic


One of the first questions I ask during a new patient’s initial visit is “What do you know about chiropractic?” and it is usually followed up by “What do you think the goal of a chiropractic adjustment is?” Most patients answer these questions with answers resembling: “You pop/crack backs and necks” and “Make things move better” or even “I don’t know”. Honestly, these ideas are not a bad starting place for understanding the aim of chiropractic care. Diving a little deeper into a chiropractor's overall goal requires an understanding of how your body moves.


The term proprioception refers to your body’s awareness of its position and movement. This is achieved in two ways, the first is by parts of your muscles, called muscle spindles, that sense whether they are being stretched or relaxed, and secondly, by another sense organ called mechanoreceptors which are located in joints and work similarly to the muscle spindles. Therefore, if dysfunction is present in a joint or muscle, your body’s ability to sense and coordinate movements is impaired. This type of dysfunction has been seen to be caused by “physical injury, pain, inflammation, and acute or chronic physiological or psychological stress” (1). When your brain cannot properly sense where it is in space, it affects the way it moves and coordinates other functions throughout the body (1). The body tries its best to fill in the gaps of awareness, but mistakes can be made leading to further microtraumas and leading to symptoms arising.


This is where chiropractic adjustments come in! Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to improve spinal proprioception (2). But that is not the end goal of your chiropractor. Raising your body’s awareness is a fantastic achievement in and of itself; however, the goal of the adjustment goes above and beyond this. Adjustments not only improve your body’s awareness of the spine itself, it also increases its sense of peripheral joints like the elbow and the integration of other senses like vision and hearing inputs (1). This means that adjustments help your body improve its coordination and awareness in multiple avenues. The end goal is just this, improving your body-brain connection from above⇒down, inside⇒out.



Sources

  1. Haavik, H., Kumari, N., Holt, K. et al. (2021). The contemporary model of vertebral column joint dysfunction and impact of high-velocity, low-amplitude controlled vertebral thrusts on neuromuscular function. Eur J Appl Physiol 121, 2675–2720. https://doi-org.palmer.idm.oclc.org/10.1007/s00421-021-04727-z

  2. Haavik, H., & Murphy, B. (2012). The role of spinal manipulation in addressing disordered sensorimotor integration and altered motor control. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 22(5), 768–776. https://doi-org.palmer.idm.oclc.org/10.1016/j.jelekin.2012.02.012




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