The nervous system is the master controller of all cells, tissues and organs. Nerves control the heart, lungs, immune system, endocrine system, as well as our thoughts and other cognitive processes. Effectively, the nervous system is in charge of directing and overlooking all bodily functions - keeping us alive and healthy, fighting off diseases and infections, and healing us after we have sustained injury.
Many people are surprised to learn that the spine plays a key role in protecting the nervous system. In fact, the main function of the spinal column (in addition to providing movement for the torso) is to encase and protect the spinal cord and nerve roots. Without this protection it's unlikely that we would survive a relatively small slip and fall injury.
As the spinal cord descends from the brain, spinal nerve roots peel away from the spinal cord at each vertebral level and exit through openings made by adjacent vertebrae. These small protective pathways are called intervertebral foramen or IVFs and permit safe exit of the delicate nerve roots to the rest of the body. Because of the location of the IVF, herniated or bulging spinal discs, subluxated vertebrae, arthritic bony growths, and inflammatory biochemicals from nearby injured tissues commonly irritate or impinge upon the spinal nerve roots.
When there is irritation and interference to a nerve, messages or impulses traveling along that nerve can get scrambled. Some signals become only slightly altered while others may completely fail to reach their destination. As this process continues, those cells, tissues and organs which depend on the affected nerves for communication become less effective in performing their many important tasks and become less able to maintain their optimal health. Ultimately, the affected tissues can deteriorate, degenerate and become nonfunctional and diseased.
This model of disease helps explain why so many patients under chiropractic care have noted dramatic improvements with many seemingly "non-spinal" conditions such as dizziness, ulcers, ear infections, asthma, menstrual pains and low energy levels, to name a few. While its not prudent to claim chiropractic treatments may eliminate or treat such conditions, many patients have experienced phenomenal relief.
Chiropractors are the only doctors trained to detect and treat vertebral misalignments and fixations as well as many other common spinal abnormalities which cause nerve irritation and interference. Correcting nerve irritation and interference allows the body to function the way it was meant to.