Chiropractic comes from the Greek words for “practice of the hands”.
Chiropractic is concerned with the relationship between the spinal column and the nervous system. It considers the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, spinal nerves) to be the primary regulating system of the body. Consequently, since the nervous system is enclosed within the bony structures of the cranium and the spine and can therefore be negatively effected by those structures, the chiropractor has learned through the use of his/her hands to relieve negative influence on the nervous system created by misalignments of the bony structures (vertebra).
Some mistakenly believe chiropractic is a form of orthopedics but that would not be true. While chiropractors have been trained to move (adjust) vertebra to restore motion, the vertebra themselves are not what is the focus of our attention…it is the nervous system that is the focus of our attention. Every cell, tissue and organ in the body is influenced, either directly or indirectly, by the brain, spinal cord and spinal nerves; hence, the chiropractor seeks to re-align that which has “misaligned” in order to permit the nervous energy to return to normal.
The chiropractor, using a high velocity/short lever thrust, moves vertebra ever so slightly in order to accomplish his task. These movements, known as adjustments, normally are without pain; however, often they are accompanied by clicking sounds…like the “cracking” of a knuckle. This clicking sound, or cavitation, is theorized to be the release of nitrogen gases from the capsular ligament of the joint being adjusted. The difference between you cracking your knuckles and a chiropractor adjusting the same knuckle is the manner in which it is done…the sound will be the same. Since the chiropractor has hundreds of hours of study in anatomy and physiology, he understands how best to mobilize a joint to cause as minimal damage as possible.