The World Health Organisation defines chiropractic as “A health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on general health. There is an emphasis on manual techniques, including joint adjustment and/or manipulation with a particular focus on subluxations.”

Chiropractors have a base-line minimum of 5 years of university education which primarily focuses on understanding the structure and function of the spine and nervous system.

Chiropractic is a natural and vitalistic healthcare discipline that is centred on two scientific facts:

  • Firstly, that your body is self healing, self regulating and self organising in its ability to create and maintain homeostasis.
  • Secondly, that this maintenance of normal homeostasis depends upon a healthy nervous system communicating to the brain and changing output to ALL the systems in your body.

Chiropractors aim to locate subluxations, and through specific adjustments, correct them to allow you full expression through your nervous system.  These adjustments aim to restore better movement to spinal joints improving your proprioception with improved mobility, stability, strength, and posture.

There can be ranges of force that is used. Sometimes we may use the weight and tension in your body to help with the release of tension.  Some of these lower force applications do not include an impulse at all. We also use hand held instruments or special adjusting tables to assist in reducing force into your body.

Current State of Knowledge

Over the past few decades the adaptability of the central nervous system has become very evident. What is also becoming clear is that chiropractic care has a neural plastic mechanism.

Sensorimotor integration is the ability of the central nervous system (CNS) to integrate afferent (incoming) information from different body parts and formulate appropriate motor outputs to muscles. Effective sensorimotor integration is essential when learning new skills and when performing tasks at home and in the workplace. Impaired sensorimotor integration may partially explain why people develop pain, why pain becomes chronic, and why workers frequently injure themselves in jobs with a high level of repetitive activity and/or postural stress.

We have proposed a model that assumes vertebral subluxations represent a state of altered afferent input which is responsible for ongoing maladaptive central plastic changes, that over time can lead to dysfunction, pain, injury and other symptoms. Thus, a potential mechanism which could explain how chiropractic adjustments improve function follows: Altered afferent feedback from a vertebral subluxation alters the afferent “milieu” into which subsequent afferent feedback from the spine and limbs is received and processed. This leads to altered sensorimotor integration of the afferent input, which is then normalised by high-velocity, low-amplitude adjustments of the vertebral subluxation. This theory is plausible considering that it is now well established that the human CNS retains its ability to adapt to its ever-changing environment, and that both increased and decreased afferent input leads to changes in CNS functioning.

From New Zealand College of Chiropractic