One of the most common questions I receive from my chiropractic patients is, ‘What is the CAUSE of my symptom (secondary condition)? Is it a muscle thing? Is it my bones? Are my nerves the problem?’
This is a fair question, and one that understandably comes with a lot of confusion. By the time we see most people at Nexus Chiropractic, they have already tried multiple other approaches to their problem and been told multiple different things.
Structural chiropractors and orthopedic surgeons tend to focus on the alignment of the bones and therefore see the bones as the cause. Massage therapists tend to focus on the muscles and therefore communicate that to their clients. Obviously, neurologists and some chiropractors focus on nerves.
The reason this can seem so confusing is that they are all correct but each focus through their own lens. The reality is that the BONES, MUSCLES and NERVES are all intimately connected and cannot be separated from one another.
BONES, in addition to providing structure, serve as protection for the spinal cord and NERVES that pass within the spinal canal and between each vertebra (spinal bone). The spinal cord and nerves are extremely fragile structures that are quite sensitive to pressure, and more importantly – stretch.
If the bony structure of the spine is significantly altered or abnormal, the NERVES can be pinched, pulled, and damaged, leading to altered function in our bodies (including pain).
The job of the spinal cord and NERVES is to relay information from our bodies to our CNS (central nervous system – including the brain) and from our CNS back to the organs, tissues, and cells of our bodies. We have sensory nerves – which include pain, autonomic nerves that coordinate organ and gland function, and motor nerves that determine the tightness or laxity of our MUSCLES.
A damaged or compromised NERVE (perhaps caused by a misaligned spine), could potentially lead to MUSCLES that are either too tight (spasm) or too lax (weak).
Here is where it all ties in. If a MUSCLE that attaches to the BONES of the spine is too tight or too loose, it will cause that BONE to be misaligned which will then compromise the spinal cord and NERVES, which then give a faulty signal to the MUSCLES, which then……….You see the loop that is created.
At Nexus, we always assess the BONES, MUSCLES and NERVES on every visit. Not only do we look at each one separately, we assess how they are interacting with each other. A spine and body with a high level of INTEGRATION between these systems creates a person who functions at a high level and is extremely adaptable in life.
Once the assessment is complete, we INTERVENE at the level of the NERVOUS SYSTEM. This is why our intervention is so gentle compared to those who intervene at the level of BONES and MUSCLES.
As the NERVOUS system returns to normal, the signals to the MUSCLES normalize and as they normalize, they return the bones to their proper position and normal function is restored.
So, the next time you ask, ‘What is the cause of my problem, doc? Is it the BONES? Is it the MUSCLES? Is it the NERVES?’ The answer is, ‘Yes.’
P.S. Greg, thank you for asking the questions many people have, but do not ask!
P.S.S. Happy 125th Birthday to Chiropractic!