To understand what a chiropractor does, we must first understand how the human body functions and how diseases are created.
The human body is made of cells, which come together to form tissues. Different types of tissues can come together to create other organs. The collaboration of the function of various organs makes the body systems, such as:
The harmonious functioning of all the body systems and organs creates a healthy human body.
The nervous system controls the body systems' coordination of functions to maintain the optimum health of a human organism. This control makes the brain the body's master organ. Much like a symphony conductor who controls and helps create the harmony of the sounds produced by different musical instruments, which in the hands of a master conductor can create a masterpiece. So the human body is a masterpiece of various organs whose functions are harmonized, timed, and controlled by the nervous system, without the individual knowing all the microscopic steps necessary to bring this perfect symphony about. If all the body parts' harmonious function, cooperation, and coordination had a sound, that sound would be called health.
This conduction occurs through communication paths called nerves between the brain and all body parts. The spinal column is the grand highway of the nervous system for housing the spinal cord. The nerves travel through the spinal cord and can exit and enter at various levels or segments along the spinal column called vertebrae. At each level exists a space that allows the nerves to leave and enter, called intervertebral foramen (opening). They function very similarly to a freeway's on and off-ramps, and so are the problems that can occur. Since the vertebrae can move, they can rotate and slide slightly, one on top of another, to enable you to bend forward and back or to turn your neck or torso to the left or right. They can also slide back in place and hold there with the help of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. However, the information that makes them perform these functions come from the nerves and the brain. If over-stressed, through external or internal stressors such as mental and emotional reasons, or external physiological causes, tension can occur--forcing the vertebrae to move slightly beyond their physiological range of motion and become stuck there. This result is called a subluxation.
A subluxation can narrow the intervertebral foramen's diameter, possibly placing pressure on the nerve root exiting or entering at that level. The result is possible interference with a nerve's function, which could be supplying information to an organ or vice versa (from an organ to the brain). The interference's result can be an interruption in the organ's function, disrupting the body parts' harmonious function; this disrupts the health of the human body. In the absence of health grows disease. Many believe this disruption (lack of communication between the body and the nervous system, which embodies the body's innate intelligence to be the beginning and source and cause of disease)
A chiropractor's function is to aid the body in re-establishing that connection by clearing the subluxation through touch and delivering a chiropractic adjustment. Removing the subluxation is like clearing up the freeway on and off-ramps to allow the backed-up traffic to have a smooth flow.