Chiropractic Explained

Back pain

Why Do We Have Pain?

Chiropractic is well known for its treatment of back complaints, neck pain, headaches and other mechanical disorders. It is less well known that we achieve these results by removing the vertebral subluxation complex (VSC). A VSC is present when there is altered movement at a joint and detectable neurological change. These 2 factors must be present to give the diagnosis of a VSC. Through gentle adjustments normal movement patterns can be restored to the joint and nerve function can be balanced. It is very important that the brain receives information from receptors located in all the joints of the body (proprioception), by receiving this information it can then determine how to respond to it.

Information in = Information out

If the joints are not moving correctly it sends “bad” messages to the brain (pain) and the brain will respond incorrectly. This cycle of information input and output is what leads to muscle spasm, inflammation, nerve irritation, pain, vascular changes, more altered movement patterns and compensation in other areas.

The human body will always move towards health, we are not programmed for sickness, pain or disease. If we present with these things it is because we are forced by negative stressors to respond in that way. For example, if you were placed on an iceberg, you would pool blood away from your toes, the blood would be sent to your heart and brain as this would be the most sensible response to keep you alive long enough to get off your iceberg. Your body would sacrifice your toes if it meant your overall survival. The VSC is your body's response to bad movement patterns, it is the most sensible response it can give to protect you until the root cause is addressed and corrected. i.e. until you get off your iceberg!


Chiropractic is very much about addressing the cause of your complaint. It is about discovering what your body is being stressed by. This can be a physical stress, emotional stress or a chemical stress, your examination, consultation, history and lifestyle will tell your chiropractor where the cause lies.

Once the cause is identified and the VSC found you can be treated. The VSC is corrected with adjustments and the cause addressed.

A human body free of subluxations will have better cellular balance and function more efficiently. It will be healthier. A human body with subluxations will be in an adaptive state, will be under stress and will be sicker.

Chiropractic care can offer so much more to the human body than just pain relief. So the best question is not what do chiropractors treat? It is do I have a VSC?

The commonest cause of VSC is modern day living, lifestyle and dietary choices. Is it any wonder then that it is expected that 80% of people will get pain in their spine at some point in their lives. Just like other diseases of modern day living the epidemic of back pain from VSC is preventable.

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