According to an article published in the journal of the American Family Physician, there are at least 106,000 deaths each year in the United States from the side effects of properly prescribed medications[1], and that 10 percent of hospital admissions may be attributable to drug-induced disorders. In addition, according to an article published in 2000 in the Journal of the American Medical Association at least 250,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized per year as a result of adverse drug reactions[2]. There is no drug that will make you healthy in the truest sense of the word, and reliance on drugs for your health is risky at best.

Our bodies have amazing self-regulating, healing and repair capabilities. The key system that manages these self-healing capabilities is the nervous system. According to basic physiology, the nervous system controls and coordinates all organs and systems in the body. Like an energy conduit supplying feedback to and from our brain, and power to all systems, the nervous system is essential for life and good health. Being the controller and regulator of all organs and bodily systems, the key to maintaining good health is maintaining a properly functioning nervous system.

The nervous system is extremely complex, but essentially consists of two components: the Cerebrospinal Nervous System (CNS) and the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).

The CNS consists of the brain and the spinal cord and all the nerves exiting from the spinal cord. The brain and the spinal cord are all protected by, and intimately associated with, the bones of the skull and spine. The bones of the spine are also called the vertebrae, or vertebral column. The CNS essentially controls all the parts of the body that you can think about to control. For example, when the CNS is functioning properly you can think about moving your arms the way you want, and they do.

The ANS consists of the all the nerves that send and receive messages to and from all the internal organs, glands, blood vessels, lymph tissues, special senses, etc. The origin of the nerves of ANS is intimately associated with the vertebral column. The ANS controls all the parts of the body that you do not have to think about regulating and changing for proper function. For example, when the ANS functions properly you do not have to think about making your heart speed up and pump more blood when you start to run fast. It does so on its own under the control of the ANS.

A common condition of the spinal column is the Vertebral Subluxation Complex (VSC). This condition consists of abnormal motion or position of the spinal joints, irritation of the CNS and ANS, abnormal muscle function, abnormal tissue function leading to systemic tissue degeneration, and abnormal function of the spine and bodily systems[3]. Chiropractic adjustments correct the Vertebral Subluxation Complex by relieving stress and irritation of the CNS and ANS, and by allowing proper communication to and from all organs and tissue of the body. Research show that chiropractic adjustments have far superior safety to drug and surgical treatment of neck and back pain[4],[5]. Research has confirmed chiropractic adjustments accomplish this by various physiological effects. Chiropractic adjustments accomplish this by the following mechanisms including but not limited to:

Releasing entrapped menisci between joints and synovial folds[6]
Reducing intradiscal pressure
Promotion of relaxation of paraspinal muscles
Temporarily elevating plasma beta-endorphin, and temporarily enhancing the ability of white and red blood cells to fight infections[7].

In summary, research supports chiropractic adjustments as the most effective and safest method of decreasing vertebral subluxations, thereby assisting maintenance of proper CNS and ANS function, decreasing spinal degeneration and supporting healthy tissue function.


[1] Holland, E., DeGruy, F., Drug Induced Disorders. Amer Fam Phys, Nov 1, 1997: 56(7):1781-90.

[2] Starfield, B., Is U.S. Health Really the Best in the World?, JAMA, July 26 2000: 284(4):483-5.

[3] Whedon J, Glassey, D. Cerebrospinal fluid stasis and its clinical significance. Altern Ther Health Med. 2009;15:54-60.

[4] Dabbs V, Lauretti W. A risk assessment of cervical manipulation vs. NSAIDs for the treatment of neck pain. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1995;18:530-6.

[5] Oliphant D. Safety of spinal manipulation in the treatment of lumbar disk herniations: a systemic review and risk assessment. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2004;27:197-210.

[6] Maigne J, Vaultravers P. Mechanism of action of spinal manipulative therapy. Joint Bone Spine. 2003;70:336-41.

[7] Brennan P, Kokjohn K, Katlinger C, et. al. Enhanced phagocytic cell respiratory burst induced by spinal manipulation: potential role of substance P. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1991;14:399-408.

Copyright © 2009; Douglas Husbands, DC, CCN, ABAAHP. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Dr Husbands has been helping people resolve chronic illness and improve their health for over two decades in the San Francisco Bay Area. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Human Physiology in 1983. In 1991, he graduated from Cleveland Chiropractic College of Los Angeles and became a Doctor of Chiropractic. In 1996, he earned his post-graduate board certification as a Certified Clinical Nutritionist with the International and American Associations of Clinical Nutritionists, and in 2000, he became a certified Anti-Aging Health Care Practitioner with the American Board of Anti-Aging Health Practitioners. In 2003, he completed training in Functional Medicine with the Institute for Functional Medicine. Dr. Husbands has been sought for expert opinion by national health magazines and been published in peer-reviewed journals. He has taught many classes and lectured extensively to a wide variety of audiences on natural health topics and functional medicine. He sees patients at the Athens Chiropractic Clinic in San Carlos, CA. He offers phone consultations for those who live outside of the area. To contact Dr Husbands visit his holistic healthcare practice website.