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The first time I ever even heard of a chiropractor, I thought it was outrageous. It seemed so unnatural and incredibly dangerous to have someone cracking around your spine.

The first time I ever even heard of a chiropractor, I thought it was outrageous.

It seemed so unnatural and incredibly dangerous to have someone cracking around your spine.

It wasn’t until I became interested in natural health that I began reading about chiropractic care as a preventive and natural approach to health.

How could this be?

I understood the philosophy of health that if something is not functioning right, we need to fix the mechanism that is causing the problem rather than take a pill to alleviate the symptom.

And the same seemed to be with chiropractic care.

What I didn’t realize is how many symptoms can be directly related back to the nervous system, an integral part of our spine.

I learned that chiropractors are not just about bones and for people with back problems, but they deal with blockages in your nervous system, or subluxations, which is essentially a form of misalignment that is altering neural integrity.

What does this mean?

Our brains are constantly sending messages via our nervous system to all areas of our body.

These messages control virtually every single function in every single system in our body — even the ones you don’t have to think about — things like your urinary and cardiovascular system, hormonal balancing and hypothalamus functioning, respiratory rhythm and depth, metabolism, digestion, our immune system and the reproductive system, including sex drive.

The list goes on and on. Our brain is sending messages back and forth to areas throughout our entire bodies on a constant basis.

So you can imagine if there was an interference of some sort with that signal.

If the message isn’t getting sent, the function will cease to function. And usually, sooner or later, a symptom will arise.

It’s funny how that works. Our bodies are always giving us feedback on how things are going inside.

Symptoms may manifest in all sorts of ways from physical discomforts such as headaches, numbness, neck or back pain, stomach aches and fatigue, to name a few.

But many people don’t associate things like asthma, bed wetting, allergies, constipation, skin problems, poor concentration, irritability, sinus problems and arthritis with a neural interference.

There are tables that show which vertebrae are associated with which bodily functions and if you receive a spinal scan or get an X-ray, it will clearly show you which areas are out of alignment and you may not be all that surprised with the related systems it is causing interference with.

It’s important to remember that adjustments (not cracking!) are just one part of a healthy lifestyle.

Stretching, exercising, hydrating and eating a whole foods diet are going to help maintain a healthy nervous system.

And when you find a good chiropractor, they will encourage you to incorporate all of these elements into your life.

Kristin Fraser, BSc, is a registered holistic nutritionist and local freelance writer. Her column appears every second Wednesday. She can be reached at kristin_fraser@hotmail.com.