Did you know the nervous system is the first thing to form in a developing body? This is necessary because the nervous system – the brain, spinal cord, and the nerves that come off the cord and go throughout the entire body – controls literally every single cell, tissue, organ, and function in a body. Seriously, EVERYTHING. How you move, what you feel, and how you function – it’s all controlled by the nervous system. Interestingly enough, only 10% of our nerves control pain. That means if the nervous system encounters an issue, there’s only a 10% chance you’ll feel it! There’s a 90% chance you’ll encounter some sort of dysfunction.
The “issue” the nervous system encounters is interference – like static on a phone call, or a tree blocking the road. The interference usually happens when joints in the bones – the protective structure surrounding our soft, squishy nerves – get stuck, and they don’t move quite right. If the joints are stuck they wind up irritating the nerves. Much like a foot on a garden flow impedes the flow of water, a joint squishing on a nerve impedes the flow of information to/from the body/brain.
It’s easiest to think of the flow of the nervous system from body to brain and back again like a simple safety pin.
When the pin is closed, your brain and body can communicate effectively – you know, like those magical moments where words come out of your mouth, children AND husband are actually listening AND comprehending what you’re saying – and everything works the way it should. But when the pin is open…all hell breaks loose!
Miscommunication is happening all over the place, no one knows what they are supposed to be doing, jobs are being half done, and everyone feels like everything is soooo much more difficult than it should be! Like static during a phone call – what you’re saying and what’s actually being heard aren’t the same. You ask for milk and eggs from the grocery store, and wind up with chocolate syrup and Reese’s peanut butter eggs. Not exactly what you were going for (although they may come in handy later, when the miscommunication leads to a nervous breakdown and you’re hiding in the bathroom!)
The loss of information between body and brain leads to pain and dysfunction. Now it’s easy enough for human beings to notice pain and things not working the way they should, but what about animals? As much as we love our brilliant pets, your dog is hardly capable of coming up to you and saying, “Look, my digestion hasn’t been right for a while. Could we maybe get that checked out?” And you cat doesn’t exactly verbalize, “It hurts when you pet that one spot on my back!” Just like the stuck joints in our human bodies need a human chiropractor to re-align everything so our nervous system can function and we feel better and function better, animal bodies need animal chiropractors to do the same thing for them. I’ll bet you didn’t even know such a thing existed, did you? Don’t worry, you’re not alone!
To be safe, it’s always best to go with the best. The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) is the primary national credential in this field in North America. Only licensed veterinarians and licensed chiropractors are allowed to go through the animal chiropractic certification program and become certified animal chiropractors, or C.A.C.s. Vets don’t know enough about spinal alignment and chiropractors don’t know enough about animals for either profession to take it on alone, so it must be a joint venture between the two professions. There are an awful lot of yahoos out there who think they can just “figure it out”, so always make sure your animal chiropractor is certified and has proof they know what the heck they’re doing. This is the website to find an AVCA certified doctor in the US. You can find one >>>HERE
So how do you know if your animal needs chiropractic care? Well, there are quite a few ways, since the nervous system does quite a few things! First of all, if your animal is an athlete, odds are good something has gotten shifted at one point or another. (Remember, there’s only a 10% chance a problem will result in pain!) Agility dogs, working dogs, 4-H horses, driving horses, cats who think they can fly – all have probably missed a step or had a bad landing or are just suffering from repetitive motion issues. Secondly, if your animal has ever been injured or suffered a trauma, chiropractic care is indicated. Car accidents are the most obvious, but roughhousing can often lead to issues. If your animals yelps, cries, or jumps away during roughhousing, something may be wrong. There’s only a 10% chance they’ll feel a painful lasting result, so keep an eye on them for signs of dysfunction as well as pain. Dysfunction can range anywhere from weird muscle or skin twitches when you touch them, difficulty chewing or not eating their food, bowel/bladder issues, lameness, and behaving in an abnormal manner. You know your animal best! If you think something is wrong, odds are pretty good you’re right. Better safe than sorry!