Chiropractic and the Nervous System

Chiropractic was founded in 1895 with the founding principles that the nervous system was the master controller in the body. The nervous system being the master controller has been written extensively in the medical journals and has now become an acceptable principle and fact, but what exactly are we talking about when we say ‘the nervous system’? Below is a simple guide to get us started.


Nerve Cells (a.k.a Neurons)



Neurons are cells that are able to receive and generate electrical impulses down their axons.

A group of specialised cells that are able to generate and receive a small electrical impulse. Groups of nerve cells together form what is described as the grey matter of the nervous system.




The extension of the nerve cell which helps transmit the electrical impulse to other nerve cells. Axons may be short or very long. They are essentially the communication network between nerve cells. Groups of axons together form what is know as the white matter of the nervous system.




The biggest concentration of nerve cells and axons. The human brain is estimated to have 86 billion neurons.


Spinal Cord


The spinal cord consists of groups of neurons in the centre, (grey matter) surrounded by axons (white matter). Some axons may be travelling down the spinal cord from neurons in the brain. Other axons may be travelling up the spinal cord from the body to the brain.


Peripheral Nerve


Axons that exit and enter the spinal cord do so in bundles between the vertebrae and discs of the spinal column. The bundles (made of millions of axons) are known as nerve roots. As the nerve roots divide into individual nerves, they are termed peripheral nerves.


Central Nervous system.


The neurons and axons of the brain and spinal cord – protected by the bones of the skull and the vertebrae of the spine are described as the central nervous system.


Peripheral Nervous System


Those neurons and axons that are inside the human body, but are not protected by the bones of the skull or the bones of the spine are described as the peripheral nervous system.


The above starts the journey of the nervous system. It is by no means comprehensive. The nervous system is indeed complex and yet all connected. It is the ‘information superhighway’ by which the brain receives, interprets, and responds to everything that is occurring in the body to help maintain a healthy state.