In my time as a Chiropractor, based on my own observations, education before and after college, research study and experience the following 5 steps explain Chiropractic as simply, completely and congruently as I can.
1) A Physical event takes place and causes some kind of a distortion to the spine.
This can be a quick trauma or slow repetitive strain in bad posture. The first of these events is often at birth or very young while a baby is developing.
2) Protective mechanisms kick in.
From step 1 if a bone in your spine were to go completely out of place it would either paralyze or kill you depending on the location of the bone. The natural survival mechanisms can't have that, so in an instant, small muscles and reflexes engage, locking down portions of the spine preventing life threatening harm. The lock down mechanism is good for temporary survival, but will alter nervous system function and is bad for full thriving when prolonged, even minimally.
3) The brain makes a habit out the protective mechanism.
The brain is nothing if not efficient, relatively quickly turning new learning into automatic habits. This means that the nervous systems' responses (step 2) to any stimulus significant enough or repetitive enough (step 1) can pattern itself into the circuitry of the brain. Whenever a stress experience occurs step 2's protective spinal lock down will kick in along with the rest of the body's fight or flight mechanisms. Importantly the triggering stress doesn't need to be the same physical event (step 1) to trigger it. It can be any non-physical threatening stress - an angry boss or a traffic jam - and that can return the physical lock down mechanisms to the spine as readily as a physical trauma.
What I have been describing, in essence, are a few of many aspects of a subluxation.
4) The Chiropractic Adjustment breaks the habit.
The adjustment to the spine affects the entire nervous system, lighting up the brain with activity. This kind of increased activity is a resources, and with it the brain can create new responses and break old habits. Over time the responses that were good for short term survival, but compromising of ongoing health can refresh. The pattern, negatively prolonged, is interrupted.
5) The benefits of Chiropractic care are dependent on how often you do it.
While the before-and-after comparison on health can be highly dramatic for some with only one Chiropractic Adjustment, repetition will provide cumulative benefits. While the optimum frequency of adjustments varies, overall cumulative benefits are the common effect over time. There is no upper limit to the benefits of Chiropractic care when applied as an ongoing lifestyle. Every properly applied Chiropractic adjustment will measurably affect the function of your nervous system. Research, big and small as well as multitudes of patients have reported; cognitive, emotional, digestive, immune, reproductive, hormonal, sensory, strength and balance positive changes, including an overall increased sense of wellbeing.
I think of Chiropractic care as a key part of my strategy to bring out my best, and give the most from my life. I eat, exercise, rest and love consciously. I know my purpose and work towards it and I get adjusted regularly.