A short course in the basics of spinal anatomy is tremendously helpful in understanding why the chiropractic profession is the number one source of alternative care in the world. Hang in there -- it will be well worth it!
The central nervous system (the brain, brain stem, and the spinal cord) is connected to the peripheral nervous system (the spinal and peripheral nerves) and controls the way we move and function. Our skull protects our brain and most of our brain stem, and the spine provides protection to our spinal cord and spinal nerves.
The spine is a column of small bones called "vertebrae" that supports the entire upper body. The column is grouped into three sections: the cervical spine (neck), the thoracic spine (middle back), and the lumbar spine (lower back).
Vertebrae in the spinal column are separated from each other by small "cushions" of cartilage known as inter (between) vertebral (spinal bones) discs. The vertebrae and discs combine to create a space (called the intervertebral foramina or IVF) for each spinal nerve to exit from the spinal cord on its way to the body. Abnormal positioning of the vertebrae (also known as the vertebral subluxation complex or nerve impingement syndrome) can compromise the IVF or nerve space, and create nerve irritation or nerve interference. The nerve will still influence the muscle or organ it supplies, however the quality of the nerve transmission will be affected.
Here's probably one of the most important concepts to grasp -- nerve interference may occur without any trace of symptoms. Read that one more time. Nerve interference may occur without the trace of any symptoms.