The most common reason to seek Chiropractic care is chronic neck or back pain; however, most people don’t realize that treatments can relieve virtually any type of health condition—from allergies to sciatica. The practice is based on the theory that by restoring balance in the body—through spinal adjustments that subsequently affect the nervous system—we are better able to avoid injury and fend off disease naturally. The following four examples are just a few of the ways that Chiropractic adjustments can improve your quality of life.
Aside from relieving back and neck pain, Chiropractic manipulation can help alleviate symptoms of chronic conditions such as carpal tunnel, migraines and arthritis. How do adjustments applied to your back help ease symptoms elsewhere in the body? It helps to understand what doctors of Chiropractic believe to be the root cause of our health woes—vertebral subluxation. This term refers to misaligned segments of the spine that compress and irritate nerve pathways leading to the body’s organ systems. Anywhere subluxation occurs, the corresponding nerve channels are adversely affected, inhibiting the function of the organ that receives messages from those nerves.
Regular adjustments retrain the muscles around the spine to maintain proper alignment, so that nerve communication from the brain to the organs is unimpeded. When these “pipelines” are cleared, nutrient-rich blood can flow easily into these previously blocked or inflamed regions, giving our body the tools it needs to heal itself naturally. Since every part of the body is connected to the spine via these nerve pathways, unblocking these lines of communication is the first step to finding relief.
The median nerve responsible for carpal tunnel originates in the neck, and since a Chiropractor’s aim is to alleviate pressure on the nerve systems found there and in the back, many patients find that adjustments provide relief from their carpal tunnel symptoms. Migraines result from a variety of causes, not the least of which ismuscle tension in the neck, upper back and shoulders. When the cause of this tension is subluxation, Chiropractic manipulation is the remedy. Even in instances where migraines are caused by changes in cerebral blood flow, Chiropractic proves beneficial because improved blood flow is a secondary effect of having an adjustment. Another secondary effect is the relief of inflammation, meaning that patients with arthritis—a.k.a joint inflammation—have also found relief with regular visits to the Chiropractor.
Good posture is important for a variety of reasons; it distributes the weight of gravity evenly throughout our bodies, so that no singular structure or joint bears undue pressure. It makes us look taller and feel thinner, allows us to fully expand our lungs to take deeper, enriching breaths, and gives us greater range of motion. When our bones and joints are not in proper alignment the result is abnormal wearing of the joint surfaces, less efficient use of our muscles, and greater likelihood of injury.
Your Chiropractor can help you reach proper posture through regular adjustments and an exercise regimen designed to strengthen your core and the muscles that support the spine. Discuss with your doctor what changes can be made to your workstation and home to help maintain and improve posture anywhere you spend a majority of your time.
By recommending exercises and helping to manage and control pain, Chiropractic treatment can also improve your range of movement after an injury, and decrease your recovery time. Your doctor will work with you to find the exercises that will be most beneficial to your unique case, and will regularly check in with you to see that your body is healing in a safe and efficient manner. Studies have shown that regular Chiropractic visits help bodies maintain the high level of activity to which they’re accustomed. Adjustments made in the office also encourage the body to self-heal without drug intervention of any kind. When combined with other healthy activities such as regular exercise and eating a nutritious diet, people receiving Chiropractic care heal at a significantly faster rate than those who don’t.
The nervous and immune systems are designed to work together to help the body resist attack by free radicals. However, vertebral subluxation causes abnormalities that lead to a poor immune function and greater susceptibility to disease. Disease-related inflammation is directly affected by nerve stimulation, so a poorly functioning nervous system allows for more rapid growth of disease cells. Uncontrolled growth of inflammatory cells can lead to everything from depression to cancer.
When regular Chiropractic manipulation realigns subluxated areas of the spine, nerve pressure is relieved allowing our vital organs to function more effectively. A 1992 study found that Chiropractic adjustments caused the white blood cell count in the body to rise significantly, giving a body greater resistance to toxic invaders and infection. In 1975, Ronald Pero, Ph.D., chief of cancer prevention research at New York’s Preventive Medicine Institute measured 107 individuals who had received long-term Chiropractic care and discovered that these patients had a 200% greater immune function than those who had not received treatment.
The List Goes On
The benefits of Chiropractic don’t stop here. With the number of Americans receiving Chiropractic care reaching epic proportions (over 30 million in the last year alone), this form of alternative health care has proven itself a powerful ally in the war against disease and premature aging. Studies show that patients are pleased with their Chiropractic care and results, and are enjoying less stress and a greater sense of well being, making the benefits of chiropractic too numerous for even medical science to ignore.
Essential to the success of Chiropractic treatment, however, is the understanding that visits must continue until the spine holds correct alignment naturally, requiring regular adjustments and complementary exercises until the muscles supporting the spine are strong enough to do this on their own. At this point a patient might transition from several office visits a month to only one or two, as part of a maintenance care plan.