Most people are aware that chiropractic benefits the spine. However, many people remain unaware that the advantages of chiropractic care extend far beyond the spine. Chiropractic is a preventative, wellness-centered approach, with addresses the well-being of the entire body.
Dr. Greif wants you to know that regular chiropractic care can not only help you heal from current health challenges, but may also reduce your chances of developing chronic ailments.
Doctors of chiropractic advocate preventing disease and illness before the onset of symptoms. And this message is sinking in: A 2008 study reveals that chiropractic patients seek comprehensive wellness care, not just relief from a stiff neck or back.
The report included 1,316 patients attending 27 different chiropractic clinics in the US, Europe and Australia. A survey to assess the patients’ motivation for seeking care revealed that “more than 40% of chiropractic patient visits were initiated for the purposes of health enhancement and/or disease prevention.”[i]
Spinal Column Connection
Dr. Greif views the body as a connected entity, not isolated parts to be treated separately. Imbalance in one area of the body affects the rest of the system.
The spinal column houses the spinal cord, which is the main component of the nervous system. Scientists theorize that a dysfunction of the spinal column may influence the nervous system, in turn impairing immune function.[ii]
Chiropractic and Nerve Impulses
Researchers hypothesize that vertebral subluxation in the spinal column may disturb the natural flow of nerve impulses. Vertebral subluxation is a common condition in which spinal bones or vertebrae become misaligned, often causing limited range of motion and pain.
Dr. Greif uses safe and effective maneuvers, called chiropractic adjustments, to correct vertebral subluxations. Normalized spinal function promotes the body’s natural healing process.
Inflammation and Immunity
It’s also possible that chiropractic care may bolster the immune system in other ways besides influencing the flow of nerve impulses.
Chiropractic adjustments may reduce the number of inflammatory proteins, called cytokines, throughout the body. These chemicals direct immunity, inflammation and the formation of blood. In one report, researchers documented that following chiropractic care, pro-inflammatory cytokine levels fell dramatically throughout the body, not just in the area near the joint that was adjusted.
As part of the experiment, researchers divided 64 volunteers into three groups:
- An intervention group undergoing chiropractic care.
- A control group receiving “sham” spinal manipulation
- A control group that received not intervention
The scientists took blood and serum samples 20 minutes and 2 hours after the chiropractic adjustment or the control procedure.
A “significant” number of control subjects demonstrated “progressive increases” in the synthesis of two cytokines. This indicates an increase in the inflammatory response. On the other hand, the chiropractic group showed a gradual decrease in production of both cytokines. The authors conclude, “This suggests SMT (spinal manipulation therapy) –related downregulation of inflammatory-type responses via a central yet unknown mechanism.”[iii]
Keep Cold and Flu at Bay
If you or anyone you know tends to get sick often, make sure to schedule an appointment with our office right away. Strengthening the immune system is a fundamental, all-natural way to stay well. In addition, chiropractic care reduces stress, which can also contribute to incidence of sickness.
Avoid Chronic Disease
Bolstering the immune system also helps the body fend off chronic diseases. New research indicates that chiropractic care may ward off conditions affecting organs and systems throughout the body.
Lower Blood Pressure
Uncontrolled high blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney failure. Because there are no symptoms, individuals often have high blood pressure for years without knowing it.
The good news is that research shows that chiropractic adjustments to restore alignment to the spine of the upper neck lower blood pressure.
During an 8 week study, researchers divided 50 patients with hypertension who weren’t taking medication for the condition into two groups. While 25 underwent chiropractic care, the remainder received a sham procedure.
The chiropractic group enjoyed significant drops in both systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure, compared with those receiving the sham procedure.[iv]
Boost Lung Function
Chiropractic adjustments may also improve lung function. Twenty healthy, nonsmoking participants underwent three interventions: exercise only, chiropractic care only and chiropractic care coupled with exercise. The volunteers were between the ages of 18 and 28 years old. Chiropractic care involved six sessions over a four week period.
Results revealed that chiropractic care “appeared to increase the respiratory function of normal individuals.”[v]
Asthmatics can rejoice: Chiropractic may be an all-natural way to reduce symptoms. One study tracked a child who had suffered with asthma for six years. She took several medications daily, but her asthma remained uncontrolled.
Following chiropractic care, which was focused on correcting vertebral subluxations in her spin, the patient’s mother reported “instant reduction in the cough.” One month later, the patient discontinued all medication. At pediatrician appointments she exhibited a “marked” increase in lung volume.
The study’s researchers conclude that “the chiropractic care of a patient with vertebral subluxations, [difficulty breathing], and severe asthma with chronic cough produced marked resolution of the patient’s symptoms, concomitant with an increase in lung volume and a reduction in the signs of subluxation finding.”[vi]
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint between the head of the lower jawbone and the temporal bone. It’s the joint that facilitates movement of the lower jaw. Misalignment in the TMJ sparks teeth grinding and pain that may radiate from the jaw to the ear, neck and entire head.
Misalignments in the spinal bones (vertebrae) of the neck (cervical spine) may lead to TMJ. Regular chiropractic adjustments realign both the TMJ and spinal vertebrae, preventing temporomandibular disorder.
Would you wait until dental cavities to form before seeing a dentist? Would you wait until vision problems ensue before going to an optometrist? Just as with other aspects of your health, prevention is key when it comes to spinal wellness.
Make an appointment today for a chiropractic checkup. Together we will create a preventive wellness plan – designed especially for your needs. We want to be your partner in health!
[i] J Canadian Chiro Assn 2008;52:175-84.
[ii] J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2008;31:258-70.
[iii] J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2006;29:14-21.
[iv] J Hum Hypertens 2007;21:1-4.
[v] J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2007;30:509-13.
[vi] JVSR 2007;1.