It makes sense that going to a chiropractor could get rid of muscle aches and pains, but is it similar to other types of preventative healthcare? Can chiropractic care keep you from getting sick? Can it improve your overall immune health?
What can chiropractic adjustments do for your body?
One study has shown that there is an important relationship between your immune system, your endocrine system, and your central nervous system. Your immune system regulates your health and your susceptibility to getting sick. Your endocrine system controls hormones, including the ones that normalize sex, sleep, and energy levels. Your central nervous system controls your nerve sensation throughout your body and includes your spine, which is something chiropractors are known for treating. This study once again shows what we've known for some time: anything that happens to your central nervous system and spine affects balance of the other systems.
This means that chiropractic adjustments can improve:
Nerve feeling and function in your spine and body
Sleep, sex, and energy levels
Hormone balances in response to illness, pain, or stress
Your immune system, overall health, and whether or not you get sick
So, a chiropractic care treatment will not only affect your back and muscle aches and pains, but also will directly and indirectly affect your overall immune health! Is this a good thing? How do we know that chiropractic care has a positive result on the balance of these systems? What does that mean for making us healthy?
How your immune system fights illness:
The way that the central nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system communicate is through a feedback loop that helps maintain a homeostatic balance. This means that if something is done to one system, the other systems may have to adapt and make up for it. Any harm that happens to one system may lead to one of the other systems working in overtime to help heal the relationship and balance between all the systems. It’s your body’s version of the ripple effect.
Your immune system normally functions by using cells, tissues, and organs to work together to fight disease. There are armies of cells that act as soldiers against disease, fighting any invading viruses and bacteria. There are also cells which remember any viruses or bacteria that have previously invaded the body, so that you can be prevented from getting sick again. So, if you get a cold, these cells will remember that particular cold virus so they can kick it out next time they see it. These remembering cells are known as lymphocytes.
Lymphocytes and other immune system cells not only remember how an illness affects the body, but they also do more. Because of the way the three systems we talked about interact, the immune system can remember damage to the nervous system or the endocrine system. Damage could be illness, but it could also be stress, pain, or even a painless change. One change that the central nervous system can communicate to the immune system is chiropractic adjustments. What does that mean? Your spine gets quickly adjusted at the chiropractor’s office and your immune system responds to that adjustment. The immune system can release lymphocytes and re-balance the whole body. Your chiropractic visit is the stone’s throw that causes the immune system reaction in your body.
Chiropractic care is an immune system life hack!
This study explains exactly how it all works. One quick chiropractic adjustment to the spine boosts the number of immune system molecules which help the body fight infection. The study found that these molecules aid lymphocytes too, which remember the illnesses you’ve already had and throw them out. In other words, they build immunity and keep you from getting sick again. They make you stronger!
So, one chiropractic adjustment done at the chiropractor’s office can promote your body’s immunity to disease! This all means that the effect chiropractic adjustments have on your immune system is great for your overall health! Getting a chiropractic spinal adjustment can help your body fight off an illness and keep you from getting sick in the future. Therefore, seeing a chiropractor can be a way of boosting your immune system. Your immune system responds by producing lots of those molecules to fight illness and pain. The best part about it is, you’ve hacked the system of your body because you never had to get sick in the first place!
Now, the researchers were pretty sure that these super immune effects were limited to right after you get spinal realignment. In the short time period right after you see the chiropractor, your immune system works harder to fix the changes that happened to your spine and central nervous system. Makes sense, right?
Still skeptical? Maybe there are some short-term immune health results, but isn’t this all a bit of a stretch? Let’s look at more proof that chiropractic care builds disease immunity and keeps you healthy.
Chiropractic care can help even the sickest:
There’s a lot of historical evidence tied to influenza and chiropractic care. During the early 20th century, millions of people were killed by an epidemic of influenza, which sometimes lead to pneumonia. This viral illness devastated populations in the large cities and doctors were often helpless to treat it, especially as there was limited knowledge on flu treatment at the time. While millions of people who received care died, the number of patients who died after chiropractic care was 20% or less than the number who died after being treated by normal medical methods. Chiropractors got such wonderful results in treating patients infected with flu and pneumonia, that chiropractic care has grown and thrived since.
Another study showed a higher number of lymphocytes in patients who had gotten upper cervical chiropractic adjustments. Due to the raised number of lymphocytes present in their body after chiropractic care, these patients had a stronger immune ability to fight off disease. The amazing thing about this study is that it was done on patients with HIV, an illness which damages the immune system! Chiropractic adjustments helped improve the immune system of patients with an immune killing disease! This all took place over a six-month period, too.
Chiropractic care gives you superior health:
Normally little kids provide a ripe breeding ground for illnesses since they haven’t built up any immune tolerance (think of how often babies and toddlers get sick for no reason). No exposure to different sicknesses means no ability to fight against those illnesses in the future. As we talked about, changes in the spine can cause the immune system to produce cells and molecules which fight sicknesses and prevent you from getting sick in the future.
A study conducted in 1989 looked at children’s immune health after undergoing chiropractic care. The children who had been treated by chiropractors were overall healthier than those who had only been treated by normal medical providers. How so? These kids had fewer ear and sinus infections, fewer cases of tonsillitis (caused by colds or strep throat) and were allergic to fewer things. Not only did they not get these illnesses, they were less prone to getting them in the future. Since the chiropractic kids didn’t get sick, they didn’t take as many antibiotics. This means that they had a better immune system response to bacterial infections than normal kids did. The researchers concluded that there is a “definite correlation between chiropractic care and superior health”.
Chiropractic care basically created super children. Immunity to disease is a superpower, right?
Let’s look at one last study. Over seven years, chiropractic primary care physicians were studied and followed. Patients being treated by these chiropractors had fewer admissions to the hospital than being treated by non-chiropractors. When these patients did get admitted to the hospital, they were in the hospital for a shorter period of time. These patients also had fewer surgeries, treatments, and took fewer medications than other patients. Using a chiropractic approach to treatment over a medical and surgical approach has kept patients healthier!
Get yourself to a chiropractor!
The proof is in the pudding! Chiropractic care is preventative healthcare at its best. As we’ve covered, chiropractic care:
Affects your central nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system
Can make these systems “re-balance” and release cells that fight illness
Helps your body fight against illnesses you’ve already been exposed to
Helps prevent you from getting sick in the future
Improves your overall immune health
For all of these reasons, and many more, chiropractic care makes you stronger and healthier. So really, what are you waiting for? Find a chiropractor near you today!
HealthWorks: A Family Wellness center is a chiropractic and wellness center located in Plano, Texas. Our chiropractors, Dr. Christy Flick and Dr. Jennifer Taylor, have been helping patients function better since starting private practice in 2005. For information about this article or other chiropractic questions, please contact our office at 972-612-1800.