Chiropractic Adjustments are an Immune Booster

Based on a recent compilation of research done by Christopher Oswald, DC, CNS he  has shown that not only does a properly aligned spine reduce pain and prevent injury, but it also boosts and modulates many of the major players in the immune system.   This means that when a friend or family member starts to feel ill, a good adjustment can actually knock out the illness or speed the recovery time for an individual.

Let’s talk more in depth about how the immune process actually works and who are the major players.  The adjustment has a more modulation effect on the immune system which means that when you need the immune system stimulated it helps rev up a portion but at the same time calm the other portion that can lead to chronic inflammation and allergies.

A study done in 2006 shows that a Chiropractic adjustment will actually influence the release of cytokines and thus effect the immune system.  The immune markers that the study looked at were the following inflammatory cytokines; tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin (IL) .  The study’s basic summary stated that a Chiropractic adjustment would reduce inflammatory cytokines, which helped whether someone was sick or fighting a cold or allergies.  They also saw in the study from 2010 that when an adjustment was done that it would activate B cells and some interleukin cells thus priming the immune effector cells and regulating a proper immune response.  (A proper response is important because you don’t want  the immune system to become hyper-active like an auto-immune condition, but neither do you want immune suppression like a patient on chemotherapy.)

This research is still building but it does lend credence to the fact that an adjustment should be part of a healthy bodies routine and when you feel the first signs of a cold or flu, it is an important time to get in and see the doctor.  In our clinic, the ideal time to see us is before you are very sick, but if you miss that window and get sick, we still want to help you recover faster by doing an adjustment on you.

The Chiropractic Approach to Low Back Pain

What is back pain?

Back pain typically occurs in the lumbar spine and pelvic region otherwise know as the buttocks.  The pain can occur from a tightening of muscles or joints that get jammed due to a specific incident or small injuries that occur over time from work, athletics or even desk jobs.

What is the most common cause of back pain?

The most common cause of back pain is related to repetitive strain injuries that occur on the job or during daily activities.  Working on the computer, cooking, sewing or any activity that keeps you repeating the same movements from the same position can be the culprit of that nagging backache. The strain happens when either the muscles are tight and you are unable to stretch them, or when a joint is misaligned and the muscles become painful as they try to re-align the joint.

What are the less common types of back pain?

Degenerative disc disease, arthritis, herniation and neurologic conditions are all injuries that occur to the spine and more commonly in the low back.  These conditions will likely cause you great distress and you will need to seek a health care provider’s services.  The following symptoms require an immediate visit to your doctor:

  • History of cancer
  • Unexplained weight loss >10 kg within 6 months
  • Age over 50 years or under 17 years old
  • Failure to improve with therapy
  • Pain persists for more than 4 to 6 weeks
  • Night pain or pain at rest
  • Persistent fever (temperature over 100.4 F)
  • History of intravenous drug abuse
  • Organ transplant
  • Recent bacterial infection
  • Major muscle weakness
  • Trouble lifting your foot
  • Numbness and lower extremity weakness
  • Anal sphincter dysfunction
  • Recent trauma
  • History of osteoporosis

What are the basic causes of back pain?

  • Desk job
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Herniated disk
  • Gravity
  • Sports injury
  • Bacterial Infection
  • Fractures
  • Cancer
  • Repetitive strain
  • Jammed (misaligned) joints

Why see a Chiropractor instead of a massage therapist?

Chiropractic care helps re-align joints which stops the pain related to the muscles trying to push the joint back into alignment.  A typical response to this type of pain might be to stretch or get a massage.  While this might temporarily ease the pain, if you don’t re-align the joints, the muscles will loyally return to their job of trying to push the joint back into place and you will be back in pain once again.  This isn’t to say that massage can’t be a terrific partner in getting rid of long term pain. We feel that massage and chiropractic can make an excellent team!

Getting adjusted not only will help relieve your low back pain, but offers other health benefits as well.  According to research by Sean M. Hannon, BA, DC, chiropractic adjustment can result in the following physiologic changes:            

  • Increased strength
  • Increased oxygen consumption capacity
  • Increased range of motion
  • Decreased pain
  • Increase cardiac regulation
  • Increased immunity

Considering these benefits, it is easy to see why athletes and other health conscious people seek out regular chiropractic care. If you suffer from chronic or even occasional back pain, contact our office.  We can help!

What are some of the techniques we use to treat low back pain?

Our doctors are trained in many different types of adjustment techniques ranging from hands-on to instrument adjusting.  They also use different types of soft tissue therapies that can benefit an injury whether it is chronic or acute.  Treating both joint and soft tissue issues allows an injury more complete resolution than either alone.  The techniques used are:

  • Graston – soft-tissue and fascia therapy
  • Activator – instrument adjusting (non-force)
  • Sacro-occipital Technique (SOT) – Use of pelvic alignment (non-force)
  • Diversified Adjustment – Manual medicine with hands
  • Thompson Drop Adjustment – Using the table to increase speed of adjustment but not the pressure put on a body
  • Quatum Neurology – instrument adjusting (non-force) uses nerve reflexes as well
  • Gonstead – Classic manual chiropractic adjustment
  • Kinesio tape – muscle therapy and proprioceptive training using tape
  • Cranio-sacral technique – hands-on soft-tissue manipulation
  • Pediatric and Pregnancy Specific adjustments – hands on but specifically designed for certain times of life
  • Webster Technique – pelvis alignment for turning breech babies