10 Researched Benefits of Chiropractic
According to the World Health Organization, chiropractic care is “a health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on general health.” In other words, chiropractic adjustments not only alleviate pain as it relates to the central nervous system and muscles, it also treats and prevents systemic problems from impacting your quality of life. The research on benefits of chiropractic care is growing.
Chiropractic care is the most sought after form of natural (non-medical) health care in the world. A large percentage of cancer survivors alone seek chiropractic procedures to improve their quality of life from alleviating pain, mood, stress and improving sleep habits (1). Here are some of the top benefits of chiropractic people experience everyday.
1. Improves Sports Performance
Doctors of Chiropractic can effectively treat common sports related injuries such as muscle strains, tennis elbow, pelvic sprains, and even diagnosis concussions (2). Sports specific chiropractors focus on relieving pressure in the joints, soft tissue and typical spinal adjusting techniques to prevent injuries and increasing recovery times comparable to strength training.
All athletes and non-athletes alike can learn from chiropractors the proper technique for playing a game of basketball and minimizing muscle fatigue for example or how to exercise with limited unnecessary pressure on the body. (3)
Whether you have a child participating in gymnastics or you are an avid runner or a participant in the Olympics, chiropractic care improves sports performance by increasing mobilization, eye-hand coordination, dexterity and balance. Chiropractic also reduces both the number of injuries during a game, the severity of injuries and the rehabilitation period.
2. Chiropractic Alleviates Headaches
Headache disorders not only adversely affect our health but they also impact our society by influencing our ability to concentrate and work effectively. Chronic headaches can result from the abnormal positioning of the head and can be worsened from neck pressure and movement. Chiropractic treatment removes obstructing structures whether it may be from the distant tightening of knots in the back causing strain on spine or an anatomical abnormality such as abnormal curvature to the spinal cord. (4)
Chiropractic treatment can reduce the duration of headaches, lower their intensity when they do occur and limit the frequency of their occurrence all together.
3. Stimulates the Immune System
The nervous system is in direct function with the immune system and our overall health. Ideally, the pathways of nerves from the central nervous system require open communication with the immune system to help the body heal and repair itself properly. Chiropractic care removes any roadblocks which obstruct the lines of communication so that the body can grow and develop and be positively influenced from an optimal immune system (5).
Although mostly anecdotal evidence suggests, it is reported that children who have chiropractic treatment regularly have fewer infections and are less stricken with the common cold or flu. Down to the DNA level, chiropractic care boost immunity by enabling the body to function at its maximum potential without any foreign assistance from medications and surgery.
4. Chiropractic For Wellness and Prevention
Chiropractors seek to treat conditions and diseases to improve the major symptoms of concern as well as to treat underlying problems and other systemic complications which may arise. Decompression techniques and spinal care can alleviate these concerns with no known side effects and also improve the hours which an individual is able to sleep (5).
Gastrointestinal Issues: Many illnesses and diseases affect our quality of life by influencing our dependence for medications, our obesity rates and longevity. Some of the most common conditions and diseases which negatively affect all ages within our society today are gastrointestinal complaints.
Colic, chronic constipation, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and heartburn may be detected in infants to older adults and has likely affected you at some point in your life. The most prevalent condition worldwide is irritable bowel syndrome. (2, 5)
Cancer: Cancer patients seek chiropractic care for improved wellness care and prevention through education. One of the first signs of undiagnosed cancer is musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction as well as headaches and overall wellness and improved immunity.
Chiropractic care helps to reduce stress on the body and improves the immune system function. Some cancer patients have also shown to respond better to natural treatments like chiropractic care as opposed to conventional therapies and medication. (6)
5. Reduces Allergies and Asthma
Although much greater documentation and studies are required to support the benefits of chiropractic treatment in improving allergies and allergy related conditions such as asthma, chiropractors and parents alike believe that children can benefit from chiropractic treatment.
In what limited studies do exist, chiropractic treatment improved symptoms of asthma including the use of medication, fewer asthma attacks and an increased quality of life due to the lessening of overall symptoms reported by patients (2).
6. Chiropractic and Pregnancy
Chiropractic care may be used to assist in making a woman’s pregnancy as comfortable as possible and increasing the likelihood of an uncomplicated labor and delivery. Throughout pregnancy, women experience back pain resulting from the changing weight distribution on the pelvis and joints. This results in pain, muscle spasms and also increases the possibility which severe back pain will affect the woman during labor.
A chiropractor’s primary focus during pregnancy is to balance the pelvis, muscles and ligaments and relieve pressure on the uterus. As a result, chiropractic care assists the fetus in being born in a preferable position and reduces the chances of a needed cesarean section. Reportedly, 72% of women report relief from pain during pregnancy and labor when receiving chiropractic treatments. (7)
Women learn how to regularly follow an exercise routine suitable for her abilities which limits weight gain, relieves stress hormones, better enables her to sleep more comfortably and possibly enjoy a faster recovery time following pregnancy.
7. Reduces Chronic Pain
In the United States and Canada, low back pain is the most common occupational injury and affects more than 10% of the population globally. Low back pain is the number 6 ranked reason as it relates to medical cost in North America alone and this cost rises annually (8). Compared to conventional medical management procedures, chiropractic care is not only relatively low fee but improves the healing of the entire body.
Chiropractors do not only seek to remove the cause of the pain, but doctors of chiropractic also focus on education. Education is critical to limiting work related injuries, disability, cost of care, side effects and chiropractic treatment is also a patient preference in providing relief from chronic pain (8).
8. Behavioral and Learning Disabilities
The most common type of natural care received by pediatric patients is chiropractic. Chiropractic treatment can improve wellness and has been suggested to improve symptoms of hyperactivity and disruptive behavior linked to ADHD and learning disabilities associated with autism. Additionally, because it boosts immune function, it helps prevent childhood illnesses, fevers, colds and flu’s.
Scientific evidence supports that chiropractic care relieves learning and behavioral problems by increasing a child’s ability to concentrate and it also treats irritability and mood swings. (9)
9. Reduces Dependence on Medication
Along with a rise in health care costs, there has also been a steady increase in patients seeking spinal related treatment by 65% over an 8 year period (10). An estimated 96% of individuals with chronic low back pain issues can be treated non-surgically.
Many symptoms of subluxation, or the misalignment of the spine which chiropractic focuses on adjusting, include headaches, migraines, mood disorders and chronic pain in all areas of our body. What is the first line of treatment which most individuals seek out to provide relief for these concerns? Over the counter and prescription medicine.
Unlike medicine, chiropractic treatment can treat all of these issues which we seek to hide with synthetic drugs. The U.S. FDA (Federal Drug Administration) reports serious injuries and deaths relating to drug use with terrifying annual statistics reaching tens of thousands (11).
Again, unlike chiropractic care, drugs have adverse side effects in young adults because most drugs have unintended consequences due to their lack of clinical testing. The Chief of Pediatrics at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Dr. Joseph Wiley, is quoted with saying “If you extrapolate from an adult dose to a pediatric dose, you may be right…you may be wrong.” (11)
10. Normalizes Blood Pressure
Hypertension affects one in every three Americans, the majority of which use medication to manage the condition. Various studies show that chiropractic care most significantly controls blood pressure in patients. Individuals in clinical trials have shown to have a drop in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings following a chiropractic adjustment (12).
Other studies show that chiropractic care has the same health benefits in regulating blood pressure as do two commonly prescribed medications have when used in combination. Patients with low blood pressure or hypotension have also shown to have their blood pressure reach normal range following chiropractic treatments.
Although the underlying mechanisms are not entirely certain, researchers postulate that the focus on the Atlas or top of the bone in the neck significantly impacts the regulation of blood pressure due to its proximity to the brain stem. (11)