When people hear the word “chiropractor” they typically think of a place you go when you are experiencing head, neck or back pain, or they think of something that they don’t believe is necessary for their wellness routine (#taboo). Too often people incorrectly assume that you can only benefit from chiropractic care when you have experienced an injury or have been in a car accident. The truth is that by the time your back, neck or shoulders are feeling pain you are already well past the threshold of needing pain relief. I spent some time in my early 20’s working at a Chiropractic Clinic in Woodbury, MN, and our Doctors always told us that only about 10% of pain is felt through our spinal cords. A lot of pain we can experience in our bodies actually goes unnoticeable to us until it gets bad enough for us to finally feel it.
“Chiropractic is a health care discipline which emphasizes the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs and surgery. The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health.” – The Association of Chiropractic Colleges.
So what is chiropractic care anyway?
Coined the “godfather of chiropractic”, D.D. Palmer was the first person to claim that spinal abnormalities were the root causes of many diseases in the body, well over 120 years ago. Palmer began treating his own patients in the 1890’s, and opened the first school offering training in chiropractic techniques in 1897.
The Palmer College of Chiropractic states that the purpose of chiropractic care is to optimize the health of your body, and the ability for it to heal itself of everyday stressors and ailments, naturally. The spine and the nervous system are so interconnected, and on a biochemical and cellular level have the ability to change our health for the better in dramatic ways.
Chiropractors are focused on removing vertebral subluxations, (blocks), in the body to help improve nervous system and organ functionalities. There are a lot of different methods and techniques for adjustments out there, giving you a wide range of options to find what best works for you.
Should you be getting regular chiropractic care?
I’ve been going to a chiropractor for over 10 years of my adult life and consider my chiropractor my “wellness doctor”. I remember going with my dad to the chiropractor when I was a kid and being traumatized by hearing the doctor “crack” him, sometimes even crying in the chair during his entire adjustment. But then during my college years when I was on a serious holistic health kick I came across a local chiropractic wellness center and ended up falling in love with the practice as a whole (and I even seriously contemplated changing my school path to become one).
I’ve continued seeing a chiropractor through my adult life for “maintenance care” and will continue to do so for as long as I can! Even if you are not experiencing localized neck or back pain, it’s still important to remove the subluxations in your body, preventing your nervous system from functioning at its optimal levels. Our nervous system is our master controller of everything in our bodies, and our spines are responsible to protect it. Everything is so interconnected, and if our tissues and organs are functioning better, then so is our nervous system, and vice versa! When things are out of tune, blocked, or impacted by stressors, that is when we start to see illness, ailments and disease (dis-ease) in the body.
To me, it makes a whole heck of a lot more sense to partake in preventative wellness measures than to pay the price with my “sickness doctor” down the road.
How can regular chiropractic care benefit you?
There are so many ways my friends, but let’s go over a list of 10 reasons to start!
Increased Immune System Response
Did you know that regular chiropractic care can dramatically improve your bodies immune system functionality? Rumor had it back in my clinic days that that increase could be as huge as a whopping 200%! If anyone were to ever ask me my secret to not getting sick, this is it. I haven’t had the flu in as long as I can remember and I rarely come down with even the common cold. Our nervous system controls the functionality of our organs, and their ability to fight off viruses and bacteria. So it makes sense that optimal nervous system functionality is key to keeping us all healthy all the time, and through every season!
Lowered blood pressure
Chiropractic adjustments can help lower blood pressure and is described by WebMD as being as powerful as taking several blood pressure medications at once – plus it’s a natural remedy! There is even a technique known in the chiropractic world, called the “Atlas Adjustment” that targets lowering blood pressure specifically. But if that’s not enough to convince you, in 2007 a world expert on hypertension, George Bakris, published a study in the Human Journal of Hypertension showing that one chiropractic adjustment had the same effect as two blood pressure lowering medications.
Relief from allergies
So many people suffer from seasonal allergies and just mask the symptoms with medications instead of getting to the root cause of it all. I used to suffer from seasonal allergies bad, to the point of always getting debilitating sinus infections. Once I finally understood that incorporating regular chiropractic care to remove the interference from my nervous system, I no longer have to worry about the pollen count or the spring time budding.
As stated by my local chiropractor, The Joint, “If your immune system is functioning at its best then it will be able keep out the invaders that make you sick, like pollen, mold or dust. It will work right and instead of making you sicker, it will help you to stay well.”
Increased digestion & lowered inflammation
Even our stomachs are controlled by the nerves that run through our spinal cord, and when misaligned they can cause things like acid reflux, indigestion, gas, heartburn, etc. When you remove the subluxations blocking these neural pathways, you can typically eliminate most digestion related conditions.
According to Natural News Health Ranger, many studies also show that regular chiropractic care can help restore optimal functionality in those that suffer a wide range of digestive disturbances. A lot of bodily conditions we experience can be caused by irritation to spinal cord roots –– something that chiropractic care can help to relieve!
Increased exercise and athletic ability
Your body won’t just be operating at a higher functionality, you will feel more energized too! Removing nerve subluxations allows your muscles and organs to give you their all for each workout or athletic activity you participate in. Many pro athletes receive regular chiropractic care to help them give their best A-game. In fact, all 32 NFL teams use chiropractors! Regular adjustments can give you an increased range of motion, reduced recovery time, decreased muscle soreness, and natural pain relief.
Relief from headaches and migraines
Chiropractic care can remove stress and interference of the nerves in every part of your body, but especially your head. As stated by Natural News, “The brain is the master control system for the entire body…When there is interference in this neurological feedback loop, it alters the environment the brain perceives itself to be in.” While working at a natural health office, anytime I was feeling a headache coming on an adjustment immediately cleared the fog and pain away. chiropractic adjustments are also a great approach to treat migraines. Second only to back pain, most chiropractic clinics state that headaches and migraines are the next most common reason people seek out care.
Joint pain relief
Any musculoskeletal pain or conditions can be treated with safe and non-invasive chiropractic care. Aside from joint pain, this also includes low back pain and stiffness. Chiropractors can also make adjustments to other areas of your body – not just your spine. In past years I’ve had my ankles, knees, and even my fingers adjusted for optimal relief! Overall adjustments give your joints more mobility and reduce joint restrictions and inflammation. According to the Arthritis Foundation, “there are more than 150 techniques that chiropractors use to manually adjust the spine, joints and muscles with varying degrees of force.”
Increased energy levels
Regular chiropractic care can increase your energy levels by releasing tension we hold in our spine which then allows our nervous system to work more effectively. It can also help you sleep better at night which in turn helps increase your overall energy during the day, according to The Joint. By reducing tiresome troubles we experience, we could all be functioning with much higher energy levels. So many of us are tense and we don’t even know it until something health related points it out for us. Many chiropractors say that a frequent cause of fatigue is a misaligned spine.
Decreased Spinal Disc Degeneration
“The ultimate goal of chiropractic care for disc degeneration is to help and improve the joint mechanics by reducing cases of inflammation and improving overall spinal motion.” – The Joint.
It sounds super scary, and it definitely can be, but a lot of us are experiencing disc degeneration in our spine and might not even know it! I grew up very athletic, playing a lot of contact sports, and never would have thought that staying fit and active could cause my spinal discs to start degenerating.
There are other reasons this can happen too, but contact sports definitely comes into play. Regular chiropractic care can help stop the degeneration from happening further, but unfortunately there still isn’t any way to “grow” the discs back. Chiropractors are able to take scans and X-rays of your spines “current condition” and help formulate a care plan that will work best for you to keep your spine as healthy as possible.
Increased holistic wellness
Natural News says it well, “chiropractic is health care, not disease care.” Our bodies have an innate ability to restore themselves, and our nervous systems hold the key to incredible potential to have us operating at our best. We ourselves also have the power to help set our bodies up to succeed through things like regular exercise, nutrition, and chiropractic care.
You are only one adjustment away from a good mood.
The list of benefits is exhaustive in the all the best ways possible, and there are so many more positive ways chiropractic care can impact your life. Studies show that regular adjustments can also help with things like ear infections, ADHD, asthma, infantile colic, food sensitivities, neurological conditions, sciatica, ulcers, regulation of menstrual cycles and so much more!
The best part is that chiropractic care is completely natural, and safe and effective for everyone, of all ages, and is even highly encouraged for infants, due to the oftentimes traumatic stressors of birth – especially c-sections, and the elderly, who could always benefit from an extra boost of wellness to stay optimally strong! Regular chiropractic care can help our bodies operate the way they were designed and intended to, and heal on their own.
If you’re interested in finding your own chiropractor, the best way to do so is to check out what options might be available to you locally, or even ask around to friends and family for a referral. You can also check what is covered through your insurance, but I personally have chosen to go to chiropractors who don’t operate through insurance and pick out a private plan instead. Chiropractic care is complementary to mainstream medicinal approaches too.
Our spine really is our lifeline, so we have to do what we can to treat it right!