There is a claim gaining ground that chiropractic care can help you maintain better overall health and wellness. This is all fine to say, but is there any proof of this? Does chiropractic care boost your immune system?
Studies show that chiropractic care can, in fact, boost your immune system. There are several possible reasons for this, which we’ll discuss in detail in this article. In general terms, the immune system and nervous system are both positively affected by chiropractic adjustments and other modalities.
Chiropractic care views the body as one interdependent unit where changes in one part of the body have an effect on another part. More and more scientific research is coming out supporting the fact that the body is, in fact, interrelated.
Of course, this may seem like common sense to some. But the fact is that, within the scientific and medical community, the proof only comes in the form of studies outlining that cause and effect.
As more evidence is generated, it is becoming more and more clear that chiropractic care, which deals mainly with the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, has a positive effect on the immune system. And that chiropractic adjustments in particular help to improve the immune system.
This is not to say that chiropractic care can cure any diseases, but as preventative care, it has shown tremendous promise. The tie between the immune system and the nervous system is becoming more apparent as a result.
Chiropractic Care and The Immune System
Chiropractic care deals directly with the nervous system through spinal adjustments. When the spine is misaligned it can interfere with the communication of the nervous system throughout the body. And when the spine is in proper alignment, it can communicate clearly. It’s clear that the autonomic nervous system communicates with the immune system to help manage immune responses in the body.
When you understand this, it’s easy to see how chiropractic adjustments can help benefit the immune system indirectly through the nervous system. One review of existing literature found that chiropractic adjustments affected biomarkers responsible for immune response, inflammation, and the healing of tissue.
This is just one way that chiropractic adjustments work to improve the immune system.
Chiropractic and Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases occur when the body starts to attack its own cells and organs, mistaking them for harmful invaders. The most common autoimmune diseases include IBS, lupus, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.
Among other things, stress is thought to be a trigger for autoimmune diseases. In addition to chiropractic adjustments boosting overall immunity, chiropractic care has also proved effective at stress relief and prevention. Among the many benefits of chiropractic care, stress relief is often overlooked. But, many chiropractic patients report stress relief following chiropractic care.
Not only does chiropractic care help relieve physical stress in the muscles and joints, but it also has a calming and relaxing effect. And it’s not just through spinal adjustments that this happens, although it is a major factor. Chiropractic massage and different physical therapy modalities used by chiropractors can also serve to relieve stress, which can help manage autoimmune diseases.
Chiropractic Care and Lupus
Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which inflammation and pain are very common and can become debilitating. While chiropractic care will not cure lupus, it can be very effective in relieving pain and reducing inflammation so the patient can stay active and live a relatively “normal” life.
Of course, stress relief is also a big part of care for any autoimmune disease, whether it be from a chiropractor or by other means, relieving stress should be a top priority for anyone with an autoimmune disease.
Chiropractic Scientific Evidence and Examples
While there are numerous studies that demonstrate chiropractic care’s influence on the immune system, there is still work to be done to bring this science to the mainstream. But, let’s take a look at the existing evidence in this section.
- A small study in 1994 studied the effects of spinal manipulation on patients with HIV. They found that those who received upper cervical adjustments saw a 48% increase in CD4 levels. CD4 cells, also known as T cells, are abnormally low in those with HIV, so increasing those levels could be equated to a boost in immune system function.
- Another small study of women with nonspecific low back pain found that spinal manipulation increased the biomarkers oxytocin, neurotensin, and orexin. While this was a small study, it did show that manipulation does create a response in the biomarkers that help regulate the immune system, among other things.
- Yet another study sought to see if spinal adjustments had any effect on the production of Interleukin-2 (IL-2). The study found that those subjects who received spinal manipulations had increased levels of IL-2, which is an immune system signaling molecule that helps to regulate the white blood cells and the immune system.
All of these studies are documented here.
How Chiropractors Boost Health and Immune System?
It’s worth mentioning here in the last section of this article that more and more chiropractors are hiring or themselves becoming certified nutritionists. This is yet another way that chiropractors can help their patients stay healthy, balanced, and active. The importance of a proper diet, combined with a well-functioning immune system and nervous system cannot be overstated.
In summation, chiropractors help boost health and the immune system through:
- Spinal manipulations
- Soft tissue therapy
- Stress and anxiety relief
- Pain relief
- Musculoskeletal corrections
- Ergonomic tips
- Lifestyle and nutrition advice
- Exercise advice and tips
You don’t have to receive a recommendation from a physician to see a chiropractor. In fact, chiropractic care as preventative care is becoming more and more popular. So whether or not you’re in pain or feel like you’re suffering from a dampened immune system, you can go see a chiropractor anytime.