Bottom Line: Back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Maybe that’s how you discovered chiropractic care. The research supporting chiropractic adjustments as the top choice to reduce pain and increase function for those body signals is overwhelming. But, what’s even more exciting is the research showcasing how chiropractic adjustments may be able to do much more. Emerging research has begun to show that chiropractic care can impact your immune system, helping it function at a higher level. In other words, chiropractic care may not only be able to help you get well, but it also may be able to help you stay well!
Why it Matters: Recent research has shown that chiropractic adjustments can reduce the production of inflammatory mediators. With less inflammatory mediators you feel better, with less pain. Why does it matter? Well, inflammation, and the creation of inflammatory mediators is part of your immune system. The autonomic nervous system is made up of two divisions- the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. The parasympathetic nervous system is in charge of rest and recovery. Your sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the fight or flight response. When your sympathetic nervous system is activated, your immune system isn’t able to rest and recover very well. Recently, new research indicated that chiropractic adjustments can reduce sympathetic nerve activity. When your stress response is lowered, your immune system can better fight off sickness.
- Adjustments can reduce inflammatory mediators, which can provide pain relief
- Research has shown adjustments to decrease our sympathetic nerve activity
- Relaxation of neck tension after an adjustment is common, helping you feel better
Next Steps: Many people start chiropractic care to get their life back from pain. But, preliminary research has shown that adjustments may have an impact on your immune function as well. Patients frequently tell us that since the start of their chiropractic care they get sick less often, and it looks as though the research is starting to prove it. If you have a friend or loved one who seems to get sick quite often, take this study and share it with them. It may be their first step towards a healthier immune system!
Enhanced phagocytic cell respiratory burst induced by spinal manipulation: potential role of substance P. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. September 1991
Spinal Manipulative Therapy Reduces Inflammatory Cytokines but Not Substance P Production in Normal Subjects. January 2006
Interleukin 2-regulated in vitro antibody production following a single spinal manipulative treatment in normal subjects. Chiropractic & Osteopathy. September 2010
Glucose Metabolic Changes in the Brain and Muscles of Patients with Nonspecific Neck Pain Treated by Spinal Manipulation Therapy. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017