And it’s true that chiropractic does help ease back pain associated with herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, whiplash from auto accidents, and other spine-related issues related to structure or alignment. Plus, it does so naturally without the use of pain medications that typically come with unwanted side effects like drowsiness and inability to concentrate.
However, the benefits of this type of healthcare treatment extend way beyond back pain relief. Let’s discuss three of the most notable ones now.
1. Headache relief
Three of the most common types of headaches are cervicogenic headaches (which are headaches caused by issues with the soft tissues in your neck), tension headaches, and migraines. Regardless of which ones you may get most frequently though, finding relief is often imperative to living life versus spending a lot of time on the couch or in bed, unable to complete even the easiest of tasks like helping your child with homework or taking the dog for a walk.
A systematic literature search published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics discussed 21 different studies which found that “chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation” can improve various types of headache pain. Specifically, it can reduce your headache intensity, frequency, and duration—three important aspects of head pain relief.1
Improved digestive issues
Your spinal column houses your central nervous system, which means you can suffer from digestive issues if it is misaligned as your nerves are unable to properly carry messages from your brain to your digestive organs. For instance, issues with your T4 to T9 vertebrae (which are roughly mid-back) can affect your stomach or gallbladder, and misaligned T10 to T12 vertebrae (mid to lower back) will likely impact your intestinal region.
One case report involving a 25-year-old woman found that spinal manipulation helped ease her major digestive issues due to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). She suffered with intestinal pain and diarrhea, both of which were worse when she was stressed. However, she reported no further issues with either IBS symptom as a result of chiropractic treatment, experiencing relief after the very first manipulation.2
An article posted by Natural News explains that the central nervous system is tied to immunity and that any misalignment in your spine can affect the nerves responsible for ensuring that you are as healthy as you can be. Specifically, the author states that “[n]erve stimulation directly affects the growth and function of inflammatory cells,” so any dysfunction neurologically can ultimately affect your body’s ability to fight off infection and disease at the cellular level.3
To support this, he cites research that found that people who engaged in chiropractic care had immune systems that were 200 percent stronger than those who did not receive spinal manipulations. The author also noted that spinal injury patients had a higher risk of cancer, but chiropractic offered 400 percent “greater immune competence” in this particular group, as well.
So, while chiropractic can help relieve back pain, what it offers patients is so much more. It can help ease headaches, improve digestion, and increase immunity, for starters. That makes it beneficial to whole body health, not just to the health of your back.
1 Bryans R, et al. Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 2011:34(5);274–289.
2 Owen J, Malone E, Wagner T. “Irritable bowel syndrome and spinal manipulation: a case report.” EnCognitive.com. http://www.encognitive.com/node/5676. Accessed February 2015.
3 Jockers D. “Chiropractic boosts immunity.” NaturalNews.com. http://www.naturalnews.com/031206_chiropractic_immunity.html. Published February 2011. Accessed February 2015.