During my undergraduate college days at the University of California at Davis, I interned at a chiropractic office in Woodland, California. I had previously interned in the Pediatrics department at a medical center in Sacramento, and decided that I did not want to become a medical doctor anymore. I absolutely loved interacting with the children but I was very disappointed in the results and the quality of life these children obtained through the conventional treatments they received. After looking through the internships available, I found the listing to intern under a chiropractor. I had seen a chiropractor in high school for tennis injuries and migraine headaches but never really considered becoming one myself. I figured I loved Anatomy, Physiology and working with my hands so why not give chiropractic a try? Well, I loved it so much that I maximized my internship credit in the office.
One day, I showed up for my internship with the beginning of a cough/cold. Being a college student, instead of staying in bed and taking care of myself, I showed up anyway. The chiropractor looked at me in my sick state and told me to get adjusted before I left. I was confused. I did not have any neck or back pain. At that point, I thought chiropractic care was only for musculoskeletal purposes. How could an adjustment possibly help my cold?
After getting my spine adjusted, my cold/cough was about 50% better. I got adjusted one more time that week and my cough was completely gone. Now here’s the kicker. My roommate had gotten the same cold at the same exact time and the poor girl had the same cough/cold for two more weeks. She was very upset with me so now I make sure to adjust her every time she visits!
So how is this possible?
Can chiropractic help the immune system or was it all just luck?
Neurologically, the chiropractic adjustments stimulate nerves that fire to the brain which is called “proprioception.” Proprioception is healthy nerve stimulation that tells the body where it is in space. It is like the body’s GPS system. When a spine has proper alignment and full range of motion, the healthy proprioceptive nerves fire to the brain. When a spine is misaligned, or subluxated, and not moving properly, “nociceptive” or stress nerves fire to the brain. Interestingly enough, stimulation by nociceptive nerves create an unhealthy stress response in the entire body which is the body’s natural defense mechanism to get out of a dangerous situation. This stressful nerve input to the brain can actually lower the immune response in the body since your body is purely focused on getting away from the stress stimulus/environment. The chiropractic adjustments actually increases the proprioceptive (healthy) nerve stimulation that override the nociceptive nerve signal which in turn stops the stress signals which put a damper on the immune system. Bottom-line, the chiropractic adjustment gives you an immune system boost! This is why my cold/cough got better so fast.
It is no wonder that patients every day in every chiropractic office claim that they just don’t get sick anymore or if they do it’s short-lived and mild. I joke and call them chiropractic colds. I had a patient who was a nurse in a pediatrics department of a hospital who was the only staff member who did not get sick for an entire year! Everyone else passed around Strep Throat and other nasty colds/flu.
When the nervous system works better, the whole body works better. The nervous system controls every cell, tissue, and organ in the body including the immune system. Subluxations, or misalignments, interfere with the nervous system which is the body’s central communication line. If the body’s communication line is not working, the body cannot heal properly. If I called you with one bar of cell on my cellphone, would you get a clear message? Of course not! Your body’s messages get interfered with when your spine is subluxated (Read my subluxation blog for more information).
It is important to keep your spine and nervous system healthy so that your whole body works to its optimal potential! Chiropractic care must be a part of everyone’s health regime. You must eat right, think right, and move right! If an apple a day keeps a doctor away, then an adjustment a week keeps your health at a peak!