Chiropractic adjustments are a drug-free, noninvasive path to pain relief. A chiropractor will use massage-type therapeutic movements to realign your spinal segments.
Manipulation can help reduce back pain, sciatica, and headaches (like cervicogenic). It can also enhance energy levels and boost the immune system. Regular adjustments can also break down adhesions in the muscles and joints.
1. Reduces Stress
The body and mind work together, and when your spine isn’t functioning as it should, this can cause stress. When you’re stressed, your muscles tense up, and this can cause pain in the back and other areas of the body. Stress can also interfere with sleep and cause headaches, such as cervicogenic headaches (those that originate in the neck). Regular chiropractic adjustments can help balance your physical health and lower your overall stress levels.
Your chiropractor can palpate your spinal joints to find areas that aren’t moving properly. Then they will use their hands to apply pressure in different ways to get the joints to move better. You may hear a “cracking” sound as this happens, which is nothing to worry about. Once the joints start to move correctly, your body will release beneficial chemicals called endorphins, which make you feel good.
Chiropractic care has been proven to reduce inflammation which can lead to reducing the aches and pains associated with stress. It can also improve blood flow which can help regulate your blood pressure. When you have normal blood pressure, it’s much easier to handle the stressors of life without feeling overwhelmed.
In addition to reducing stress, chiropractic can help with anxiety by triggering the release of hormones such as cortisol and oxytocin. These hormones can boost feelings of bonding, decrease anxiety, and alleviate pain from inflammation to improve mental health. In fact, a 2020 study found that chiropractic treatment can significantly reduce the need for opioid pain relievers when treating back and neck pain. This can be helpful for people who are hesitant to take prescription drugs because of their side effects.
2. Improves Sleep
Many people come to see a chiropractor because of pain that interferes with sleep. Some of these conditions are back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and restless leg syndrome (RLS). These conditions have different labels but they all interact with the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems. That is why chiropractic treats a wide range of pain conditions. It focuses on the underlying issue, not just the label. Medications and surgeries are often used to treat these pain conditions, but they do not always provide long-term relief. Regular chiropractic adjustments, on the other hand, are shown to help reduce and even eliminate these pains.
Studies show that poor sleep and insomnia are linked to a number of health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, weakened immune system, depression, anxiety, and weight gain. It is also linked to a higher risk of car accidents as it slows down reaction times.
The root cause of most sleep issues is spinal misalignments. A misalignment in the spine can skew the signals that are sent from the brain to the rest of the body, which can lead to inflammation and imbalances. Chiropractic adjustment helps correct these misalignments, improving the function of the nervous system and allowing the body to relax and fall asleep naturally.
Chiropractors use manual manipulation to address the underlying problem causing sleeplessness. The adjustment can improve spinal alignment, decrease nerve irritability, relieve tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back, reduce spasms, loosen tight muscles, release tension in the connective tissue surrounding muscle groups (fascia), and increase blood flow throughout the body. This leads to a deeper sleep and less pain during the day. This allows you to be more productive at work, play with your kids more, and just live a healthier life.
3. Reduces Inflammation
Chirocare services have a ton of health benefits. Typically, when one goes to the chiropractor they are dealing with some form of back pain. Medications and surgery are options for treating this, but these have their own side effects. A chiropractic adjustment has been shown to be a non-invasive way to reduce inflammation. This is important because chronic inflammation plays a role in several diseases including cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and many others (click here). A chiropractic adjustment can help to decrease the body’s production of inflammatory cytokines.
When you receive an adjustment, the chiropractor will palpate the spine looking for areas that aren’t moving as well. The chiropractor will then use a rapid short lever arm thrust that precisely targets the vertebrae that need to be adjusted. When this happens, you might hear a popping sound. This is nothing to be alarmed about, it’s just a release of gas that occurs in the joint as the pressure changes. The result is improved joint movement and decreased pain and stiffness.
Another thing to note is that chiropractic adjustments can improve the “gut-brain connection” which is important for things like acid reflux and ear infections (click here). A recent study also found that chiropractic treatment reduced inflammation in all parts of the body.
In addition to adjusting the spine, your chiropractor may also recommend lifestyle advice to help you keep your inflammation under control. This might include a diet low in sugar and salt, exercise, sleep management, stress reduction techniques, and avoiding overuse of certain joints. Taking these measures can help to prevent inflammation from recurring, which can be the cause of things like bursitis. The improved flexibility and mobility resulting from chiropractic care can make it easier to avoid overusing these joints.
4. Increases Flexibility
When the muscles surrounding your spine and joints are tight, it is hard for them to perform their function. Chiropractic adjustments help to improve flexibility by restoring normal movement in the spine and other joints. This also helps strengthen the muscles and tissues surrounding these joints, making them more effective and less susceptible to injury in the future.
Your chiropractor will gently manipulate the muscles of your back during an adjustment. This can cause a slight “cracking” sound, but don’t worry! This is nothing to be alarmed over as it is simply the release of gas. This will usually make you feel much better and relieves tension.
Aside from helping you get back into a more natural alignment, chiropractic adjustment has been shown to reduce inflammation which can help reduce pain. If you have high blood pressure, it can also be helped by chiropractic adjustment as it has been found to lower blood pressure naturally without the use of medication.
While some inflammation is a good thing as it indicates the body’s attempts to heal, too much can be detrimental. Inflammation can increase the pain you experience and lead to stiffness, muscle spasms, and a general feeling of unwellness. Chiropractic adjustment has been found to reduce inflammation, allowing your muscles and bones to move more freely and ease your pain.
After getting a chiropractic adjustment, it is important to support the healing process by incorporating exercises that promote proper posture and movement. It is also a good idea to start slow when returning to exercise, avoiding high impact activities until you have been given the green light by your chiropractor. Drinking a lot of water is essential, too, as it will help flush the toxins from the body following an adjustment.
5. Improves Mental Health
Many people suffer from mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. These disorders can greatly affect their lives. They can make it hard for them to do everyday things such as sleep, work, socialize or look after their family1.
It is believed that spinal misalignments, also known as vertebral subluxations, may cause issues with the mind and body connection2. When a chiropractor pushes on the spine during an adjustment, they create better connections between the brain and the rest of the body, which improves the overall mood. This improved mood can help reduce the symptoms of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression1.
During a chiropractic adjustment, patients may learn techniques to relax their muscles which will decrease the pressure on their nerves, which in turn will improve their emotional state. Regular chiropractic treatments can help reduce the need for pain medications, which in turn will further help improve a person’s mood and alleviate some of their anxiety and stress.
In addition to the physical benefits of a chiropractic adjustment, mental health can be improved through diet and lifestyle. Adding certain supplements and vitamins to your diet can help you feel more relaxed, increase your energy levels, and fight stress. Many chiropractors will recommend a list of exercises, stretches or other activities to their patients that can be done at home to fight stress and fatigue.
Chiropractors have a responsibility to promote and support suicide prevention as part of their professional duties. This includes awareness of the risk factors of suicide and suicide attempts for their musculoskeletal pain patients. This also means recognizing pronoun misuse in written and verbal clinic communication to provide a more inclusive environment for the transgender community, who are at increased risk of suicide4. It is recommended that all chiropractors have some level of training in recognizing suicidal symptoms and assisting their patients to seek the proper care for mental illnesses2. This can be achieved through training courses provided by their chiropractic associations.