One of the most frequently asked questions in a chiropractor’s office is about the benefits of chiropractic care. There are, in fact, many benefits to chiropractic care, so let’s look at some of them here.
One of the most common benefits chiropractic patients experience is the decrease or elimination of pain. Chiropractors are trained in biomechanics and anatomy with an emphasis on the spine and the interaction of the body’s skeletal, muscular and nervous systems. Since irritation of the nerves is often the cause of pain, many chiropractic treatments and techniques focus on removing roadblocks to a healthy and well-functioning nervous system. As a result of treatment, you can expect improved joint motion and decreasing muscle spasms and tension.
Increasing and Maintaining Mobility
Many patients seek chiropractic care because they feel “stiff.” Often, that stiffness is caused by joints not moving the way they are supposed to and muscles being pulled or tightened in the wrong direction. Lack of movement can not only cause pain, but it can also contribute to arthritis or degeneration of the spine. By moving the joints and loosening tight muscles, chiropractic care can help reduce stiffness as well as retrain joints and muscles to hold and work together correctly.
Decreasing Use of Certain Over-the-Counter and Prescription Medications
As we discussed earlier, elimination or reduction of pain is commonly experienced after seeing a chiropractor. Over-the-counter pain relievers are easy to grab, but they don’t always take care of the problem for good. They only mask the symptom of pain—or “take the edge off”—and do not address the true cause of pain. In addition, they can have unwanted side effects like digestive or other internal organ distress. For example, gastrointestinal bleeding, which can be very dangerous, has been attributed to the overuse of common pain relief medications known as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
With the current opioid epidemic in the United States, there has been a lot of discussion about how to treat pain without prescription opioids. In early 2019, research was presented at a conference for the American Academy of Pain Management showing that patients who visited a chiropractor for pain were about half as likely (49%) to end up with a prescription for an opioid pain medication as patients who visited other healthcare providers for their pain.
Encouraging the Body’s “Built-in” Healing Ability
We often hear stories from patients about having fewer, less severe colds and flus when they receive chiropractic care. Evidence suggests that a spinal adjustment actually does have an impact on the immune system. Basically, this research tells us that a spinal adjustment increases immunoglobulins (which help fight infection) in the bloodstream, for at least two hours after the adjustment. Those immunoglobulins fight off harmful bacteria and viruses that cause colds, flu and other sicknesses, so it is likely that receiving a chiropractic adjustment will boost the immune system.
Research has linked chiropractic adjustments with the reduction of numerous inflammatory substances in the blood—some of which over time play a role in plaque formation and cardiovascular disease. This has major implications in the potential of chiropractic care to combat chronic diseases.
Providing a Different Perspective on Health
Chiropractors are focused on overall wellness, not just the absence of disease. Chiropractic care is unique because it can help decrease symptoms and improve function when there is a problem within the body, and it can also help prevent many of these problems from occurring in the future. There is already a body of research that supports the preventive nature of chiropractic care. Once you are feeling well, we want to keep it that way! After all, as Benjamin Franklin said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
As chiropractors, we believe our job is to correct neurologic and musculoskeletal malfunction, to reduce and eliminate pain, and to promote wellness for all of our patients. When we are able to do these things, the body can function well and do what it was designed to do, naturally. If you think chiropractic care might be the right fit for you or if you have questions about chiropractic care, don’t hesitate to ask.