(see below for top 9 Chiropractic Studies and Research)
What Chiropractors Believe
Chiropractors pride themselves on taking a natural, drugless approach to helping their patients reach their health goals. Essentially, the basic principle upon which the entire profession is built upon is that our bodies have the amazing innate ability to heal itself. Because the nervous system controls every cell and organ in our body, chiropractors focus their attention on the health of your spine being properly aligned and if there are shifts, helping the spine come back into alignment.
History of Chiropractic Benefits Deafness
The natural healing art of chiropractic was first developed by a magnetic healer named D.D. Palmer in 1895. According to history, it all started when Harvey Lillard – a man who was deaf in one ear – went in to see Palmer for his condition hoping that he had something up his sleeve to cure the deafness.
When Palmer learned that Lillard suffered a head injury that preceded his condition, he evaluated his spine and noticed that a vertebra in the upper back seemed wildly out of alignment.
According to Palmer,
“I had a case of heart trouble which was not improving. I examined the spine and found a displaced vertebra pressing against the nerves, which innervate the heart. I adjusted the vertebra and gave immediate relief — nothing “accidental” or “crude” about this. Then I began to reason if two diseases, so dissimilar as deafness and heart trouble, came from impingement, a pressure on nerves, were not other diseases due to a similar cause? Thus the science (knowledge) and art (adjusting) of Chiropractic were formed at that time.”
Palmer coined his manual therapy technique chiropractic, which comes from the two Greek words cheiros and praktikos (meaning “with hands”). Since then, countless millions of people across the globe have benefited from this manual therapy that some sources date back to Hippocrates!
At the core of the numerous chiropractic miracle stories is a concept known as “vertebral subluxation.” When chiropractors use this phrase, they are referring to mechanical compression and irritation to spinal joints and nerves. In Harvey Lillard’s case, the nerves affecting his sense of hearing were compromised and once D.D. Palmer freed his body of this “neurological insult,” his hearing was restored.
- For someone else, it could be sciatica
- Or gastrointestinal complaints
- Or (fill in the blank)
When you consider how all cells and organs in your body are controlled by nerves traveling through your spinal canal, it’s mind-blowing to consider how vast the side effects can be!
Why Get Chiropractic Adjustments?
Many things can lead to a vertebral subluxation (“misalignment”). Some of the more common causes are:
- A vertebra going out of place (subluxation) because of an auto, sports or work accident, slip or fall (i.e. “macrotrauma”)
- The entire spine mis-aligning globally due to poor posture (i.e. “microtrauma”).
- Joint swelling caused by damage done to the intervertebral joint.
- An inflammatory response caused by a poor diet, lack of pure water, or psychological stress.
- Osteoporosis or degenerative changes of the spine or intervertebral discs.
- Trigger points and tight back muscles that pull the vertebrae out of place.
Benefits of Physical Therapy
Physical therapists are experts in reducing pain, improving mobility and motion, and creating pain-free movement which is crucial to your quality of daily life, your ability to earn a living, your ability to pursue your favorite leisure activities, and so much more.
Physical therapy (PT) is a type of treatment needed when injuries and health problems make it hard to move around and do everyday tasks. PT helps you move better, relieve pain and resume your normal lifestyle. It also helps improve or restore physical function and improve fitness levels.
The goal of physical therapy is to make daily tasks and activities easier. For example, it may help with walking, going up stairs, or getting in and out of bed.
Physical therapy can help with recovery after injuries and surgery. Your doctor may suggest physical therapy for injuries or long-term health problems such as arthritis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Physical therapy may be used alone or with other treatments.
What does a physical therapist do?
Our physical therapist will examine and talk to you about your symptoms and your daily activity. She will then work with you on a treatment plan. The goals are to help your joints move better and to restore or increase your flexibility, strength, endurance, coordination, and/or balance.
First, we will try to reduce your pain and swelling. We may use manual therapy, education, and techniques such as heat, cold, water, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation.
Physical therapy almost always includes exercise. It can include stretching, core exercises, weight lifting, and walking. We will also teach you an exercise program so you can support your office care with “home work”.
Improve Mobility & Motion
Movement can help you prevent obesity, which may be responsible for at least 18% of US adult deaths. Meanwhile, recent studies suggest that prolonged sitting can be unhealthy, and that walking just a little bit more each day can help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Consistent movement is also vital to maintaining a healthy balance system. That’s important because falls often lead to significant, costly injuries.
We work with our patients, of all ages and abilities, to expand, restore, and maintain normal pain free motion.
Avoid Surgery and Prescription Drugs
Many people are referred to a physical therapist in order to rehabilitate from a major medical trauma or surgery. Increasing research suggests that treatment by a physical therapist is often an equally effective – and cheaper – alternative to surgery and prescription drugs for numerous conditions ranging from back pain and degenerative disk disease to meniscal tears and knee osteoarthritis.
Through individualized treatment plans designed by us, many of our patients can sometimes achieve the same results without the expense and side effects of surgery and prescription medication.
Participate In Your Recovery
We work collaboratively with our patients. Our treatment plans are individually designed to meet our patient’s individual goals, challenges, and needs. Our treatment is rarely a passive activity, and participating in your own recovery can be empowering. In many cases, our patients develop an ongoing relationship with our therapist to maintain optimum health and movement abilities across their lifespan.
The Benefits Of Massage
What exactly are the benefits of receiving massage or bodywork treatments?
Useful for all of the conditions listed below and more, massage can:
- Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
- Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
- Ease medication dependence.
- Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system.
- Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
- Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
- Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ—the skin.
- Increase joint flexibility.
- Lessen depression and anxiety.
- Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
- Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improvingcirculation.
- Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
- Reduce spasms and cramping.
- Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
- Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller.
- Relieve migraine pain.
A Powerful Ally
There’s no denying the power of bodywork. Regardless of the adjectives we assign to it (pampering, rejuvenating, therapeutic) or the reasons we seek it out (a luxurious treat, stress relief, pain management), massage therapy can be a powerful ally in your healthcare regimen.
Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress. This translates into:
- Decreased anxiety
- Enhanced sleep quality
- Greater energy
- Improved concentration
- Increased circulation
- Reduced fatigue
Furthermore, clients often report a sense of perspective and clarity after receiving a massage. The emotional balance bodywork provides can often be just as vital and valuable as the more tangible physical benefits.
In response to massage, specific physiological and chemical changes cascade throughout the body, with profound effects. Research shows that with massage:
- Arthritis sufferers note fewer aches and less stiffness and pain.
- Asthmatic children show better pulmonary function and increased peak air flow.
- Burn injury patients report reduced pain, itching, and anxiety.
- High blood pressure patients demonstrate lower diastolic blood pressure, anxiety, and stress hormones.
- Premenstrual syndrome sufferers have decreased water retention and cramping.
- Preterm infants have improved weight gain.
Research continues to show the enormous benefits of touch—which range from treating chronic diseases, neurological disorders, and injuries, to alleviating the tensions of modern lifestyles. Consequently, the medical community is actively embracing bodywork, and massage is becoming an integral part of hospice care and neonatal intensive care units. Many hospitals are also incorporating on-site massage practitioners and even spas to treat postsurgery or pain patients as part of the recovery process.
Increase the Benefits with Frequent Visits
Getting a massage can do you a world of good. And getting a massage frequently can do even more. This is the beauty of bodywork. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you’ll be and how youthful you’ll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health. And remember: just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn’t mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your practitioner to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.
Importance of Posture
The problem that we’re seeing in Western Cultures is that our unnatural habit of sitting down all day is doing a number on our spine. Not to mention our posture! We’re glued to our cell phones, iPads and laptops!
Far too many live their lives hunched over with their necks stuck out like turtles. Doctors call this “forward head posture” and studies have proven that for every 1 inch that your head sticks out from a true center of gravity, your neck bears an extra 10 pounds of stress. Just think about how common and dangerous this can be for your health!
During posture evaluations, we regularly observe many of our patients carrying their head 2-3 inches forward, which is an extra 20-30 pounds of pressure on their neck.
Chiropractic care is not only key to correcting the damage caused by years of poor posture or trauma, it is also important for everyone who wants to take a proactive approach to their healthcare.
I don’t know of any other profession on the planet that can prevent neuromuscular-based disease like chiropractic can.
Here is some of the medical research and studies proving the therapeutic benefits of chiropractic.
The European Spine Journal published the findings from a clinical trial last year uncovering how chiropractic adjustments resulted in a 72% success rate in treating sciatica and related symptoms compared to the 20% success from physical therapy and 50% from corticosteroid injections.
Compared to most medical treatments, few interventions can initiate back pain relief and healing like chiropractic adjustments can!
2. Low Back Pain and Neck Pain
In a study published in the British Medical Journal 2003, 183 patients with neck pain were randomly allocated to manual therapy (spinal mobilization), physiotherapy (mainly exercise) or general practitioner care (counseling, education and drugs) in a 52-week study.
The clinical outcome measures showed that chiropractic adjustments resulted in faster recovery than physiotherapy and general practitioner care. Moreover, total costs of the chiropractic-treated patients were about one-third of the costs of physiotherapy or general practitioner care.
Another study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found patients with chronic low-back pain treated by chiropractors showed greater improvement and satisfaction at one month than patients treated by family physicians. Satisfaction scores were higher for chiropractic patients.
A higher proportion of chiropractic patients (56 percent vs. 13 percent) reported that their low-back pain was better or much better, whereas nearly one-third of medical patients reported their low-back pain was worse or much worse.”
In a study funded by NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine to test the effectiveness of different approaches for treating neck pain, 272 participants were divided into three groups that received either spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) from a doctor of chiropractic (DC), pain medication (over-the-counter pain relievers, narcotics and muscle relaxants) or exercise recommendations.
After 12 weeks, about 57 percent of those who met with DCs and 48 percent who exercised reported at least a 75 percent reduction in pain, compared to 33 percent of the people in the medication group. After one year, approximately 53 percent of the drug-free groups continued to report at least a 75 percent reduction in pain; compared to just 38 percent pain reduction among those who took medication.
3. Headaches (Tension and Migraine)
Second only to back pain, headaches are one of the most common conditions regularly managed by chiropractors. There are over 230 peer-reviewed articles referenced chiropractic’s ability to help cure, prevent and ease the burden of headaches and migraines in people all across the globe!
A group trial found that 22 percent of people who had chiropractic treatment saw thenumber of attacks drop by 90 percent. In that same study, 49 percent said they had a significant reduction in pain intensity.
Compared to most medical treatments, few interventions can initiate headache relief like chiropractic adjustments can.
4. Whiplash (Automobile Accidents)
There have been numerous studies documenting both the numerous types of injuries that automobile accident victims suffer as well as the safest, most effective and cost effective care. Many of these studies have documented that chiropractic patients report the fastest response of pain relief, return of mobility and, best long term outcomes. In many cases, chiropractic patients report lower pain levels years after completing their care than patients that did not receive chiropractic care or non treated auto accident victims.
5. Colic and Ear Infections
A 2012 study published in Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics found that chiropractic adjustments greatly reduced colic symptoms.
Although very few randomized control trials have been conducted describing the clinical affects of chiropractic care on children, literally scores of case studies have been documented that describe how children suffering from otitis media (ear infections), acid reflux and colic have experienced complete to near complete resolution after just a few visits.
The reasons for this vary, but one common theme is that nerves controlling the gut and brain are intricately connected to each other and are quite sensitive to neurological insult caused by vertebral subluxations.
6. Neurological Conditions
Exciting research is currently being conducted via upright MRI showing how upper cervical adjustments affect various brain-based conditions. What we have seen so far is quite remarkable.
Not only are MRI scans revealing that cerebral spinal fluid and blood flow are markedly increased after a chiropractic adjustment, researchers are observing that cerebellar invagination (when the cerebellum drops down below the skull line) is being reversed and brain plaquing (common in Multiple Sclerosis patients) is disappearing!
Montel Williams, the famous TV host, was interviewed about his experience as a MS patient under chiropractic care.
7. Blood Pressure
In 2007, George Bakris, the world expert on hypertension published a study with a team of researchers in the Human Journal of Hypertension proving that one upper cervical chiropractic adjustment had the same effect as two blood pressure lowering drugs. Even more fascinating, the effects of just one adjustment lasted more than 6 months!
Compared to the placebo-treated patients, those who got the real procedure saw an average 14 mm Hg greater drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure count), and an average 8 mm Hg greater drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom blood pressure number).
Other studies have shown similar findings with hypotensive patients and their low blood pressure was raised to normal levels after chiropractic care. This is exciting because it highlights the body’s ability to create a homeostatic balanced environment once vertebral subluxations are removed.
8. Surgery Prevention
Chiropractic has long been heralded by natural healthcare providers as a natural method to prevent back surgery.
In fact, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) just recently published their low back pain guidelines and suggested that people suffering from back pain first try chiropractic before resorting to surgery.
9. Frozen Shoulder
Last year a clinical trial was published describing how patients suffering from the debilitating condition frozen shoulder responded to chiropractic care.
Of the 50 patients: 16 resolved completely; 25 showed 75% to 90% improvement; 8 showed 50% to 75% improvement; and 1 showed 0% to 50% improvement.
10. Athletic Performance
There is a reason why athletes both today and in the past, like Michael Phelps, Jerry Rice, and Joe Montana, are under regular chiropractic care. In fact, over 50% of NFL teams have a chiropractor on staff.
Because it is so effective at pain-based and pathological conditions, one of the most overlooked aspects of chiropractic care is that it enhances personal and athletic performance. Studies have shown that it:
- Reduces inflammatory cytokines
- Boosts your immune system
- Enhances pulmonary function
- Decreases mental and oxidative stress
- Relieves muscle tension
- And can naturally increase your energy-level
Studies have even proven objectively and subjectively, that chiropractic patients experience “overall increased bodily function,” which includes bowel regularity and mental clarity.
Basically, because it helps place your body in the position where it can heal itself, chiropractic adjustments can free your immune system up to focus on keeping you healthy, which enhances your ability to think, move and perform.