One of the most interesting situations I find myself in as a Chiropractor is when a person calls into the office to reschedule an appointment because they are sick. I understand not wanting to “spread germs” to other people and not wanting to get up and drive somewhere when you are not feeling well. When I hear this I tend to say something like this:
“The first thing you should do is get adjusted.”
Usually the response is something along the lines of this:
“This doesn’t have anything to do with my back and I’m just going to pop a pill and sleep it off.”
That response always makes me cringe. Either I am not doing my job communicating how powerful your body’s ability to heal is, or they have more faith in that pill than the adjustment.
Getting adjusted the the first thing I do when I don’t feel well or sick, and here is why.
The Specific Chiropractic Adjustment releases the serious effects of stress on the spine. These stressors can inhibit the body’s natural defense system and slow down any form of healing and recovery. One study in 2006 showed that within 2 hours of and adjustment white blood cells (immune system cells) significantly increased while proinflammatory cytokines were significantly decreased. This was after only one adjustment. Another study in 2010 demonstrated that these same immune fighting cells (IgG and IgM) were significantly increased 20 mins after the adjustment, and were still increasing 2 hours later.
These are only 2 studies out of many that show a direct correlation between the adjustment and our body’s immune system.
In 1994 a study was conducted on a group HIV positive individuals. In this study it was shown that those who received the specific Chiropractic adjustment had a 48% increase in CD4 cells (another type of immune cell). The control group (people who did not get adjusted) had a decrease in the CD4 cell count of 7.96%. This study was so significant that even though it was meant to continue for ten years, after 2 people in the control group (those not getting Adjusted) died from complications due to HIV, the Chiropractors doing the research began adjusting the control group as well.
This is only an extremely small sample of the research that is out there that supports the fact that the Specific Chiropractic Adjustment seems to have an effect on specific immune system cells.
What else can you do to help? The number one thing in western medicine is to get your flu shot. I'm sure you have seen the signs all over the place telling you where to get your flu shots. Even grocery stores have been getting into the fun, if they have a pharmacy. They have been known to offer a discount on your food if you get a flu shot(which is technically illegal). But is it really worth it to get the flu shot?
Every year the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does research on the effectiveness of the flu shot. This research is usually published in some of the most prestigious medical journals in the world(New England Journal of Medicine, etc.). The research has been fairly conclusive. Almost all of the research has shown that the flu shots are 10% effective.
So what are your options? Get a shot that only has a 10% chance of doing anything good, or get adjusted by your Chiropractor to get an immediate increase in immune cell generation that will last much longer than the supposed benefits of the flu shot.
If you are not under regular Chiropractic care, this should be enough to convince you. It is not just about back and neck pain, it is so much more.
Your capacity to heal goes far beyond what they have permitted you to believe.
Teodorczyk-Injeyan JA, PhD, Injeyan HS, PhD, DC, Ruegg R, PhD, DC. Spinal Manipulative Therapy reduces inflammatory cytokines but not substance P production in normal subjects. JMPT 2006;29: 14-21
Teodorczyk-Injeyan JA, PhD, Injeyan HS, PhD, DC, McGregor M, PhD, DC et al. Enhancement of in vitro interleukin-2 production in normal subjects following a single spinal manipulative treatment. Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2008; 16:5
Teodorczyk-Injeyan JA, PhD, et al. Interleukin-2 regulation in vitro antibody production following a single spinal manipulative treatment in normal subjects. Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2010, 18:26
Selano JL, Hightower BC, Pfleger B, et al. The effects of specific upper cervical adjustments on the CD4 counts of HIV positive patients. Chiropractic Research Journal. 1994; 3(1): 32-39.