Many people know that chiropractic adjustments are a successful way to alleviate a variety of pain conditions, but an increasing body of research indicates it can also improve our immune system. In our Chesapeake, VA office, we help patients with both musculoskeletal conditions and general health and wellness.
Earlier research has indicated that spinal adjustments can improve specific immune responses in both healthy people and back pain patients. However there have been no major literature review articles of the overall effect of chiropractic care on immunity. In a recent presentation at the 9th Chiropractic, Osteopathy, and Physiotherapy Annual Conference in the UK, Jack Neil of the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic analyzed the existing literature on spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) and immune responses.
After reviewing the data up to January 2012, Neil found that spinal adjustments are linked to a central anti-inflammatory response. Research suggests that SMT may lead to a down regulating of pro-inflammatory cytokines and an increase in antibodies involved in the immune response. At the same time, SMT may enhance the creation of tiny cells called leukocytes which assist the white blood cells in fighting off a threat. SMT may also affect Natural Killer cells, interleukin-2 activity, TNF-a levels, cortisol, and b-endorphin levels.
The mechanisms driving these systems are still vague, however. There isn't sufficient data yet to be sure whether these inflammatory changes result in a reduction in symptoms. "Most research to date has focused on asymptomatic patients with short-term improvements. The challenge now is to clinically observe long-term health benefits in symptomatic patients," Neil concluded.
Although more investigation is necessary, current evidence indicates that chiropractic adjustments can result in positive improvements in the immune system. These immunological changes may explain why chiropractic can reduce inflammation and pain while supporting overall health.
We have helped many patients in Chesapeake, VA improve their health. If you would like to experience the advantages of chiropractic care, call Dr. David N Block Family Chiropractic at (757) 436-5428 for an appointment today.
Neil J. Manipulative therapy and immune response: A literature review of the chiropractic and osteopathic evidence. Clinical Chiropractic 2012; 15(3): 186.