According to the New York Chiropractic Council, Chiropractors treat and manage subluxations, or partial dislocations, of the spine. Spinal manipulation, or spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) forms the core of chiropractic adjustment, a technique now widely preferred by physicians before prescribing medication for pain like neck pain, shoulder pain, or low back pain.
Just as removing a logjam permits a river to flow freely, chiropractic adjustments can remove interference with the body’s nervous system and unleash the body’s innate healing process to work unimpeded.
This process applied by a knowledgeable chiropractic Dr. can yield impressive results for a patient’s well-being and overall health. Moving into the second decade of the 21st century, a growing body of evidence indicates that chiropractic care’s drug-free and noninvasive approach may contribute to relieving a wider range of afflictions.
Stress Management: Breaking the Pain-Stress Cycle
Chronic pain may well lead to chronic stress. Research indicates that chronic stress in turn exacerbates conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Pain, stress, pain, stress: Victims move from annoying chronic pain to a vicious circle of misery. Along the way sufferers may drop out of enjoyable activities due to pain, piling on more stress. Stress begets anxiety, with anxiety leading to depression.
The pain-stress cycle is a compelling reason to seek an appointment with a chiropractor in Queens before issues spiral out of hand. Particularly with patients battling stress, the insights from an experienced chiropractor at an initial session may prove valuable.
When stress elbows its way into a patient’s life, good posture is often the first casualty. A straightforward posture adjustment may well be the moment that sparks a patient’s turnaround to a pain free existence, lower stress, improved quality of life, and better overall wellness.
A study by Life University even suggests that chiropractic adjustments could have a positive affect on heart rate variability (HRV) – a known indicator of good health.
Chronic Inflammation: Documented Results
Inflammation is the body’s natural reaction to harm. This response slots into two categories: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation occurs with injuries, such as cut fingers, bruises, and even bone fractures. Acute inflammation wanes as the body’s healing process works forward.
Chronic inflammation is a different story. Continuous or chronic inflammation is often the result of toxins in the body. A poor diet by itself can trigger inflammation. Worse yet, excess body fat — often the result of bad food choices — can cause still more inflammation. Many chiropractors will recommend dealing with inflammation issues promptly.
Left unchecked, inflammation can lead to life-threatening conditions such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
A 2006 Canadian study indicates that chiropractic care can measurably contribute to inflammation reduction. In the body’s immune response, substances known as cytokines act as messengers between immune cells.
The Canadian researchers selected two inflammatory cytokines for their trial, tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin 1beta.
The researchers split their 64 participants among three groups:
- A group receiving a single thoracic spinal manipulation
- A group receiving a simulated chiropractic manipulation, known as a sham group
- A control group
Blood draws for all groups occurred at the trial’s beginning, twenty minutes after manipulations and two hours after manipulations. With each blood sample, the research team introduced lipopolysaccharide, a common toxin in bacteria, to trigger an inflammatory response. The team then observed the blood cultures for 24 hours.
Upon analysis, the blood cultures from the sham and control groups showed a steady increase of both inflammatory cytokines. The blood culture from the group that received the spinal manipulation therapy told a different story.
With the SMT group, blood cultures showed a steady decrease for both inflammatory cytokines. The upshot: a relatively modest chiropractic intervention yielded a measurable inflammation reduction.
Digestion: The Gut-Spine Connection
The gut-brain connection was once a subject of metaphor. Now, if you visit a chiropractor in Queens, your doctor can explain why this connection matters to your health.
Your brain can send profoundly strong signals to your stomach and intestines. Depending on your mood, these messages can either enhance or sabotage your digestion. While your digestive system communicates from afar with your brain, your gut is a next-door neighbor to your spine. Is there a profound relationship between your gut and your spinal health?
There are not many high-population studies in this area, but some case studies indicate that chiropractic therapy may positively influence the gut-spine relationship. A 2015 review of gastro-intestinal studies linked to chiropractic care covered gastroesophageal reflux disease, colitis and inflammatory bowel disease.
A 2009 study of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) patients followed 83 patients for two years, concluding that chiropractic SMT reduced both the symptoms and frequency of the gastrointestinal (GI) ailment. This study indicated that patients with relatively mild GERD saw the greatest benefit. The relatively thin literature on other GI ailments left the author reluctant to draw sweeping conclusions, but a common thread among all papers was the absence of adverse reactions from chiropractic intervention.
Osteoarthritis: The Benefits of Chiropractic Care
The federal government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nearly one in four Americans suffer from some degree of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the slow breakdown of cartilage in a joint.
Over time, this affliction can trigger grating pain when sufferers move the affected joints. This condition translates into reduced mobility and a corresponding reduction in quality of life. Above age 45, women are more likely than men to suffer these symptoms.
Chiropractic care can mitigate some of this harm. Indeed, the Arthritis Foundation has recognized chiropractic adjustment and manipulation as one of the safest ways to relieve pain from osteoarthritis of the spine. In addition to adjustment sessions, a chiropractor is likely to provide osteoarthritis patients a set of tailored exercises to perform between appointments.
Exploring Range of Motion Improvement
Safe pain relief benefits the quality of life, but improving the range of motion would offer even more life enhancement for sufferers. In 2010, a four-person case study conducted in Australia explored the possibilities of chiropractic treatment for hip osteoarthritis. The four subjects received nine chiropractic sessions with comprehensive treatment techniques:
- Lumbar spine manipulation and mobilization
- Ankle, knee and sacroiliac manipulation
- Long-axis traction pulls
Each session began and ended with stretching of the affected hip. As a yardstick for their patients’ efforts, the researchers employed the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC). All four participants gained an increased range of motion with all hip movements, earning a lower WOMAC score. Averaged for the group, researchers recorded a 68% overall improvement. Chiropractic professionals will eye studies with larger populations to see these encouraging results play out for more patients.
Headaches and Migraines: Progress on Pain
Nearly every American has at least one headache every year. For decades, headaches fell into three neatly defined slots:
- Tension Headaches: The classic sensation of a band tightening around the head
- Migraine Headaches: Throbbing pain on one side of the head, often occurring with nausea
- Cervicogenic Headaches: Steady, radiating pain in the back of the head
Research results in the past decade have blurred the difference between tension and migraine headaches, with many physicians coming to view the affliction as a seamless spectrum of symptoms. Cervicogenic headaches present a challenge to physicians: These headaches always derive from neck issues, but patients often report no discomfort from their necks. With cervicogenic headaches presenting the same symptoms as tension and migraine varieties, headache diagnosis remains a challenge.
No matter the cause, headache sufferers understandably crave relief. Pharmaceuticals may alleviate symptoms, but often with substantial side effects:
- Reduced sex drive
To add an exasperating twist to that list, nausea is a common side of several headache drugs; nausea-afflicted migraine sufferers may well end up back at square one.
Early Studies With Positive Results
Considering the side effects of pharmaceuticals, it is no surprise that headache sufferers seek drug-free pain relief from a chiropractor in Queens. Can chiropractic care play a role? For many patients afflicted by cervicogenic headaches, the answer is “Yes.” Since the pain from cervicogenic headaches originates in the neck, chiropractic care can go beyond symptom reduction and deliver root-cause relief. A 2017 study from Norway reported a reduction in cervicogenic headache duration, frequency and intensity after spinal manipulation therapy.
Cervicogenic headaches afflict 1 in 25 sufferers. Do the benefits of chiropractic care extend to more common headaches? A 2021 study of Danish schoolchildren offers encouraging results. After four months of twice-weekly sessions, this study reported a 20% reduction in headache frequency over students in a placebo group.
Encouraging Results From A Collaboration Case Study
In the future, the ability to collaborate with other health care professionals may define the profession’s elite members. A 2019 case study outlined the results of a collaboration between neurologists and chiropractors. In this pilot program, three migraine patients who had reached a plateau with pharmaceutical treatment received referrals for chiropractic care. Throughout the one-year observation period, the neurologist and chiropractor kept in close communication. Allowing for the project’s tiny population size, the outcomes for the patients were promising.
One patient dropped to an average of one migraine per month with the initiation of spinal manipulation therapy. After 10 months of chiropractic therapy, a second patient experienced her first migraine-free month in 19 years. For a third patient — a 14-year migraine sufferer — chiropractic care combined with exercise reduced her headache intensity scores from 8/10 to 3.5/10. Studies with much larger populations are underway, and professionals aiming to be the best chiropractor for their patients will the new data into headache treatment plans.
Hormone Regulation: Researching the Immune Response
For decades, millions of patients reported that they felt better after a spinal adjustment session with a chiropractor. In 2014, six researchers in Spain set out to measure what might be the biochemical cause for this feeling of well-being. Hormones are chemicals that serve as the body’s messengers, and the group centered their trial on these four hormones:
- Neurotensin is an amino acid closely linked to dopamine regulation. Dopamine plays an important role in how human beings feel pleasure.
- Oxytocin is sometimes called the “Cupid Hormone.” More accurately, this hormone plays a role in social bonding and tribal activity among humans. Most profoundly, a mother experiences a release of oxytocin when she first sees her newborn child.
- Orexin A plays a role in wakefulness and arousal. Researchers believe orexin affects the release of dopamine and serotonin, one of the brain chemicals that leads to a feeling of well-being.
- Cortisol, a hormone released by the adrenal glands, serves in the body’s fight-or-flight response. Excessive cortisol production can sabotage metabolic function and lead to weight gain.
The Hormone Study’s Method and Results
The study divided 30 participants into three groups. The first group received a session for the seven bones comprising the neck, cervical manipulation. The second group’s session involved treatment for 12 vertebrae of the upper and middle back, a procedure known as thoracic manipulation. The remaining group received no spinal manipulation and served as a control. The researchers performed blood draws immediately before the chiropractic session, immediately after each session, and two hours after the session.
After analysis, both groups that received chiropractic manipulation showed higher levels of neurotensin and oxytocin. Participants who received cervical manipulation displayed higher levels of cortisol, with cortisol levels unchanged for the thoracic manipulation group. Orexin A levels remained unchanged for both groups that received a chiropractic session. Finally, the blood samples taken at the two-hour mark revealed hormone levels returning to normal.
The Spanish study was a major step toward understanding chiropractic care’s effect on the human body’s extraordinarily complex biochemical interactions. With 50 hormones working in harmony in a healthy human, chiropractic care for hormone balance serves as a new frontier.
Chiropractic Approach, PC: Forward-Looking Care for Queens, NY
As the decade plays out, the benefits of chiropractic care may well play a broader role in the quest for a higher quality of life. The doctors and staff of Chiropractic Approach stay on top of the latest advances and treatment options in chiropractic research. Our board-certified doctors pride themselves in practicing chiropractic in a way tailored to every patient’s unique needs.
Have you been in an auto accident, or suffered a sports injury, or other incident? Wondering if chiropractic care is right for you? Schedule a free consultation about how a licensed chiropractor with a certified chiropractic degree can help you develop a treatment plan for healing and pain management.
Our wellness center accepts GHI, 1199, New York no-fault, and workers’ compensation insurance plans. We also welcome private patients.
With our convenient location in Rego Park, Queens, we invite you to contact us today.