The science shows benefits in sports performance, mental health, and even DNA repair.
But maybe there are significant benefits that we don't do research studies on that may be equally or more valuable?
Typically, people think of chiropractic with "cracking" backs and necks. That implies that chiropractic care is only thought of as a method to relieve back and neck PAIN.
For the patients in our practice, you know that this is not the case but I think everyone needs to have a better understanding of the value of holistic chiropractic care.
Because we live in a world that DOES NOT promote health.
Our system of healthcare is sometimes referred to as disease care. That means it is a system designed to treat symptoms and outright disease and that's pretty much it.
Let's use the classic example-PAIN.
When someone experiences pain, they go see the doctor and get a prescription for a narcotic pain reliever or an anti-inflammatory. That drug eliminates your brains' perception of pain and you get relief.
The problem- the pain reliever or anti-inflammatory did not actually fix anything. You still have no idea what caused your pain. You just no longer perceive it's existence. Until, of course, the drug wears off and then the pain comes back. Problem actually NOT fixed.
Worst case scenario- you do more damage while you were numb to the pain and now it's WORSE than when you started. Great.
Aside from those of you who do an annual exam, does anyone go see the doctor if you don't have a symptom?
Most likely, NO.
This was my primary dilemma when I was starting in practice.
I, and chiropractic, was thought of as just an "alternative" to traditional pain medication; a more "natural" way to deal with the pain. But I knew that chiropractic was so much more than that.
"Chiropractic is more about promoting health and healthy lifestyles."
Unfortunately, there wasn't a model that PROMOTED health and healthy lifestyles.
That would come much later.
The benefits of chiropractic care to overall health and wellbeing are pretty well documented in the research literature but NOT well known to the average person. Unfortunate.
Let's change that!
In 1980, there were studies done on rabbits to evaluate how stress could lead to significant damage to brain cells. This damage was then determined to play a key role in mental agility and propensity towards negative thinking, eventually causing depression and anxiety.
What happened in the studies was electrical impulses were used to simulate stress. That stress caused
" severe damage akin to an "atomic bomb" going off in the neurons' cells"
The researchers discovered that the damage was happening at the Nodose ganglion and Vagus nerve. (the Vagus nerve is the controller of your parasympathetic nervous system- the relaxation part of the nervous system).
Later, chiropractic researchers found that instability of the upper cervical area (upper neck) led to compression of the Vagus nerve and resulted in the same disturbance in function. But when chiropractic manipulation was introduced in that region, normal stimulation of the Vagus nerve was restored.
Normal stimulation of the Vagus nerve reduced depression by regulating amygdala function- Journal of affective disorder
This is independent of any exercise, nutrition, supplements, or therapy. Crazy, right?
No it's not crazy, it's just science. LOL.
Chiropractic care was shown to correct cervical instability.
"SCMT [spinal chiropractic manipulative therapy] can be used to correct cervical instability states including cervical facet joint disorders and slight dislocation of the cervical vertebrae, restore the internal balance of the cervical vertebrae and the normal anatomical position of the cervical vertebrae..." -Journal of International Medical Research
I think everyone understands the role DNA has in our lives.
Is it the most important marker of our health and wellbeing? NO.
But it is one of the many things that are important for us to understand as baseline information about our overall health and what we can do about it.
At the very least we know that all our genetic information is carried in our DNA.
Well, here is a mind-bender for you.
There are chemical markers in your body called Thiols.
Thiols are a surrogate DNA repair activity marker.
In other words, thiol levels can tell you how well your DNA is being repaired.
So in one study some super geniuses decided to measure what the thiol levels would be for people who were receiving regular chiropractic care and those who were sick or were NOT receiving regular care. Most importantly, these were people who did NOT have symptoms.
That's right, asymptomatic people.
Man I love it when people do stuff like this.
What did they find?
"Asymptomatic or primary wellness subjects under chiropractic care demonstrated higher mean serum thiol levels than patients with active disease and produced some values that were higher than normal wellness values.-Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research, Volume 2005
My chiropractic commitment
In recent history, my life was an attempt to spread this idea of wellbeing with a company called RoundGlass. You guys have heard me talk about my experiences there.
Well, during that five year stint I did some things that I never thought I would do:
I stopped my daily exercise practice
I stopped my daily meditation practice
I stopped my daily journalling practice
I went to bed late
I rarely got chiropractic care
I compromised time and energy
All in the name of wellbeing.
All these changes didn't happen overnight. They never do, right?
One minute you are on track and have developed a very good routine.
And the next thing you know, you are tired, overworked, stressed, not sleeping well, eating unhealthy, and maybe just a little less happy than you were before.
What was I manifesting?
Clearly NOT global wellbeing.
I realized that I had fear about my work, my team, and my future.
I was confused.
I began to question my value at the company but more importantly I began to question my value, period.
And then the injuries started to happen.
I constantly felt bloated.
I would have headaches. I never have headaches. WTH??!
I did what everyone else does. I just chalked it up to coincidence.
I was still in good health.
When RoundGlass and I split ways, I did a zoom out.
I assessed where I was in my overall sense of wellbeing.
I was doing basically NONE of the things I preach about regarding healthy lifestyle.
I was eating tons of sugar.
I was drinking too much alcohol.
I rarely ate vegetables/salads at work.
I never exercised except "weekend warrior" stuff (which is a sure-fire way to get injured, let me tell you).
And my basic spiritual practices were placed firmly on the back burner.
Yikes. What a mess.
My first commitment?
Back to regular chiropractic care.
Once a week. Every week. No excuses..
You may ask why I committed to that first?
"Because I understand that there are elements of chiropractic care, beyond the research, that just helps to reset my whole system and keeps that system functioning optimally. "
Some of you may think that the "adjustments" are so basic. And I would tend to agree with you. They are. But complex doesn't necessarily mean better.
Other things slowly followed...
I started to work out with my son.
I began hiking regularly.
I started to get back on track with my diet.
Then more things came back online:
Daily journalling, meditation, yoga.
I gave up sugar.
I stopped drinking alcohol.
And that's how wellbeing works.
It's NOT one day you completely change your life and stop doing all the "bad" and replace them with "good."
They are the gradual, long term changes that happen in a continuum.
But it starts with a spark. One significant thing.
"My personal goal is to make that one big spark chiropractic care."
Sure, I am biased.
Of course I am!
Chiropractic care is the heart of what I do.
In my office, I have a white board.
On it says,
What are you manifesting?
I have this as a reminder that I am capable of manifesting everything I hold in my mind or do regularly; both positive and negative.
I think most people forget that.
If you are doing and thinking "negative" thoughts and habits, you will manifest the results of those thoughts and actions.
If you are doing and thinking "positive" thoughts and habits, you will manifest the results of those thoughts and actions.
Regular, long term chiropractic care has always been my big spark to get me and keep me on my desired manifesting track.
I encourage you to make it part of yours.
Keep your system functioning optimally.
Create better and better habits.
Change your default thoughts and behaviors.
What are you manifesting?