Many people are aware that chiropractic adjustments are a successful way to alleviate a variety of pain conditions, but a growing body of research indicates it can also improve our immune system.
In our office in Prescott, AZ, we help people with both musculoskeletal pain and general health and wellness.
Previous studies have indicated that spinal adjustments can affect specific immune responses in both healthy people and back pain patients. However there have been no major articles that review the overall effect of chiropractic 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 current research on spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) and immune responses.
After reviewing the research up to January 2012, Neil determined that spinal adjustments are linked to with a central anti-inflammatory response. Research suggests that SMT may lead to a down regulating of pro-inflammatory cytokines and boost in antibodies linked to the immune response. Additionally, SMT may boost the production of tiny cells called leukocytes which support 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 mechanics behind these processes are still unknown, however. There isn't enough research yet to be sure whether these inflammatory reductions 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.
While more study is necessary, current evidence suggests that chiropractic adjustments can produce positive improvements in the immune system. These immunological changes may explain why chiropractic can reduce inflammation and pain while boosting general wellness.
We have helped many patients in Prescott, AZ improve their health. If you would like to discover the benefits of chiropractic, call Weary Chiropractic Clinic at (928) 778-2227 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.