Chiropractic care tends to be reserved in our minds for extreme situations – when we fall on the ice and can’t move without pain radiating throughout our bodies (hello, Minnesotans); when we’re in our 70s and have a hard time with that old knee injury; when we do something just a little more vigorously than our bodies can handle. Chiropractic is often viewed as a reaction to pain and injury, rather than a preventive way of maintaining health.
The commonly underestimated benefits of chiropractic are not the only barrier that can prevent people from integrating this kind of care into their regular health plan. Price is often an issue that keeps people at bay. But as with anything that’s important to us, if we take another look at what we’re putting money towards, perhaps there are ways to tweak things to invest a little more in this healthcare.
We are a country that overall does not invest greatly in preventive care. One illustration of this is that on average, we Americans spend 7% of our income on food – this may sound like a lot, but by comparison, Canada spends 10%, China spends 21%, Russia spends 31%, and Egypt is at 44%! (source). You may think, “Sweet, we’re pretty lucky that we don’t have to spend as much money on food as other countries!” While this is partly a luck issue, it is mostly an issue of us underinvesting in our health by purchasing cheap food.
What does this have to do with chiropractic? Like eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet (which doesn’t always have to be expensive!), caring for our bodies by visiting a chiropractor is an incredibly worthwhile investment that will save dollars down the road (and maybe even now) in healthcare costs.
All this being said, I acknowledge that chiropractic and many other kinds of preventive care that aren’t immediately necessary to a person’s survival are not easily affordable for all. I wish I had an answer to making all magically holistic preventive health treatments more accessible, but maybe I’ll solve that problem in another blog post. Onward. . .
I never went to the chiropractor (or even really considered it, as I recall) until I met my husband whose father happens to be a chiropractor. This was when I was 25 years old. This means I went 25 years of my life without going to the chiropractor, or really knowing what the heck the reason for going to a chiropractor was. Until age 25, I thought people just went to the chiropractor for some of the reasons I mentioned above: extreme pain/injury, old age, rehab, etc.
But under the encouragement of my now husband, I decided to give it a try. After my first couple of weeks being adjusted, I began to notice my posture change. I historically have bad posture: neck sticking too far out, slouchy shoulders, the whole shebang. With chiropractic care (when I’m faithful to it; which usually means going about 2-4 times monthly), I begin to sit taller & straighter and have better posture than ever before.
I, like many, also have issues with my shoulders. The best way I can describe it is that they get locked up and feel tense and immobile at times. With chiropractic care, my shoulders are able to loosen and relax giving me much-needed relief.
I’ve also had injuries that have been remedied with chiropractic care. I had a pretty epic fall while cross-country skiing a few years ago, and have since had issues with my knee where it got twisted up in the fall. Going to a chiropractor helped realign my knee so the issue stopped there rather than causing more lifelong knee, hip, or foot problems.
After being an avid-chiropractic recipient for a couple of years now, I’d like to share my love of this stuff with the world! And so, here are 7 (of the many) Benefits of Chiropractic Care:
Many people experience pain that can be so debilitating that it interferes greatly with their sleep. Others are simply uncomfortable and have a hard time falling asleep because things are out of alignment in their bodies.
Receiving chiropractic care can aid in both falling asleep easier and staying asleep longer.
Chiropractic works with the nervous system, which tells every tissue, organ, & gland in the body what to do. When nerves are irritated, the messages don’t get through very clearly.
There’s actually a part of the neck that relates to allergies – the top of the neck just under the base of the skull. This part of the neck has nerves coming from this area of the spine that connect to mucosal glands pertaining to allergies.
Chiropractic can remedy allergies by adjusting this part of your neck in a way that allows necessary parts to communicate effectively.
This video explains it quite well:
Low back pain is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, which is not surprising considering that half of all working Americans complain of back pain each year (source).
The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research—a federal government research organization—recommends that low back pain sufferers choose the most conservative care first: chiropractic. It says that chiropractic is “the only safe and effective, drugless form of initial professional treatment for acute low back problems in adults (source).”
A recently-published article from the Journal of the American Medical Association noted that “surgery is usually not needed and should only be tried if other therapies fail (source).”
Remember when I said price is often a barrier to people receiving chiropractic care? Well, if the option is between surgery and going to the chiropractor, I’d say chiropractic wins in terms of being the cheaper option, as well as the more longterm and least invasive option.
Our immune and nervous systems work collaboratively to keep our bodies in optimal health. When our spine is misaligned, it can lead to neural dysfunctions that stress the body and lead to lessened immunity. Getting chiropractic adjustments stimulates the body’s nervous system and thus boosts our immunity.
Vertebral subluxations, also known as distortions of the spine, can result from trauma caused by falls, car accidents, and other impacts. Subluxations can actually impede the nervous system and thus impact mental health.
A study from the early 2000s, published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, followed a 19-year-old woman with General Anxiety Disorder. This patient had dealt with somatic and psychiatric symptoms for two years. Amazingly, after 4 months of chiropractic care, the patient reported an 80% reduction in her anxiety symptoms and a 90% decrease in headaches. And perhaps more amazingly, she was able to come off all her medications. Prior to this treatment, the young woman had been on a plethora of anti-anxiety medications, visited many doctors, emergency rooms, and everything in between (source).
“According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety is the most common
mental health illness, affecting more than 19 million Americans ages 18-54. These
patients make three to five times more visits to doctors’ offices and emergency rooms
and the Anxiety Disorders Association of America reports that direct healthcare costs
and lost productivity of these conditions cost more than $42 billion per year (source).”
When integrated into your regular health plan, chiropractic care can improve and maintain overall health. Because chiropractors are trained with a specific focus in prevention, this is one of the best tools you can keep in your toolkit for health, right alongside good nutrition, regular exercise, and plenty of sleep.