Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Chiropractor Rockville, MD

One of the main causes of pain and disease in the human body can be traced to improper nervous system function, which is often related to the alignment of the vertebrae in your spinal column. Impeded nerve function that results from the structural malposition of a bone is called a subluxation. Through carefully applied pressure, massage, and manual manipulation of the spinal vertebral joints, pressure and irritation on the nerves is relieved and joint mobility is restored. This restored mobility and nerve function then allows your body to return to its natural state of balance, called homeostasis. Put another way, when the bones in your spine are allowed to return to their proper positioning, the nerve can resume its normal flow and your body's natural healing processes occur.

Chiropractic care has been shown to be more cost-effective than other more invasive methods of treatment such as surgery, pharmacological drugs, and other specialty treatments. Research has demonstrated that for patients with low back pain or similar complaints, 20-40% total medical costs can be saved by seeking care through a Doctor of Chiropractic instead of through a medical doctor. If more people chose this route for low back pain alone, insurance companies would save an average of 2.3 million dollars a year, as was demonstrated by one particular study (see references below).

Chiropractic manipulations can be especially helpful in relieving pain for facet joint injuries, osteoarthritis, and sacroiliac joint dysfunction, because such conditions have been shown to respond well to mobilization in many studies. There is also documentation of many patients with chronic headaches, sinus problems, high blood pressure, ear infections, leg pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and many other illnesses who have reported significant relief after chiropractic therapy.  Each individual is different, and there is no gaurantee that such illnesses will be totally resovled; however, the evidence favors that these conditions can be helped with chiropractic care. Refer below for a more comprehensive list of conditions that may be helped with chiropractic care.

Chiropractic is Preventative Care

Often you hear that chiropractic treatment is preventative care, but what does that really mean? It means that we wish to maintain the body's homeostasis, or healthy balance, which will prevent you from experience health ailments later in life. Instead of watching and waiting until symptoms occur, as is standard in most mainstream medicine, we wish to prevent the causes of the symptoms from ever occuring. It is much healthier and easier to prevent the causes of poor health than to have to treat them when symptoms arise.

 

A simple example of this is what occurs in a vertebral joint when there is a lack of normal motion. Within a joint, normal motion is needed to prevent adhesions from developing and to allow nutrients to get to the cartilage and vertebral discs. Also, when you have motion in a joint it causes activation of mechanoreceptors, which are special sensors that detect motion. These mechanoreceptors actually block pain signaling to the brain, so with out motion you begin to experience pain from that joint.  When the brain experiences a prolonged pain signal being delivered from a part of the body, it sends a signal for your body's healing processes to begin at the site because it assumes there is an injury. These natural healing processes cause inflammation, which is the normal response to injury in the body. This inflammation then causes more pain, which causes more signaling to the brain, which causes a larger healing response to the joint. Over time this inflammation damages the joint and can cause degenerative changes in the bone such as osteophytes.

 

Chiropractic manipulation ensures proper motion in all joints of the body and prevents joints from becoming restricted due to muscular or postural imbalance, or many other causes.  By preventing this lack of joint motion, chiropractic care prevents the cycle of inflammation and pain, thereby reducing the risk of degenerative disease processes from occurring. 

The Truth About Associated Risks

There is often a concern that chiropractic manipulation will cause a neurological problem or stroke.  The issue is that of a manipulation-induced vertebral artery dissection (VAD) causing a patient to experience a complication. A person experiencing a VAD will have severe pain at the base of the skull and in the neck. People exeperiencing these symptoms will often seek chiropractic treatment for their pain and so the correlation of people who have suffered VAD while visiting a chiropractor is 2.6 per 100,000 people.  However, there is no direct evidence that a chiropractic manipulation can cause the VAD. Most VAD are spontaneous and can occur from simple activities such as looking overhead, swimming, yoga, extending the neck during dental procedures, positioning for an x-ray, and even during sleep. There are other factors that have been linked with VAD such as hereditary conditions and elevated homocystiene levels from B vitamin deficiency due to smoking, poor diet, malabosorption, and alcohol abuse.

The actual risk of a chiropractic adjustment causing a VAD is 1 out of every 2,000,000 treatments. The risk of getting struck by lightning is 1 in 1,000,000. You are as likely to be struck by lightning twice in your life as you are from suffering a VAD from a chiropractic manipulation. Risk of death from non-conservative treatments for the cervical spine are: death from internal bleeding from using NSAIDs for pain is 800 out of 2,000,000, death from cervical spine surgery is 4-10 out of 10,000, and death from spinal surgery is 7 out of 10,000.

There are websites out there that also attack chiropractic, spread slanderous information, and use scare tactics to persuade people to not see chiropractic doctors. The leader of one of these websites was actually taken to court and found to be falsely claiming to be a medical expert and spreading false information. (View the Article) Ensure that the sources you are reading are written by edcuated professionals when searching for information online. Here is a large collection of research and data about true risks of modern medicine covering topics from surgery overutilization, medical error rates, hospital born diseases, pharmacologically induced deaths, excessive heathcare costs, and more. (View the Research)

What the Research Says

Increasingly over the past few decades, the medical community has come to accept and recognize chiropractic care as a valid form of treatment for a variety of neuro-musculoskeletal conditions, and as a conservative treatment option for patients with lower back pain. Moreover, many medical doctors recognize a chiropractic diagnosis and accept it as the first line of treatment for functional disorders of the entire musculoskeletal system.

More and more research is being done, and study after study is beginning to document how beneficial chiropractic care is beyond just the musculoskeletal system. The effects are systemic and can help with a number of internal disorders and other issues previously not thought to be helping by chiropractic care. Below is a list of conditions with links to research studies that support chiropratic care as helpful for that specfic condition**

 

Below is a list of studies by leading medical journals in recent years that have confirmed the benefits of chiropractic care:

  1. Link to the website of the Foundation for Chiropractic Education - to educate you about what chiropractic is and what research says about its true benefits to the body (Click Here)
  2. Video of board certified neurologists stating the lack of risk of chiropractic adjustment causing a cerebral vascular event (Click Here)
  3. A 1993 report by the Ontario Ministry of Health concluded that chiropractic care was the most effective treatment for lower back pain. The agency also recommended that chiropractic care be fully integrated in the Canadian government's health care system.
  4. In 1994, the federal Agency for Health Care Policy and Research published its Clinical Practice Guidelines, which asserted that spinal manipulation was effective in reducing pain and speeding recovery among patients with acute low back symptoms without radiculopathy.
  5. A 1996 New England Journal of Medicine study of outcomes and costs for acute low back pain found that patients treated by chiropractors were significantly more satisfied than those who saw primary care, orthopedic or managed care practitioners.
  6. A 1996 study in the journal Spine echoed that study and found that patients who sought chiropractic care were more likely to feel that treatment was helpful, more likely to be satisfied with their care, and less likely to seek care from another provider for the same condition, compared to those who sought care from medical doctors.
  7. In 2001, the Center for Clinical Health Policy Research at Duke University concluded in a study that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for cervicogenic headaches, or those that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication.
  8. Background information about muscle testing and its application from the journal Chiropractic & Osteopathy in 2008, written by Dr. Wally Schmitt and Scott Cuthbert.  The article shows common errors done by practioners or scientists that cause invalid data on its effectiveness.  " Common Errors and Clinical Guidelines for Manual Muscle Testing"
  9. A list of research articles and case studies related to benefits of chiropractic in a variety of different conditions, situations, and other articles of interest. Chiropractic Research Articles.
  10. Article describing Vertebral Artery Dissection and the associated risks. "What are the Risks of Chiropractic Neck Adjustments?"
  11. Official Lightning Saftey website by the National Weather Service. Click Here
  12. Study on cost effectiveness of chiropractic care Click Here. Also a link to a page with many research studies on the cost effectiveness of chiropractic care in general Click Here

 

** We at Synergy Chiropractic are not claiming to treat or cure any of the mentioned conditions please refer to Officite's Disclaimer and our Medical Disclaimer for more information.