Many people understand that chiropractic is a simple yet effective way to alleviate a variety of pain conditions, but a growing body of research indicates it can also enhance immunity.
In our office in the Beaverton area, we help patients with both musculoskeletal problems and overall health and wellness.
Earlier research has shown that spinal adjustments can improve specific immune responses in both healthy people and back pain patients. However there have been no major literature reviews of 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 existing literature on spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) and immune responses.
After examining the research up to January 2012, Neil found that spinal adjustments are associated with a central anti-inflammatory response. Research indicates that SMT may lead to a down regulating of pro-inflammatory cytokines and an increase in antibodies involved in the immune response. At the same time, SMT may boost the creation 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 driving these processes are still unknown, however. There isn't enough data yet to know whether these inflammatory changes 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.
Although more study is required, current evidence suggests that chiropractic adjustments can produce favorable improvements in the immune system. These immunological changes may explain why chiropractic can lessen inflammation and pain while boosting overall health.
We have worked with many patients in Beaverton boost their health. If you would like to discover the benefits of chiropractic care, call at (503) 642-2845 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.