Back pain is debilitating and very common, but it is not normal. It is estimated that between 65% to 80% of the population will experience back pain.1 Nonetheless, just because it is common does not mean that it is normal. Heart attacks are common but not normal. Very often, we experience symptoms for a reason, or as a last defence to bring awareness to potential problems in the body. Pain in the body should not be ignored. Your body is smart, and the good doctors are smart enough to know that the body is smarter than they are, meaning that the body is self healing. The big idea of chiropractic is that the body is an ecosystem that works better without spinal dysfunction, known as a vertebral subluxation. Regardless of symptoms or disease the body functions better when subluxations are corrected. Chiropractors do not aim to treat or cure disease, instead the role of the chiropractor is to improve neural function and adaptability through proper biomechanics of the spine, skull and pelvis.
While chiropractic has been shown to be more effective than standard medical care for low back pain, 2,3 chiropractic is much more than a treatment for “bad backs.” Here are the top 10 reasons based on the latest research to visit the chiropractor not merely for musculoskeletal pain:
10. Constipation in Children
According to the research, those who are most likely to take their children to “alternative” care are “affluent and educated persons”, and about 20-30% of paediatric patients have used 1 or more alternative healthcare services. Even a very high percentage (over 50%) of physicians and paediatricians report using it for themselves. Of these alternative services, chiropractic is the most commonly used. One reason these families go to the chiropractor is not because of pain, but because of constipation. Research published by Alcantara in 2014 strongly recommends that chiropractic should be used as a first option for idiopathic (unknown cause) constipation.4
9. To grow healthy children instead of fixing sick adults
Given that the the World Health Organisations defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” it is interesting that only a small percentage of their efforts are focussed on prevention. By virtually every measure, humans are the sickest species on the planet. If we continue to do what we have done, we will continue down this path of rising sickness, spending, and suffering. If we can focus our efforts on prevention instead of treatment, we can begin to save humanity from the sinking healthcare ship, by creating a new paradigm of what health is: increased function and adaptability.
According to Coulter and researchers at the RAND Corporation,5 individuals under maintenance chiropractic care spent fewer days in hospitals, used fewer prescription drugs, and were more active than the non-chiropractic patients. In another study, 200 chiropractors and 200 paediatricians were interviewed and they found a “definite correlation between chiropractic care and superior health.” Furthermore they discovered that “children raised under chiropractic care are less prone to infectious processes such as otitis media and tonsillitis, and that their immune systems are better able to cope with allergens” 6. A more recent study concluded that you are TWICE as likely to be disabled if you got your care from a Physical Therapists (PT), and more shockingly you are 60% more likely to be disabled if your care is from a Physicians (MD) rather than from a chiropractor.7It therefor becomes clear why 30 million children visit the chiropractor annually according to the archives of paediatric adolescence medicine.
8. To improve immune regulation
Would you like to improve your capacity to heal and adapt without drugs and surgery? New research from 2017 looked at how chiropractic affected body chemistry. They found that spinal adjustments “can influence inflammatory/immune biomarkers”. The regulation of your immune system is under the control of your nerve system. 8
7. Increase human potential
Besides being at the top of their game, what do Tony Robbins, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong, Joe Montana, Evander Holyfield, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Venus Williams, many Olympic athletes and Michael Jordan have in common? They all have trusted chiropractic to improve their potential.
For years chiropractic has been used to improve the performance of top athletes, but it can also help you to become the best version of yourself, by allowing your body to function optimally. Every process of the body is governed through the nerve system, which is the only system in the body protected by bone. When the bones of the skull, spine and pelvis or not moving optimally, this hinders the communication and therefor your performance.
6. Increase muscle strength
“What we can say based on this study is that when we adjust subluxations, we improve strength, we prevent fatigue and we change the way the brain drives our muscles. That’s pretty cool.” Says leading researcher Heidi Haavik PhD regarding a study published in Experimental Brain Research. When chiropractors adjust spinal dysfunction known as vertebral subluxation, the brain can process what is going on in the body better. The results of this study showed a similar effect to 3 weeks of muscle training! 9
5. Improve verbal skills and mood
When the brain can communicate with the body more efficiently and effectively, it comes to reason that other functions in the body may also improve. A systematic review published in the peer reviewed journal Explore found that chiropractic improved communication, verbal skills, the ability to make eye contact, improved mood and physical skills, especially in children with autism who struggle with these normal activities. 10
Chiropractic is safe and effective for pregnancy.11 According to research in 2014, 85% of pregnant women get pain relief with chiropractic care.12 Although it is very effective for pain relief, it is much more than simply another pain therapy. Instead it gives the body the best chance to deliver the child free from unnecessary strain. During vaginal delivery, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction has a strong correlation to a difficult birth. Chiropractic adjustments of the spine and pelvis relax the pelvic floor muscles allowing for an easier birth.13
3. improve visual acuity
A study from 2016 investigated the effects of spinal function on the eyes. They studied 23 people and concluded “chiropractic treatment was accompanied by statistically significantimprovements in visual acuity”.14
2. Organ/visceral Function
The first chiropractic patient in 1895 was not a back or neck pain patient. William Harvey Lillard was adjusted by the founder of chiropractic, DD Palmer, because he was deaf. DD Palmer thought he had found the cure for deafness, yet not every deaf patient got their hearing back. Instead other organic issues began to improve. The BJ Palmer research clinic in Davenport Iowa documented hundreds of cases of visceral improvements.
The latest research has begun to investigate these claims. In the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology in 2012, Bolton and Budgell conducted a structured search of the research, and they found evidence that spinal adjustments influenced cardiovascular function, gastrointestinal function, female reproductive function, and the regulation of pupil diameter. While the mechanisms aren’t completely understood, there is ample evidence to suggest that chiropractic influences some organ functions. 15
1. increase brain function
The most profound reason to visit the chiropractor not solely for the treatment of back pain, is to experience more of life through optimal brain function. It is widely accepted that pain in the body affects the structure and function of the brain, especially in the prefrontal cortex. 16, 17. This is the area of the brain that is involved with behavior, personality, decision making, and regulating social behavior. A study from 2011 discovered cerebral metabolic in the brain after chiropractic care in the prefrontal cortex, and the the most significant change was found in the cerebellar vermis, the area of the cerebellum involved in walking, posture and mental stress. 18
Of all the studies indicating that chiropractic positively affects the brain, the most recent study published in the prestigious Neural Plasticity journal concluded that without a doubt adjusting the spine changed brain function.19 One of the authors of the study wrote:
“The latest study suggests that the changes that we do see in the brain when we adjust the spine do occur in the prefrontal cortex. An effect on the function of the prefrontal cortex could explain many previous research results, such as improvements in sensorimotor function relevant to falls-prevention; better joint-position sense in both the upper limb and the lower limb; improved muscle strength in lower limb muscles; better pelvic floor control; and better ability to carry out mental rotation of objects.”
(Original by Dr. Jonathan Verderame CEO Vital Kiropraktikk)
1. Manchikanti L. Epidemiology of low back pain.Pain Physician. 2000 Apr;3(2):167-92.
2. Goertz Adding chiropractic manipulative therapy to standard medical care for patients with acute low back pain: results of a pragmatic randomized comparative effectiveness study.Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2013 Apr 15;38(8):627-34
3. Blanchette. Effectiveness and Economic Evaluation of Chiropractic Care for the Treatment of Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review of Pragmatic Studies. PLoS One. 2016 Aug 3;11(8):e0160037
4. Kemper. Complementary and alternative medicine for childrendoes it work?West J Med. 2001 Apr; 174(4): 272–276.
5. Chiropractic Patients in a Comprehensive Home-Based Geriatric Assessment, Follow-up and Health Promotion ProgramTopics In Clinical Chiropractic 1996 (Jun): 3 (2): 46–55
6. A Comparative Study of the Health Status of Children Raised Under the Health Care Models of Chiropractic and Allopathic MedicineJournal of Chiropractic Research 1989; 5 (Summer): 101–103
7. Health Maintenance Care in Work-Related Low Back Pain and Its Association With Disability RecurrenceJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2011 (Apr); 53 (4): 396–404
8. Changes in biochemical markers following spinal manipulation-a systematic reviewand meta-analysis. Musculoskeletal Science and PracticeVolume 29, June 2017, Pages 120-131
9. Changes in H-reflex and V-waves following spinal manipulation.Experimental Brain Research. Vol 233, 4 , pp 1165-1173
10. Alcantara. A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ON THE CHIROPRACTIC CARE OF PATIENTS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER. Explore 2011; 7:384-390.
11. Alcantara. The Use of Validated Outcome Measures in the Chiropractic Care of Pregnant Patients: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Complement Ther Clin Pract 21 (2), 131-136
12. Peterson. Outcomes of pregnant patients with low back pain undergoing chiropractic treatment: a prospective cohort study with short term, medium term and 1 year follow-up.Chiropr Man Therap. 2014 Apr 1;22(1):15.
13. Haavik. Effect of Spinal Manipulation on Pelvic Floor Functional Changes in Pregnant and Nonpregnant Women: A Preliminary Study.J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2016 Jun;39(5):339-47.
14. Athaide. A single cohort prospective trial of the immediate effects of spinal manipulation on visual acuity. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2016 Mar; 60(1): 88–92.
15. Bolten. Visceral responses to spinal manipulation Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 22 (2012) 777–784
16. Apkarian. Chronic back pain is associated with decreased prefrontal and thalamic gray matter density.J Neurosci. 2004 Nov 17;24(46):10410-5
17. Rodriguez-Raecke. Structural Brain Changes in Chronic Pain Reflect Probably Neither Damage Nor Atrophy. PLoS One. 2013; 8(2): e54475.
18. Ogura T. Cerebral metabolic changes in men after chiropractic spinal manipulation for neck pain.Altern Ther Health Med. 2011 Nov-Dec;17(6):12-7.
19. Lelic. Manipulation of dysfunctional spinal joints affects sensorimotor integration in the pre-frontal cortex: A brain source localization study. Neural Plasticity, Volume 2016