Many people know that chiropractic is an effective way to treat a number of pain conditions, but a growing body of research suggests it can also boost our immune system. In our office in West Seattle, WA, we help patients with both musculoskeletal conditions and overall health and wellness.
Earlier research has indicated that spinal adjustments can improve specific immune responses in both healthy participants and back pain patients. However there have been no major literature reviews of the overall effect of chiropractic care 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 evaluated 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 suggests that SMT may lead to a down regulating of pro-inflammatory cytokines and boost in antibodies involved in the immune response. In addition, SMT may increase the creation of tiny cells called leukocytes which assist 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 systems are still unknown, however. There is not sufficient data yet to be sure whether these inflammatory reductions result in an improvement 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 research is required, current evidence suggests that chiropractic adjustments can produce favorable changes in the immune system. These immunological changes may show us why chiropractic can decrease inflammation and pain while boosting overall health.
Dr. Adkins has helped many patients in West Seattle, WA improve their health. If you would like to experience the benefits of chiropractic, call Adkins Chiropractic at (206) 258-4886 for a consultation today.
Neil J. Manipulative therapy and immune response: A literature review of the chiropractic and osteopathic evidence. Clinical Chiropractic 2012; 15(3): 186.