Many people understand that chiropractic adjustments are a successful way to relieve a number of pain conditions, but an increasing body of data suggests it can also improve our immune system.
In our office Athens, GA, we help patients with both musculoskeletal issues and general health and wellness.
Previous studies have indicated that spinal adjustments can affect specific immune responses in both healthy people and back pain patients. However there have been no major literature review articles 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 evaluated the existing research on spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) and immune responses.
After reviewing the data up to January 2012, Neil determined that spinal adjustments are linked to a central anti-inflammatory response. Research shows that SMT may lead to a down regulating pro-inflammatory cytokines and an increase in antibodies involved in the immune response. At the same time, SMT may boost the production 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 behind these processes are still unknown, however. There isn't enough research yet to be sure whether these inflammatory changes correlate with 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 show us why chiropractic can lessen inflammation and pain while promoting general health.
We have helped many people in Athens, GA improve their health. If you would like to experience the benefits of chiropractic care, call Family Chiropractic of Athens at (706) 353-8032 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.