Many people understand that chiropractic adjustments are a simple yet effective way to relieve a variety of pain conditions, but an increasing body of research suggests it can also boost immunity. In our office in Saint Paul, MN, we help people with both musculoskeletal issues and general health and wellness.
Previous research has indicated that spinal adjustments can improve 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 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 linked to the immune response. Furthermore, SMT may enhance 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 is not enough data yet to know whether these inflammatory improvements 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.
Although more study is needed, current evidence suggests that chiropractic adjustments can produce favorable changes in the immune system. These immunological changes may explain why chiropractic can decrease inflammation and pain while boosting overall wellness.
We have helped many patients in Saint Paul, MN boost their health. If you would like to experience the advantages of chiropractic care, call Skon Chiropractic Clinic at (651) 644-3900 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.