We all want to be well and avoid sickness, but unfortunately as we know it can’t be taken for granted.
During the winter months many will catch flu and colds, and in the States alone over $40 billion dollars annually is spent just to feel better; not to be healthier, but just to alleviate the symptoms. Happily, I’m pleased to say that some people are looking for an alternative to this constant popping of pills. There is a new buzzword which has appeared over the last decade, that of “wellness”. Even hospitals are starting to tout programs that focus on wellness.
“The sickness business in reactive. Despite its enormous size, people become customers only when they are stricken by and react to a specific condition or ailment. No one really wants to be a customer.” “The Wellness business is proactive. People voluntarily become customrs – to feel healthier, to reduce the effects of aging, and to avoid becoming customers of the sickness business. Everyone wants to be a customer of this earlier-stage approach to health.” – Paul Zane Pilzer, The Wellness Revolution
The problem is though, most MD’s who staff these hospitals have little to no training in wellness vs. disease care. These highly trained MD’s, who focus on disease care and treatment do a great job, as of course do emergency doctors. However, medicine has thus far unfortunately failed at the “wellness game”. Today we are starting to see more and more “functional medicine” practitioners who use holistic measures such as vitamins, herb, minerals and other natural means, such as spinal manipulative therapy. Most are not doctors of medicine, but practitioners of various persuasions, including chiropractors, who understand that wellness does not necessitate the use of pharmaceuticals. The goal of wellness is to increase our immune system, to increase our immunity to various viruses and disease causing bacteria as part of an overall health plan.
Recently, research done at the Universities of Madrid and Jaen in Spain, found a clear link between immunity and chiropractic care. The explanation is complex and involves the relationship between adrenocortical function and immunity. There is impressive evidence that small amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, a chemical produced by the human adrenal cortex, is necessary for the development and maintenance of normal immunity. It has been found that if your cortisol levels go too low or too high, this can lead to regular infections, chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases or allergies. Maintaining a balanced level of cortisol is an important part of staying healthy.
One of cortisol’s many functions is to reduce inflammation. When your body encounters a pathogen, the immune system responds by quickly attacking it. This causes inflammation, which is often a good thing (it means the immune system is working). In those with healthy immune and endocrine systems, cortisol works to moderate the inflammation caused by an immune system response, but it does not completely eliminate it.
While studying spinal manipulative therapy, and the chiropractic ‘adjustment’ (high velocity, low amplitude spinal manipulation), it was reported that post chiropractic adjustment of the cervical spine (neck) , there was a sign it can’t increase in cortisol plasma concentration immediately post-intervention. This verifies that chiropractic care has a direct link to the cortisol-immunity connection through the neuro-endocrine (nerve/hormone) reaction.
If you consider your wellness to be important, then to ignore the health of your spine and the closely connected nervous system would be a mistake. Millions of health minded people all over the world make regular chiropractic adjustments an integral part of their health strategy.
The Cost of the Common Cold, American Public Media (2016), Retrieved from: http://www.marketplace.org/2011/01/21/life/cost-common-cold Immunity (2016) Retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immunity_(medical) Jeffries W., (1991) Cortisol and Immunity, Medical Hypothesis, 34, 198-208 Adrenal Fatigue and Your Immune System (2016). Retrieved from: http://adrenalfatiguesolution.com/immune-system/ Plaza-Manzano, G., Molina-Ortega, F., Lomas-Vega, R., Martinez-Amat, A., Achalandabaso, A., & Hita-Contreras, F. (2014). Changes in biochemical markers of pain perception and stress response after spinal manipulation. Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 44(4), 231-239. Smith, S. M., & Vale, W. W. (2006). The role of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis neuroendocrine response to stress. Dialogue in Clinical Neuroscience, 8(4), 383-395.