The World Health Organization describes chiropractic care as "a health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on general health" (link).
In other words, chiropractic care views the brain, skeleton, and muscles as all being part of the same system. So when something goes wrong with one part of this system, it can affect all of the other parts.
In practice, chiropractic care usually involves a few different techniques:
• spinal manipulation - using the hands to apply force to muscles, bones, and joints in the spine and neck
• short and sharp thrusting movements
• gradually moving joints into different positions
• pulling or stretching muscles in different directions
Chiropractic care, therefore, focuses on manipulating the skeletal and muscular part of the body's system. If we view the body as one big system with each of the parts affecting the others, chiropractic care can have some surprising, and not so surprising, benefits.
The Benefits Of Chiropractic Care
1) Relief of lower back and neck pain
Pain in the lower back or neck is the number one reason why people seek out chiropractic care, and it works. In a systematic review looking at a wide range of studies, it was found that chiropractic care can give significant improvements for lower back and neck pain (link).
2) Headaches and migraines
Severe headaches and migraines can be debilitating and severely affect people's quality of life. Chiropractic care has been found to reduce pain scores and the frequency of severe headaches and migraines in people who underwent treatment focused on spinal and soft tissue manipulations (link).
3) Sports injuries
Chiropractic care can offer treatments of a variety of sports injuries. Sports injuries can happen in any area of the body and chiropractic can help to treat the injuries directly. It can also treat any underlying misalignment that could be making sports injuries more likely or more severe. (link).
4) Anxiety and depression
Chiropractic care may not be the first treatment option that comes to mind when you are dealing with anxiety or depression. It can, however, help to alleviate many of the symptoms that come along with these mental health issues. For example, chiropractic care can:
• lower blood pressure, which can reduce the symptoms of anxiety
• trigger the release of positive hormones such as oxytocin which can help to reduce the symptoms of depression
• help with sleeping problems, which are common with both of these illnesses
Chiropractic care can help to improve the quality of life for people with scoliosis by reducing pain levels, disability levels, and improving the Cobb scale (degree of curvature in the spine) (link).
Sciatica is caused by a compression of the sciatic nerve and can be a painful and debilitating condition. Spinal manipulation can reduce the inflammation, muscle spasm, and pain that come from sciatica (link).
Through viewing the body in a holistic way, chiropractic care can have benefits not only for the spine and neck, but also other parts of the body and even the brain. Chiropractic care is a viable treatment option for many people who are dealing with a variety of conditions and can help to improve their quality of life.