Is chiropractic effective?
It is common to ask what Chiropractors do and what is Chiropractic care. Chiropractors are specialists in the nerve (or nervous) system. The nerve system is made up of the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS). The CNS is the most important aspect, and can have a big impact on the whole body if interfered with.
Think of the CNS and PNS like different types of roads. The CNS is the highways, expressways and wide roads with lots of lanes. These roads have the most traffic and filter to all the other smaller roads. The PNS is those smaller roads. They are still very important and needed to go to specific places, such as homes. Now imagine there is a car accident. If the accident happens on the small road (PNS) it may affect the local traffic. If there is an accident on the bigger roads (CNS) it can affect other parts of this big road, disrupting lots of cars; and can disrupt the traffic on the smaller roads too!
The CNS is made up of the brain and spinal cord (the nerves which run inside the spine). Chiropractors work with the spine to improve its function, thus improving the function of the CNS. Therefore Chiropractic is effective to improve bodily functions. If there are misalignments in the spine, known as Subluxations, these will interfere with the proper functioning of the CNS, which can have a widespread effect on the body. These can be present with or without symptoms (as most of the CNS is for background functions e.g. digestion, blood flow, immunity etc)
Chiropractic is a profession trained in the analysis and correction of misalignments of the spine, known as Subluxations, especially in the upper neck. These Subluxations will lead to improper nerve function, with or without symptoms. The nerve system functions better without Subluxations than with them. Chiropractic is effective at correcting these Subluxations.
Chiropractic care is a research proven system using manual techniques to improve spinal and neural integrity, without the need of surgery or medication. Chiropractors work alongside other health professionals, such as medical doctors, physiotherapists, psychologists and dentists.
Is chiropractic effective? Is Chiropractic scientific?
Now we have a better understanding of what Chiropractic is and its focus, we can determine the effectiveness of Chiropractic. Chiropractic is particularly effective as long as it is intended to help nerve system related problems. The research clearly shows improvements among a range of medical conditions, from vertigo and migraines, back pain and shoulder pain, to blood pressure and tinnitus.
However, to establish if Chiropractic is effective it must always be in the context of a nerve system problem. If it is a problem more with another body system then another practitioner should be consulted.
For example, if a patient is having facial pain, but the nerve system is working well without the presence of Subluxation, then the patient should be referred to a different health professional, such as a dentist.
Research shows Chiropractic is very effective for nerve system problems, such as migraines, headaches or vertigo. A thorough consultation with nerve tests will be able to determine if Chiropractic can be effective for a patient, or if another type of doctor/practitioner would be the right fit.
Chiropractic patients have one of the highest satisfaction rates among health professionals, with one of the lowest risks!
Side effects after chiropractic adjustment?
One thing some people get concerned about, with any intervention, is potential side effects. When seeing a Chiropractor, especially in the beginning of care, it is normal to have one of the following 3 reactions:
- Feeling much better
- Feeling tired or sore
- Not feeling much yet
These are all completely normal reactions, but be sure to let your Chiropractor know when experiencing any of them. Below we will explain why these reactions happen. It is normal that some people may have different reactions, dependent on condition, age, diet and other lifestyle factors.
Feeling much better
This is a reaction we see all the time. This is because the pressure is off of the nerve system, so the messages of pain and other symptoms start to reduce. The body is working better and more efficiently, resulting in other body parts working and feeling better.
While this is something wanted for all patients, it is important to still stick to the prescribed plan set by the doctor. It is fantastic to feel better, but the body may not be fully healthy or healed yet. The majority of the nerves in the body are functional and cannot be felt (such as for immunity, digestion etc). When someone immediately feels better it is likely reduced tension on the sensory nerves they can feel, but there may still be interference for the background functional nerves.
Therefore, while celebrated, the reduction of symptoms as a side effect after Chiropractic adjustment is still a crucial time to improve the function of the nerve system. This is especially true for a problem which has been there for months or years.
Feeling sore or tired
When starting any new physical change in the body, it may be normal to experience some soreness as the body gets used to the new changes. With the adjustments the pressure will be off of the nerves. To reduce this pressure will require a change in alignment of the joints, muscles and ligaments (read more about Posture, here). The body will be moving into a new position which it will need to get used to!
Think of this like exercise. This is also a physical change to the body. When someone exercises they may feel sore or tired after as the muscles recover. This is especially true if someone hasn’t exercised for a long time! This is the same for the adjustments, in the beginning the body will not be used to the type of movement of the spinal bones and the surrounding muscles may be sore.
This would not usually require massage or stretching, just some time for rest and to allow adequate recovery.
Not feeling much yet
When the nerve pressure is reduced, the body can start to heal. But healing isn’t instant, particularly if a problem has been present or building up for a long time. Time is one of the most important elements for a successful recovery. Ensure that your Chiropractor creates an appropriate plan for your care, not basing results on how things feel at every appointment.
The change in the nerve system is like making an investment in the stock market. If you check it every day it may not seem like you are making progress. But when you look at it after a span of time you can see all the returns!
Typically the longer a problem has been there the longer it will take to go. Your Chiropractor should have periodic assessments scheduled along your planned care to track progress of objective changes in the body, as well as subjective changes like symptoms.
Can old symptoms return?
It can be very normal for older symptoms to reappear when under Chiropractic care, especially when a problem has been chronic, affecting a patient for years. This process is called retracing.
Over the months or years, the person will have experienced some symptoms as the tissues have been damaged. Then as things progress, this tissues didn’t fully heal and a new symptom formed on top of it. This process may continue for a long time, layering problems on top of each other.
So when the body starts to heal and improve, the tissue heals. But it may also do this layer by layer. It can be normal to experience an old symptom from a long time ago. The body now has the opportunity to heal this issue, therefore it feels the way it did before. This doesn’t feel good, but is a good sign their condition is returning to a healthy state.
This is a bit like taking a journey on a long road. This journey so far has led to symptoms and health problems. This journey has been going on for years. Now we are turning around and returning to the original point where the journey started. But we don’t get there instantly. You need to pass through the same route that got you there, which may include old feelings or symptoms!
Chiropractic adjustment benefits
We’ve talked about the potential side effects, now what about the benefits? Chiropractic adjustment benefits are widespread, including:
- Pain reduction
- Improved immunity
- Better digestion
- More restful sleep
- Improved balance
- Reduced dizziness
- Improved hearing
- Better mental focus
- Reduction in eczema or skin conditions
- Less medication
- Improved mental wellbeing
- Better flexibility
- Reduced shakes or tremors
- Ease in daily activities or work
- Reduced sensitivity to stimuli
…and the list goes on
This may look like a strange and unconnected list of benefits. However, this is logical given the role of the CNS, as detailed above. The CNS helps to regulate and control the body. Therefore if the CNS functions well, it allows other parts of the body to function properly too.
Think of the CNS like an electrical system in a building. If it is working well all appliances can work to the best of their ability. But if it is broken, especially near the source of electricity/fuse box, it can stop everything from working through the building.
Why chiropractic care is important
Chiropractic care is important to maintain a healthy nerve system. The nerve system controls and regulates all other systems in the body, including the respiratory system, cardiac system, digestive system, immune function and so on. If the nerve system is working properly all the other systems of the body can work to their optimal function.
In the above we used the example of an electrical system in a building. If the wires are damaged it doesn’t matter how much electricity you have or how good your appliances are, they won’t work. The same is for the body, but over time, with damage to the nerve system, there will be damage and reduced function from the body parts. Without a proper nerve supply they will degrade, potentially leading to symptoms or medical conditions.
Maintaining a healthy nervous system, much like any part of health, is much easier than trying to fix or heal a condition. It is best to have regular checks, similar to seeing a dentist, to maintain good health over time with Chiropractic care. Better health leads to being more active, finding ease in daily tasks, and an overall improved quality of life for you and your family.
If you have any questions or need help finding the Singapore Chiropractic centre to help with stress, then contact us via 8438 9550 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on Facebook or Instagram.
Since 2013, Upper Cervical Chiropractor, Dr. Shaan Rai helped patients achieve greater health, relocating to Singapore in 2016 and founding Vitality Chiropractic Centres. He has an impressive track record in providing relief and solutions for people who experience nerve system problems, such as headaches, migraines, dizziness, vertigo or neurological conditions.
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