Why You Can’t Afford Not to Get Adjusted

80% of adults experience back pain at some point in their lives1, 20% chronic pain2, yet only 10% of the population visit chiropractors3. In 2016, 1 in 4 U.S. adults sought care for back and neck pain3. Chiropractic is a nonsurgical approach that works to fix the root of the problem rather than just masking the symptoms with medication. What is a Subluxation? When the body cannot adapt to the stress it’s under it can lead to a subluxation. A subluxation is typically defined as a misalignment of the vertebrae of the spine4. The vertebrae are the bones that surround the spinal cord, when the joints between those bones lock up, a subluxation can occur.5,13 The loss of mobility in these joints can lead to a compensation reaction where other joints become hypermobile and move too much all while restricting adjacent muscles, ligaments and nerves, creating additional stress. It’s crucial to keep your spine in tip top shape as the spinal cord is responsible for relaying messages between the brain and the body5. Any damage to the spinal cord can potentially result in a loss of sensory and motor function5. Some signs that you may have a subluxation are stiffness, inflexibility, sore muscles, swelling, headaches, and pain4. However, sometimes there are no symptoms at all, and these subluxations can go undetected until the body is no longer able to suppress the symptoms. Without regular spinal check-ups, these subluxations can continue to wreak havoc on your spine until one morning, months later, you wake up wondering why you’re in so much pain. What Causes Subluxations? Subluxations are caused primarily by stress. There’s 3 main stressors that can cause subluxations; environmental, physical, and mental. Environmental stressors can include one’s job, nutritional habits, use/exposure to drugs, alcohol & tobacco, and even your fabric softener! These all affect your nervous system, muscle tone, and your spine and have the potential to throw your body out of homeostasis8. For example, having a physically demanding job that involves a lot of hard labor such as heavy lifting, pushing and pulling can lead to injury or back pain1. Just as well, having a desk job can cause pain if you sit in a chair all day with inadequate back support and poor posture1. Living a sedentary lifestyle during the week and an active one during the weekend puts stress on your body as well. Subluxations induced by physical stressors are the more well known of the three types, as they occur after an acute injury to the joint through sheer force 6,9. The type of injury can vary from car accidents, sports injuries, falls, or even twisting or sleeping the wrong way6. “Children experience all kinds of physical stress - learning to walk or ride a bike and even the birth process are sources of physical stress (8).” When an individual gets into a car accident, injuries can occur from the whipping action of the head as it can induce changes to the neck & its natural curve10. Another physical stressor can be repetitive motions, the things we constantly do that slowly puts stress on our bodies such as always carrying your bag on a specific shoulder, sleeping on your stomach, or crossing your legs. Almost everyone is dealing with stress of some sort, whether it be related to your job, money, health, or relationship. In 2014, a study by the American Psychological Association found that 77% of the people tested regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress11. Additionally, 30% of those people cited that stress has given them muscle tension11. “Stress makes muscles tense up, and chronic stress can lead to tension-related headaches and backaches11.” Usually the muscles will release once you relax but if your body’s constantly under stress your muscles may not get that chance to relax resulting in stiffness11. When people experience anger, grief, fear, or other forms of emotional stress, supporting muscles tighten, the spine stiffens, postural changes can emerge10. This tension in the muscles can lead to subluxations and sometimes even chemical imbalance. How We Can Help Chiropractic focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, along with the effects of these disorders on general health12. Instead of masking symptoms with medications or surgeries, chiropractors find the root cause of symptoms and provide the appropriate treatment in order to repair the nervous system and restore homeostasis in the body. The focus is to allow the nervous system to function better. Chiropractors are trained in the detection and correction of the vertebral subluxation complex. A clinical trial conducted between November 2010 and March 2013 found that 94% of patients who received manual-thrust manipulations, a.k.a. chiropractic care, experienced at least a 30% reduction in their pain14. In the same study it was found that only 54% of patients who saw a medical doctor experienced a 30% reduction in their pain level. In order to reach a proper diagnosis, chiropractors interview the patient to obtain a detailed health history, perform an exam where they assess ranges of motions, muscle tone & strength, along with neurological integrity 7,15. Often, additional tests are performed, such as posture screenings, x-rays, and MRI’s, to aid in the doctor developing a working diagnosis. Once a diagnosis has been made, the doctor lays out a treatment plan in order to correct the problem and allow the body to thrive once more. These plans typically utilize a combination of both manual therapy and physical therapy over a set period of time. During spinal manipulations, the doctor applies sustained pressure to the area of concern in quick and gentle thrusts in order to improve joint motion and function7. Some forms of physical therapy often utilized to aid in recovery include ice/heat, electrical stimulation, ultrasound therapy, traction, and therapeutic exercises15. Once the body is out of pain it’s important to continue care to prevent relapses during its healing process. Coming in for regular chiropractic check-ups increases your body’s ability to cope with stress by keeping your nervous system healthy10. Although you’re not always able to avoid all the stresses in your life, “choosing chiropractic as a preventative and proactive measure is vital to your path to optimal health." References 1. NINDS (2014, December). Back Pain Fact Sheet. National Institute of Health Publication, 15. Retrieved From https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet 2. NCCIH (2018, September 18). Defining the Prevalence of Chronic Pain in the United States. National Institute of Health. Retrieved From https://nccih.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/Prevalence-of-Chronic-Pain 3. English, C. (2016, August 26) One in Four Adults Sought Care for Neck/Back Pain Last Year. Retrieved From https://news.gallup.com/poll/194984/one-four-adults-sought-care-neck-back-pain-last-year.aspx?g_source=Well-Being&g_medium=newsfeed&g_campaign=tiles 4. Cunningham, G. (n.d.) 3 Symptoms of a Spinal Subluxation. The Joint Chiropractic. Retrieved From https://www.thejoint.com/texas/austin/circle-c-28051/196961-3-symptoms-spinal-subluxation 5. Hynes, T. (2018, September) Spine Anatomy. Retrieved From https://mayfieldclinic.com/pe-anatspine.htm 6. Cluett, J. (2019, May 13) Subluxation and Joint Dislocation. Retrieved From https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-a-joint-subluxation-2549343 7. NCCIH. (2019, April 30) Chiropractic. Retrieved From https://nccih.nih.gov/health/chiropractic 8. Chiropatient. (n.d.) Vertebral Subluxation Caused by Three Types of Stress. Retrieved From http://www.chiropatient.com/vertebral-subluxation/stress-subluxation/ 9. Chiro One Wellness Centers. (2018, October 04) The Cause of Subluxation: The Three Ts. Retrieved From https://www.chiroone.net/bewell/the-cause-of-subluxation-the-three-ts 10. Chiropatient. (n.d.) What is a Subluxation?. Retrieved From http://www.chiropatient.com/vertebral-subluxation/ 11. The American Institute of Stress. (n.d.) What is Stress?. The Psychiatric Clinics. Retrieved From https://www.stress.org/daily-life 12. American Chiropractic Association. (n.d.) Key Facts and Figures about the Chiropractic Profession. Retrieved From https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Why-Choose-Chiropractic/Key-Facts 13. Chiropatient. (n.d.) The Chiropractic Vertebral Subluxation Complex. Retrieved From http://www.chiropatient.com/vertebral-subluxation/subluxation-complex/ 14. Schneider, M., Haas, M., Glick, R., Stevans, J., & Landsittel, D. (2015). Comparison of spinal manipulation methods and usual medical care for acute and subacute low back pain: a randomized clinical trial. Spine, 40(4), 209–217. doi:10.1097/BRS.0000000000000724 15. Schubbe, P. (2019, August 01) What To Expect at the First Chiropractic Consultation. Retrieved From https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/chiropractic/what-expect-first-chiropractic-consultation