Chiropractic is not just about back or neck pain.
It is reasonable, and, I would suggest, the most evidence-based approach to mechanical back pain. The results on back pain are a side effect. or side benefit of Chiropractic restoring function.
Chiropractic is a unique healthcare profession with its own science, art and philosophy. This becomes a shockingly venomous political fight both inside and outside of the profession for reasons both beyond my understanding and bother. Philosophy is somehow rebuked as being unscientific, which really just exposes a lack of understanding about what philosophy is. Everyone has a philosophy, and if you don’t know what it is, someone else probably provided yours for you. Conventional medicine has a philosophy, and this guides and shapes what types of scientific inquiries it makes and what questions it chooses to ask and answer.
Is Chiropractic Scientific?
With the advance of modern science and the ability to measure how your entire being interacts and influences health, I think that traditional Chiropractic philosophy is more relevant and more valid than ever before. It is also something that you should, and probably do, care much less about than me. So we will have a 2 minute rundown of some important aspects.
Chiropractic Belief System
Chiropractic philosophy believes that your body has the inborn (innate) ability to heal itself as long as it is not interfered with. A simple cut on your finger provides an everyday miracle to illustrate this. Interference could include stress in the form of things like chemical toxins in food and the environment, emotional toxins such as negative thoughts, poor self-image, or a stressful work environment, as well as physical toxins like trauma, sedentary living, or the infamous vertebral subluxation complex that Chiropractors speak of. Basically, if you give your body what it needs, and don’t expose it to things it doesn’t need, your body has an amazing ability to heal itself.
Chiropractic also believes that the way your body moves and works affects your overall health, not just how your back feels. This may seem like a bit of a stretch, but it really can approach common sense too. The benefits of exercise and movement are pretty standard fair these days, and it is not just exertion and cardiovascular training responsible for these benefits. When your joints and muscles move (or even when they are in a certain position) then send information to your brain called PROPRIOCEPTION. This is basically just movement information letting your brain know how, how much, how fast, when and where your muscles and joints are sitting and moving. This is important for all kinds of things like balance and walking, but it is also just a normal input (like a nutrient) your brain is used to receiving from a healthy body doing healthy things. (By the way, the muscles and joints around your spine, and especially your neck have many, many more of these receptors than anywhere else in your body)
Is my back out?
You can find many sources around about your vertebrae being “out” or out of alignment and pinching on a nerve and this affecting your organs or overall health. A true pinched or compressed nerve can and does happen, but it is not common and limiting Chiropractic care to these cases would be missing the boat.The loss of motion or change in posture or alignment, however, is common and again something most of us can realize as common sense nowadays. Sitting for years and years on end at school and work and in front of the TV, getting hit and bumped around in sports or at the gym, car accidents and emotional stress (that’s right I said it) can all cause your joints to stop moving properly. Chiropractic adjustments help to get them moving and keep them moving in a modern society that is full of activities and occupations that do just the opposite.
Is Chiropractic Beneficial for me?
Chiropractic does not regularly take pressure off of pinched nerves, but it does put pressure on these PROPRIOCEPTIVE nerve fibers, sending this normal, healthy movement information exploding off to your brain. It is not about putting a bone back in place, your body does not work like a Jenga set, it is about restoring the proper movement, position and tone of a joint and its surrounding muscles (and therefore restoring this PROPRIOCEPTIVE movement). This is great for a joint, and there is a lot of information out there showing how important normal movement is to keeping joints healthy. But it is MUCH bigger than this. The movement of these joints, especially those in your spine which have the most receptors for movement, is a normal, healthy input to your brain. How can this not affect your overall well-being?
This does not mean that Chiropractic, particularly Chiropractic adjustments, are a treatment or cure for anything. This simply suggests that a normal, healthy moving joint and body is better and healthier than one that isn’t and one that isn’t moving is extremely common with our insanely busy, stressful, and unhealthy modern lifestyles. In my opinion, and unhealthy joint, which MUST provide altered input into your brain, is a less than healthy situation for your entire body, regardless of whether or not it hurts (and it often doesn’t hurt for a long, long time) The opposite is also true: a healthy moving joint is better for that joint and your entire body regardless of whether or not you feel differently.
MORE INFORMATION: read about Active Release Technique (A.R.T.)