How Does Chiropractic Care Boost Immunity?

The COVID-19 pandemic has people all over the world researching ways to boost their immune system and protect themselves from illness. But even in “normal” times, finding methods to boost your immune system is beneficial. While you’re likely aware of how positive changes to diet, sleep, exercise and other forms of self-care can boost your immune system, you may not realize chiropractic care can also benefit your immune health.

Here’s an overview of what you should know about the relationship between chiropractic care and immune system strength, and why so many Portland, OR residents are turning to chiropractic adjustments to help them stay healthy.

What causes immune system problems?

Your body’s immune system comprises proteins, organs, tissues and cells (specifically white blood cells)—which all work in conjunction to fight off disease and keep you healthy and fit.

The immune system is a constant defense mechanism. Occasionally, though, the system might not function to its full capabilities. There are several reasons why people might have problems with their immune system. Certain types of diseases (like cancer) can wreak havoc on your immune system. Various autoimmune disorders can sic the immune system on itself, because it’s tricked into seeing itself as a threat to your body. There are also certain types of allergic and immunodeficiency disorders that can result in a weakening of the immune system.

Any time you have an underlying condition that causes a weakened immune system, you’re more at risk for additional health problems, ranging from common colds to more severe diseases. It is important, then, to take appropriate measures to treat your immune system problems.

There are many available treatments for these underlying issues. Your doctor may prescribe mediations to treat some of the symptoms of the disorders described above. Diseases like cancer demand more aggressive treatments and therapies.

In some cases, though, you may be able to benefit from chiropractic care as a non-invasive, natural alternative to some of the other commonly used treatments to help boost the health of your immune system.

A history of chiropractic care and immune health

We can trace the roots of chiropractic care for improved immune health back to the last global pandemic to significantly impact the United States: the 1918 flu epidemic. There are results from studies in Iowa during the pandemic that show the benefits of chiropractic care. The reports from those studies are fascinating!

In Davenport, Iowa, there were 50 doctors who cared for 4,953 cases with 274 deaths from the flu. Meanwhile, 150 chiropractors saw 1,635 patients with the flu, and only one death. Statewide, medical doctors treated 93,590 patients and saw 6,116 deaths, or one death for every 15 patients. Chiropractors, however, saw 4,735 patients with just six deaths, or one patient out of every 789.

Results from studies in New York were similarly striking. Patients with the flu treated using traditional medical care died at a rate of 950 per 10,000 cases. However, deaths of patients under chiropractic care occurred at only a rate of 25 per 10,000 cases.

There are some factors to consider here—medical doctors are much more likely to see the most severe patients, and this was also 100 years ago, and medical technology has significantly advanced since then. That said, the results were so striking that they prompted further research into the relationship between chiropractic care and immunity!

How chiropractic care can help your body

One of the primary causes of immune system problems is the compression of nerve pathways (pinched nerves), a condition referred to as subluxation. Chiropractors are skilled in using certain forms of spinal manipulation to relieve this compression, which can prevent the restrictions affecting your immune system.

It is important to note that the nervous system and the immune system very much go hand-in-hand, frequently interacting with each other. The hormones and molecules released by each system communicate with each other and with various organs throughout the body. The nervous system, for example, sends information from the brain out to the body to influence the immune system’s receptors. The immune system will send signals back to the brain about any potential unwanted antigens or risk factors, so the brain can tell the immune system how to react.

One of the major goals of chiropractic care is to remove any interference in the nervous system that could block these important messages from going back and forth between the nervous system and immune system. In this way, chiropractic adjustments may improve your immune health by alleviating subluxations that prevent these signals from firing properly.

For more information about the various benefits of chiropractic care and how you can work to boost your immune system strength, we encourage you to contact our team today! Starkwood Chiropractic welcomes new and returning patients from throughout the greater Portland, OR area.