The problems that normally lead people to a chiropractic office are neck pain, lower back pain and headaches. Musculoskeletal pain is generally what most people think about when they think of chiropractors. But, can chiropractors help with problems other than neck and back pain? This blog post will talk about some of the conditions you might be surprised to hear that chiropractic can help with.
The Nervous System
Our brains tell every other part of our bodies what to do. The brain sends messages through the spinal cord and then out through the spinal nerves to every organ and tissue in the body. The nerves that start in our neck go down our arms. The nerves that start in our mid back go to our heart, lungs and stomach. The nerves in our lower back go to our intestines and down our legs. For this reason, the nervous system is responsible for the proper functioning of the body. Therefore a healthy nervous system is imperative to a healthy body.
Then how to we keep our nervous system healthy? By making sure our spine is properly aligned. A misaligned spine can put pressure on a spinal nerve, which can cause other areas of the body to not function as they should. Although most people think that pressure on a nerve will cause pain, less than ten percent of our nerve fibers have to do with pain. The vast majority of nerves tell our bodies what to do. If a spinal misalignment is putting pressure on a nerve, the messages that that nerve is transmitting can be affected. This can lead to a number of problems throughout the body, that chiropractic care may be able to correct.
In my years in practice, I’ve seen a number of conditions improve through chiropractic care. Often times, a patient doesn’t tell me that they have an issue other than neck or back pain, but after beginning treatment, they ask, “Doc, I’ve noticed that this has improved, is it possible that your adjustments are helping?” The rest of this post will detail some of the conditions that I commonly see respond well to chiropractic care.
Probably the most common non-musculoskeletal condition that I see respond well to chiropractic care is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), more commonly known as acid reflux. GERD is an extremely common condition that occurs when acid from the stomach begins to flow into the esophagus. GERD commonly causes a burning sensation in the chest, usually referred to as heartburn.
The spinal nerves originating in the thoracic spine, or mid back, specifically T6-T10, send messages from the brain to the stomach. If there is a misalignment of one or more of these vertebrae, it can cause conditions like acid reflux. Poor posture can commonly cause misalignments in this area. If a chiropractor finds a misalignment from T6-T10, this area can be corrected to help return proper nerve flow to the stomach. By removing nerve pressure a chiropractor can commonly help with symptoms related to acid reflux.
Asthma is another very common condition that often can be helped with chiropractic care. People who suffer from asthma have difficulty breathing due to inflamed airways that swell, become narrow and produce excess mucus. Those with asthma might also experience chest pain, coughing or wheezing. These symptoms usually come in waves, that can be induced by exercise, known as asthma attacks.
Spinal nerves originating from T2-T4 in the upper back send messages to the lungs. Misalignment of these vertebrae can cause nerve pressure that results in symptoms like asthma. These misalignments can also put pressure on the muscles of the rib cage, making it even harder to breathe. By properly aligning these vertebra, chiropractors are often able to help those that suffer from asthma.
One of our doctors at our Galleria location, Dr Bryen Brown, suffered from asthma throughout his childhood and teenage years. This often hampered his performance when running track or playing football. While in chiropractic school, Dr Brown received his first adjustment, and has not had an asthma attack since!
I can hear it now, “Wait, are you saying you adjust babies?!?” Absolutely. If you are unfamiliar with my story you can read more about it here, but I was adjusted for the first time when I was six weeks old. Now, we do not adjust babies the same way that we adjust adults, it is a very gentle technique with newborns, but yes, even newborns can be adjusted.
If you ever had or been around a colicy baby, you need no introduction. Colic is a condition in newborns that causes them to experience severe pain and cry uncontrollably. Although there is not an exact known cause for colic, it is generally thought that the child is not digesting food properly, which results in stomach or intestinal pain. This can cause babies to cry non-stop for hours or even days, which can cause an enormous amount of stress on the parents as well.
Chiropractic care has been shown to be effective in treating infantile colic. By finding misaligned vertebrae that send messages to the digestive system, chiropractors are able to help restore normal function to the stomach and intestines, leading to less pain for the infant, and relief to parents as well.
But why would a baby need chiropractic care? How could they get spinal misalignments? Infants have been stuck in the fetal position without much room to move around for nine months before birth. And then the birthing process can be extremely traumatic as they are pushed and pulled from their mother. All of this can cause small misalignments of the spine, which can lead to a number of problems. For this reason, at CORE Chiropractic we check all newborns at no charge, to ensure that they get as healthy of a start to life as possible.
This is just a small list of conditions that chiropractors may be able to help with, as you can see, chiropractic can help with a lot more than just back pain. Of course, I am not claiming that chiropractic is a cure for every disease, but if you have spinal misalignments, it can because a number of different problems. If you have started to notice that your body just doesn’t seem to be functioning properly, if might be time to give chiropractic care a try.