How Does Chiropractic Promote Overall Wellness?

Chiropractors know that adjustments are good for your general health. Millions of satisfied patients cannot be wrong. But what do chiropractors know that the rest of us do not?

They know the nervous system is the one system in the body that directly affects every other system. This is because nerves conduct sensory information from every part of the body and then delivers this information to the brain. Once there, the brain analyzes the information to determine what the body needs to maintain a healthy state. So the health of this system is paramount to the good health of the rest of the body.

Chiropractors recognize that misalignment in the spine can interfere with proper nervous system function. More specifically, chiropractors study the effects of vertebral subluxations conditions of the spine where alignment and/or movement patterns of the vertebrae are abnormal. When this occurs, imbalances cause irritation and inflammation. In turn this can cause interference with information that is transmitted along nerves and spinal cord. Chiropractors are the only health care professionals specifically trained to locate and correct spinal subluxations.

This is the principal reason why chiropractors should be called wellness doctors. Every time a chiropractor corrects a vertebral subluxation, the positive effects are felt in multiple systems simultaneously.

Where’s the Proof?

For decades, scientific research has focused on the use of chiropractic adjustments for low back pain, neck pain and headaches.1-3 In fact, there is now clear evidence to recommend chiropractors as the go-to professionals for spinal pain syndromes. However, with the rising popularity of wellness- based philosophies focused on non-traditional approaches to health, chiropractors are being asked to justify their role.

The traditional medical model of symptom-based healthcare is rapidly waning. We no longer feel we have to be sick to call upon a health professional for advice. Instead, we are focusing more on the detrimental effects stress has on our bodies, and the therapies that address the mind-body connection are getting much more attention.

In a recent report from the Center for Disease Control, the four most popular forms of alternative and complementary medicine were listed as: natural products, deep breathing, meditation and chiropractic!

People are casting their votes with their healthcare dollars and chiropractors are taking a leadership role in this new wellness model. As a profession whose core philosophy is about the optimization of the brain- body communication network, chiropractic can be viewed as a therapy with an emphasis on whole body health and wellness

Research is catching up to what chiropractors have known for years. In a recent study that reviewed all the available research to date, investigators found that “chiropractic adjustments, often for the purpose of correcting vertebral subluxation, confer measurable health benefits to people regard- less of the presence or absence of symptoms.”5 More people are seeking what chiropractic offers: optimization of health and an improved quality of life, with a spine free of vertebral subluxations!

In a multi-nation study involving hundreds of chiropractors and thou- sands of chiropractic patients, researchers sought to measure the incidence of non-musculoskeletal responses to chiropractic therapy. What they found was that a number of patients experienced systemic benefits from their chiropractic treatments whether or not they mentioned any symptoms in these areas at the onset of care. The most common benefits reported in this study were breathing (27%), digestion (26%) and circulation (21%).6

In yet another ground-breaking study, chiropractic adjustments were shown to actually decrease blood pressure, one of the leading causes for preventable death in North America (in relation to the incidence of heart-attacks and strokes). The study stood up to medical scrutiny and showed unequivocally that vertebral subluxations – of the upper cervical vertebra in this case – can be detrimental to the health of the individual, and not just a pain in the neck.7

From these research results, chiropractors clearly have a greater role in your health and wellness than just treating sore backs. Chiropractic care should be considered an invaluable tool for you to not only help you feel well, but to also help you be well.

References and sources:

1. Dagenais S, Gay RE, Tricco AC, Freeman MD & Mayer JM. NASS Contemporary Concepts in Spine Care: Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Acute Low Back Pain. Spine Journal 2010 (Oct.); 10(10): 918-940.

2. Bronfort G, Assendelft WJJ, Evans R, Haas M & Bouter L. Efficacy of Spinal Manipulation for Chronic Headache: A Systematic Review. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2001 (Sept.); 24(7): 457-466

3. Thiel HW & Bolton JE. Predic- tors For Immediate and Global Responses to Chiropractic Manipulation of the Cervical Spine. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2008 (Mar.); 31(3): 172-183.

4. Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin R. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007. CDC National Health Statistics Report #12. December 10, 2008.

5. Hannon SM. Objective Physiologic Changes and Associated Health Benefits of Chiro- practic Adjustments in Asymptom- atic Subjects: A Review of the Literature. J Vertebral Subluxation Research 2004 (Apr.): 1-9.

6. Leboeuf-Yde C, Pedersen EN, Bryner P, Cosman D, Hayek R, Meeker WC, Shaik J, Terrazas O, Tucker J & Walsh M. Self-reported Nonmusculoskeletal Responses to Chiropractic Intervention: A Multi- nation Survey. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2005 (Jun.); 28(5): 294-302.

7. Bakris G, Dickholtz M, Meyer PM, Kravitz G, Avery E, Miller M, Brown J, Woodfield C & Bell B. Atlas Vertebra Realignment and Achievement of Arterial Pressure Goal in Hypertensive Patients: A Pilot Study. Journal of Human Hypertension 2007 (May); 21(5): 347-352.

How Chiropractic Treatments Work

Most of the benefits associated with chiropractic care are due to patients receiving specific chiropractic adjustments. Chiropractic adjustments work by helping to place your body in the proper position that then allows the body to heal itself. Safety is paramount. Indeed, as a holistic and alternative treatment approach, chiropractic adjustments can reduce stress placed on someone’s immune system, freeing up energy to be used towards disease prevention and maintaining homeostasis. Chiropractic care aims to address the whole body, enhancing patients’ ability to think, move and perform.

  • Chiropractors pride themselves on taking a natural, drugless approach to helping their patients reach their health goals. Essentially, the basic principle upon which the entire profession is built is that the body has the amazing, innate ability to heal itself (under the right conditions); it is the chiropractor’s job to help create an environment that facilitate this inner-healing process and where safety is assured.
  • Because the nervous system controls every cell and organ in your body, chiropractors focus their attention on the health of the spine being properly aligned. If the spine shifts out of its proper place, then adjustments are used to help bring the spine back into alignment.
  • At the core of numerous chiropractic miracle stories is a concept known as “vertebral subluxation.” When chiropractors use this phrase, they refer to mechanical compression and irritation to spinal joints and nerves.

Case in point: the very first chiropractic patient in history was named William Harvey Lillard, who experienced difficulty hearing due to compression of the nerves leading to his ears. He was treated by “the founder of chiropractic care,” David. D. Palmer, who gave Lillard spinal adjustments in order to reduce destructive nerve compressions and restore his hearing. After doing extensive research about physiology, Palmer believed that Lillard’s hearing loss was due to a misalignment that blocked the spinal nerves that controlled the inner ear (an example of vertebral subluxation). Palmer went on to successfully treat other patients and eventually trained other practitioners how to do the same. The first college of chiropractic was founded in 1897 and named after Palmer, called the Palmer Chiropractic School & Cure.

Lillard is just one example of a patient who was able to overcome a serious problem in part by receiving targeted chiropractic adjustments. For someone else, it could be that sciatica (nerve pain down the back of their legs) is compromising their quality of life, or for another person, gastrointestinal discomfort. When you consider how most cells and organs in your body are controlled by nerves traveling through your spinal canal, it’s mind-blowing to consider how vast the positive outcomes of realigning these nerves can be.

Complementary treatments to chiropractic include Spinal Decompression Therapy, which involves stretching the spine, using a traction table or similar motorized device, in order to relieve back pain and/or leg pain. Deep tissue massage therapyacupuncture and physical therapy are considered other common complementary therapies.

Chiropractic Care After A Car Accident

When it comes to car accidents, paramedics are often the first health care professionals who attend to your needs. Their job is to assess whether you should be rushed to the hospital for immediate medical treatment or deal with any life-threatening injuries right on the scene. Fractures, concus­sions, lacerations and other potential internal injuries will necessitate your escorted trip to the hospital.

What if the paramedics tell you that you are not injured enough to go to the hospital, but you still don’t feel quite right? In this article we look at frequent problems your musculoskeletal system often encounters after a car accident.

Common Injuries

Some people encounter pain and tension right away. For others, the symptoms may get worse over time.

Whether the impact occurs from the front or the rear, your neck is usually the most vulnerable area of your body in any motor vehicle accident. Car collisions involve rapid changes in acceleration and deceleration. Your body is held relatively still by a seat belt, whereas your head and neck are free to move.

This typically results in the neck moving very rapidly through an excessive range of motion, contributing to hyperflexion-hyperextension injuries that can affect soft tissues in the neck, as well as joint capsules and interverte­bral discs. Whiplash is the name often associated with car accident neck injuries.

Symptoms from whiplash may include any or all of the following:

Neck pain and inflammation, Arm pain, numbness or tingling, Headaches, Nausea, Dizziness, lack of concentration or clarity of thought, depression, anxiety, TMJ or jaw pain, mid or lower back pain even spinal disc symptoms.

Depending upon the degree of injury, your recommended course of action will differ. To determine what you should do, first consult with your chiropractor. Chiropractors are musculoskeletal specialists. They have the know-how to assess and treat almost any problem related to the nerves, muscles, joints and connective tissues of the spine.

Your chiropractor will conduct a physical assessment of you and determine the best course of action.

In some cases, early mobilization can lead to a much speedier recovery. If instability of the joints and tissues is suspected, your chiropractor may suggest avoiding movement too soon.

Most of the time it will feel best to remain immobile for the first 48-72 hours immediately following an automobile accident.  Your body will respond to any injury with an inflam­matory reaction. This makes the damaged area both swollen and pain sensitive. Attempted movements during this time will usually cause more pain. Muscles around the injured area tend to spasm – effectively splinting the area and preventing further damage. Muscle spasm can also cause greater compres­sion and/or irritation of the joints, leading to more pain.

This pain-spasm-pain cycle should be prevented as much as possible, especially early in the recovery process following a motor vehicle accident. Cooling the immediate area of injury with ice for 5-10 minutes at a time may help limit the painful effects of inflammation. In addition, resting or lying down during the first few days will ease the postural strain felt around the neck and shoulders, and help promote healing.

After this initial inflammatory stage, a patient is recommended to resume normal movements as soon as possible – within a reasonable range and within the patient’s pain tolerance. If immobility is prolonged, muscle atrophy and weakness can make recovery and rehabilitation from a whiplash injury more difficult.

If movement is not encouraged, muscle spasm can often persist, causing an increased compressive load on the discs and joints of the neck, potentially leading to chronic problems.

Vertebral subluxations in the neck and upper back are commonly found in those who experience car accidents. Therefore, at any stage of healing and recovery from whiplash-associated injuries, chiropractic adjustments can reduce pain and restore normal func­tion.

Car accidents may be a pain in the neck, but chiropractic can help!

References and sources:

1. Management of whiplash associated disorders– Sacramento (CA): International Chiropractors Association of California; 2009. 55 p.

Chiropractic beats medication for neck pain!

For Neck Pain,Chiropractic and Exercise Are Better Than Drugs

Seeing a chiropractor or engaging in light exercise relieves neck pain more effectively than relying on pain medication, new research shows.

The new study is one of the few head-to-head comparisons of various treatments for neck pain, a problem that affects three quarters of Americans at some point in their lives but has no proven, first-line treatment. While many people seek out spinal manipulation by chiropractors, the evidence supporting its usefulness has been limited at best.

But the new research, published in TheAnnals of Internal Medicine, found that chiropractic care or simple exercises done at home were better at reducing pain than taking medications like aspirin, ibuprofen or narcotics.

“These changes were diminished over time, but they were still present,” said Dr. Gert Bronfort, an author of the study and research professor at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minnesota. “Even a year later, there were differences between the spinal manipulation and medication groups.”

Moderate and acute neck pain is one of the most frequent reasons for trips to primary care doctors, prompting millions of visits every year. For patients, it can be a difficult problem to navigate. In some cases the pain and stiffness crop up without explanation, and treatment options are varied. Physical therapy, pain medication and spinal manipulation are popular options, but Dr. Bronfort was inspired to carry out an analysis because so little research exists.

“There was a void in the scientific literature in terms of what the most helpful treatments are,” he said.

To find out, Dr. Bronfort and his colleagues recruited a large group of adults with neck pain that had no known specific cause. The subjects, 272 in all, were mostly recruited from a large HMO and through advertisements. The researchers then split them into three groups and followed them for about three months.

One group was assigned to visit a chiropractor for roughly 20-minute sessions throughout the course of the study, making an average of 15 visits. A second group was assigned to take common pain relievers like acetaminophen and- in some cases, at the discretion of a doctor – stronger drugs like narcotics and muscle relaxants. The third group met on two occasions with physical therapists who gave them instructions on simple, gentle exercises for the neck that they could do at home. They were encouraged to do 5 to 10 repetitions of each exercise up to eight times a day.

After 12 weeks, the people in the non-medication groups did significantly better than those taking the drugs. About 57 percent of those who met with chiropractors and 48 percent who did the exercises reported at least a 75percent reduction in pain, compared to 33 percent of the people in the medication group.

A year later, when the researchers checked back in, 53 percent of the subjects who had received spinal manipulation still reported at least a 75 percent reduction in pain, similar to the exercise group. That compared to just a 38percent pain reduction among those who had been taking medication.

Dr. Bronfort said it was a “big surprise” to see that the home exercises were about as effective as the chiropractic sessions. “We hadn’t expected that they would be that close,” he said. “But I guess that’s good news for patients.”

In addition to their limited pain relief, the medications had at least one other downside: people kept taking them. “The people in the medication group kept on using a higher amount of medication more frequently throughout the follow-up period, up to a year later,” Dr. Bronfort said. “If you’re taking medication over a long time, then we’re running into more systemic side effects like gastrointestinal problems.”

He also expressed concern that those on medications were not as empowered or active in their own care as those in the other groups. “We think it’s important that patients are enabled to deal with as much control over their own condition as possible,” he said. “This study shows that they can play a large role in their own care.”

Can Chiropractic Improve Your Game?

Athletes place a high physical demand on their bodies. They ask the body to work like a finely tuned, well-oiled machine. The rigorous training and competition schedules leave little time for injuries. Perhaps this is why almost every professional team in sports has a chiropractor looking after its athletes. As an example, 95% of NFL teams will employ chiropractors regularly to treat their players.1

Professional sport involves a combi­nation of: coordination, balance, strength and flexibility. To reach the pinnacle of achievement in any sport, requires split-second reflexes, peak structural strength and stability and a will and determination to keep going when the going gets really, really tough. It requires a body that is functioning at its highest capacity.

How Does This Relate to Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a healing art that focuses its attention on the function of the spine, and the precious nerve tissue (the spinal cord) that is encased in it. When it is aligned properly, the spine’s hard bony shell protects the spinal cord from damage, while its 26 separate moving parts (the vertebrae) provide a perfect combination of stability and flexibility to allow for a myriad of functional movements.

When even a single vertebra is out of place (a subluxation), the effects are not only painful, but can also result in diminished function of the nervous system, which is required to coordinate the rest of the musculoskeletal system. When the nervous system is even a little off target, the results can be quite dramatic.

If the subluxation is in an area that affects the function of the shoulder, the milliseconds difference in muscle-firing patterns can mean the difference, for a baseball pitcher, between a well-placed, high-speed strike and an off-target ball in the dirt.

If the subluxation involves the lower back, and this athlete is a professional golfer, the difference in core stability can mean a loss of several yards off the tee, leaving a much more difficult approach shot to the green.

And, if the subluxation affects the pelvis or legs of a world-class sprinter, this slight difference can be all it takes to turn a gold medal into a 5th-place finish.

Backed by Research

One study, appearing in The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation, reported that athletes who received chiropractic care exhibited up to a 30% increase in athletic ability after 12 weeks of treatments.  Areas tested included skills such as kinesthetic perception, power, reaction time, agility and balance. Improvements were significantly different than those who did not receive chiropractic treatments during the same period.2

In another recent article, an elite race-walker under chiropractic care received chiropractic adjustments to his spine and knee joints over a period of 6 weeks, and he subsequently broke his own personal best times recorded for three separate distances, even when those best times were already national and state records!3

It not only improves performance, but chiropractic also keeps athletes in the game. In a ground-breaking research article, researchers found that by combining chiropractic care with standard medical and physiotherapy approaches, the incidence of injuries in an Australian football team was significantly reduced. This was specifi­cally related to primary lower limb muscle strains and weeks missed due to non-contact knee injuries. It also indicated a trend toward lower limb injury prevention with the addition of sports chiropractic intervention.4

References and sources:
1. Baron, SH. A look at the role of chiropractors in the NFL – Chiroprac­tic Economics 2005. Issue 14. Source – issue14/SP1.php

2. Lauro A. Mouch B. Chiropractic effects on athletic ability – The Journal of Chiropractic Research and Clinical Investigation (1991); 6: 84-87 

3.  Jarosz BS & Ellis WB. The Effect on a Racewalker’s Sports Performance with Chiropractic Treatment : A Case Report – Chiropr J Aust 2010; 40: 117-19.

4. Hoskins W, Pollard H. The effect of a sports chiropractic manual therapy intervention on the prevention of back pain, hamstring and lower limb injuries in semi-elite Australian Rules footballers: a randomized controlled trial – BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2010 Apr 8;11:64


Many professional athletes have gone on record, attributing their great performances to chiropractic care, which they usually have just before their competitions. This is what some of these athletes had to say about chiropractic:

“Lifting weights and seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis has made me a better golfer. I’ve been going to chiropractors as long as I can remember. It’s as important to my training as practicing my swing.”

– Tiger Woods (professional golfer, world ranked #1 for a record 623 weeks)

“I did a lot of things to stay in the game, but regular visits to my chiro­practor were among the most important.”

– Jerry Rice (13-time ProBowl NFL football player, and SuperBowl XXIII MVP)

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from chiropractic care. But if chiropractic adjustments can help these elite athletes stay at the top of their game, imagine what it could do for people like you and me!

Benefits of Regular Chiropractic Care

The human spine, or spinal column, is an amazing structure. It protects the spinal cord, absorbs shock, provides support to your head and body, and allows your body to move flexibly.  It is composed of bones called vertebrae through which nerves pass and branch out to the rest of the body. When one of these vertebrae become misaligned, called a “subluxation”, pressure is placed on the nerves causing irritation and pain. Chiropractors are able to relieve this pressure through spinal adjustments and manipulation, thereby alleviating discomfort.

Although the spine is widely considered one of the most vital parts of the human body, most people don’t see a chiropractor for the first time until they are in their 40s. That means the typical chiropractic patient’s body (and spine) goes through 40 years of stress, poor posture, and misalignment before any preventative measure is taken. Think about that for a minute: What would your mouth look like if you waited 40 years to see a dentist?

What’s worse is the typical motivation for chiropractic visits. Many first-time patients seeking chiropractic care do so as a remedy for some type of back pain. Consider how efficiently your vehicle would run if you waited until you heard a knocking noise coming from the engine before changing the oil. Just like your vehicle, your body undergoes wear and tear and therefore requires maintenance.

Regular chiropractic care benefits the body and mind in many ways:

– Less Drugs and Hospital Visits
The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported that “patients who went to DCs as their primary care providers had 43% decreases in hospital admissions, 52% reductions in pharmaceutical costs and 43% fewer outpatient surgeries and procedures.”

– Better Sleep
Subluxations lead to a process called stress response which puts the body out of balance and do not let the body rest.
In a recent study, One third of the 154 patients who completed a semi-structured interview reported their sleep pattern was changed immediately after their chiropractic adjustment. All but 1 of these 52 patients reported improvement.

– Stronger Immune System
In 1975, Ronald Pero, Ph.D., chief of cancer prevention research at New York’s Preventive Medicine Institute and professor in Environmental Health at New York University, began researching the most scientifically valid ways to estimate individual susceptibility to various chronic diseases.
Pero’s team measured 107 individuals who had received long-term Chiropractic care. The chiropractic patients were shown to have a 200% greater immune competence than people who had not received chiropractic care, and a 400% greater immune competence than people with cancer or serious diseases.

– Less Pain and Headaches
In a classic study of patients with migraine headaches, a total average of 81% of females and 62% of males with two types of migraines reported that their headaches either improved or ceased altogether after chiropractic care. That’s an overall average improvement of 71%.
Researchers have also reviewed 9 studies that tested chiropractic for tension or migraine headaches and found that it worked as well as medications in preventing these headaches.

Your body is a machine that requires maintenance, and the spine is a vital part of the body. Hippocrates has been quoted saying, “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.” Whereas many doctors simply treat symptoms, a quality chiropractor will take a natural, non-invasive approach to promoting overall health and wellness and preventing sickness and pain.

Migraine Miracle

Are you suffering from Migraine Headaches in Fairbanks?

Sometimes it is very frustrating to be a Chiropractor. With full intention, our philosophy is often in complete disagreement with conventional knowledge in the medical mainstream. We have to buck the trend and attempt to re-educate patients about the true causes of lack of health.  The effort for us is enormous, but the results are often life-changing for patients.

Here is a typical example:

I see patients that have fought with headaches for years. In one dramatic case, a patient had migraine headaches 2-3 times/wk for over 30 years! During this time she had seen various doctors and all had prescribed painkilling drugs, blood pressure medications, and even anti-depressants. Sometimes these drugs would offer short-term relief, but the headaches persisted and continued to destroy her quality of life. On our first visit she told me that her ability to be a mom and a grandma was very limited and that was what bothered her the worst. She also told me that she knew the drugs were only a temporary fix, but she just didn’t know what else to do. To make matters worse, the long-term medication use was also causing her to have digestive problems and various other health issues.

Looking at this case from a Chiropractic perspective was very frustrating indeed. For years this patient had been chasing symptoms with her doctors, but not one of the doctors ever stopped to ask what was actually causing the headaches. This is how most modern medicine works!

Chiropractors look first to the spine as a potential cause of migraine headaches. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 85% of headaches are cervicogenic.  This simply means that most headaches come from poor function of the bones in your neck. When the bones in your neck are in poor alignment or simply do not move the way nature intended, the delicate nerves in the upper neck may become irritated, and the result is often heachaches. These headaches will often be made worse with stress, which can add even more pressure to the nerves.

In the case of my patient who had suffered from migraine headaches in Fairbanks for 30 years, Chiropractic was  the miracle she was looking for.  Upon examination, it was determined that her neck was in very poor alignment and had greatly reduced motion. Xrays revealed degenerative disc disease, the result of years of poor motion. We discussed the importance of getting her neck bones moving properly and I explained to her how the Chiropractic adjustment would help to restore normal motion and alignment. At that point, she had her very first adjustment.  Almost immediately, the patient felt an enormous release of pressure from the base of her skull and said she couldn’t believe how much better her neck was feeling!

We agreed to see her every other day for the first two weeks in order to regain some of the lost motion in her neck and then reevaluate how she was feeling. After her first week of treatment she came in with tears in her eyes. She had gone the entire week without a migraine headache for the first time in 30 years!  We  addressed the true cause of her migraines and she no longer needed to suffer from headaches.  Just as important, she no longer needed to damage herself with long-term prescription use.

If you are suffering from migraine headaches in Fairbanks, give us a call. 907-456-4234. Help is just a phone call away. Life is too short to hurt!