Chiropractic Care

The Role of Chiropractic in Immunity

Chiropractic care emphasizes the link between the nervous system and overall health. Research shows spinal adjustments can enhance both nervous and immune system functions.

The body has the ability to heal itself and chiropractic theory says that when the nervous system is free from obstruction the body can respond more effectively resulting in improved overall health.

Chiropractic is about removing obstructions to the proper functioning of the nervous system, improving connections and the flow of
information. These obstructions are caused by shifts in the bones (vertebra) that make up the spine and these shifts obstruct the nervous system and create an obstruction and a disconnect. Because the nervous system controls and coordinates all functions in the body, obstructing or disconnecting it can have an effect on every function of the body – and it often does.

These obstructions are referred to as vertebral subluxations in the scientific Literature and adjusting them is how chiropractic removes those obstructions and helps people stay connected and healthy.

A person’s body repairs damage, fights or prevents infection and destroys cancer cells through the activity of the immune system. For a number of years researchers and neuro-immunologists have described the immune system as a continuation of the nervous system and stated that immune cells are simply a circulating nervous system. These claims have been made based on the fact that the nervous system plays such a crucial role in alerting and guiding immune system cells to where damage or an infection is located. The nervous system is also responsible for localizing the immune response to the specific site of damage or infection. Localization of immune activity prevents a systemic or a greater immune response than the body needs. When this doesn’t happen people get what are called autoimmune diseases – where the body essentially attacks itself. Although scientists have known about the nervous system’s role in regulating the immune system for years, this concept has finally come to the forefront of scientific research.

Recently the focus of science has shifted from viewing the nervous and immune systems as separate entities to recognizing that the brain utilizes specific paths to the immune system for the purposes of guiding and controlling the immune response. There is a two way communication between the nervous system and immune system with Neuromodulators, chemical messengers of the nervous system, being released by nerves to guide immune function. The immune system communicates what’s happening back to the nervous system by white blood cells’ secreting chemical messengers called cytokines, a type of neuropeptide — which are chemicals released by cells to communicate with the nervous system.

When the immune system is activated, immune cells also send out an array of specific chemicals, called immunomodulators, to influence the function of the nervous system. These immunomodulators reach specific target areas in the brain, where they start various recuperative (rebuilding) and protective behaviors such as shivering, sleepiness and an increased propensity to fight attackers. This is why when people take a couple of aspirin or acetaminophen for pain and fever they may end up battling the sickness even longer because they are stopping these productive processes so they can feel better. Studies suggest that anti-fever therapy prolongs illness by stopping the body from inducing its natural defenses. These chemical pathways of communication are only a few of the many routes of communication that ilie nervous system and the immune system use to keep us healthy.

The Role of the Chiropractic Adjustment

Obstruction of the nervous system can cause immune system dysfunction and the science of chiropractic says that by removing the nervous system obstruction spinal adjustments can help correct immune system dysfunction. Structural shifts and poor movement in the spine can adversely affect the immune response by causing the body to incorrectly activate a stress response, which slows the ability of the immune system to react. Subluxations are obstructions in the nervous system caused by structural shifts in the spinal vertebra which can cause increased or decreased activity of the nervous system. An obstruction in the nervous system can affect the body in two different ways. One reaction the nervous system can have is to become hyperactive–the nervous system may bombard the body with excessive chemical messages that cause abnormal changes in growth and activity. When the nervous system is hyperactive over long periods of time it will tend to produce the development of abnormal conditions and disease processes in the organs or tissues to which it supplies information.

The nervous system and the immune system have so many connections that they could correctly be referred to as a single system. The nervous system senses damage, infectious agents and foreign bodies with the help of chemical releasing immune cells and deals with these problems by deploying different types of immune cells to carry out specific procedures. Obstructions in the nervous system
(subluxations) diminish the ability of an individual to sense and repair damage and combat infection, cancer etc. directly, resulting in diminished health. Research continues to accumulate which supports the relationship between vertebral subluxation, chiropractic adjustments and improved nervous and immune system function.

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