We don’t normally think of chiropractic care and inflammation in the same sentence, but did you know that chiropractic care can help treat chronic inflammation? In many cases, inflammation is beneficial. It is a natural immune system response to an injury or infection—it swoops in, recruits the immune system to do some healing, and then disappears. Think of a paper cut…it hurts and is red for about a day, and then starts feeling better. However, when inflammation is chronic (long-term), it can be a sign of disease, and it can contribute to a variety of ill health conditions.
Chronic inflammation causes a whole assortment of unwelcome chemicals to appear in the blood that contribute to a wide range of disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, gum disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, obesity and certain cancers. Inflammation is also associated with plaque formation and cardiovascular disease, including stroke.
Decreasing chronic inflammation is an important part of wellness. Here are a few ways to manage inflammation:
How can chiropractic care help manage inflammation? Evidence suggests that spinal adjustments actually do have a positive impact on the immune system. Research has linked chiropractic adjustments to the reduction of numerous inflammatory substances in the blood. In addition, spinal adjustments have been found to increase infection-fighters called immunoglobulins in the bloodstream.
There are many natural supplements that help decrease inflammation. For example, Bromelain comes from the pineapple stem and is effective for decreasing swelling related to surgery or injury. Curcumin, which comes from Turmeric, is a great anti-inflammatory and works well for achy joint and muscle pain in addition to being a decongestant. Vitamin C works to decrease inflammation by getting rid of free radicals (unstable particles in the body that can cause damage to cells) that cause inflammation.
Chiropractors may recommend other natural and/or herbal supplements that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Not all supplements are created equal, and it is always a good idea to chat with us before adding any supplement to your treatment program.
Following an anti-inflammatory lifestyle can go a long way in keeping inflammation levels in the body down. Avoiding sugars and processed carbohydrates and adding healthy fats such as salmon, avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil and coconut oil into your diet is a great way to decrease inflammation. There is also evidence that reducing stress and getting enough sleep are important for bringing inflammation down, since both stress and sleep can impact your immune system.
Adding exercise can also help decrease inflammation. A 2017 study from the University of California, San Diego, determined that just 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day is enough to reduce inflammation and create an anti-inflammatory effect.
Given the health risks associated with chronic inflammation, it’s helpful to know that chiropractic care is not just for treating back pain. Along with lifestyle changes on our part, chiropractic care may actually help maintain our health through inflammation management.