Chiropractic and Immunity: The Hidden Connection

Dr. Bill Booker, DC, and Dr. Denia Tapscott, MD

Dr. Beck working on a patientAsk any epidemiologist about viruses and they will tell you: You can’t avoid them.  Viruses and bacteria are all around us all the time.  The key to managing the barrage is by preparing your body to react well when it encounters them.

The spirit behind our ongoing emphasis on immunity during this era of coronavirus is to arm you with information and data that can help you better defend your body from the inevitable assault.  With that said, we need to stray from the conventional, Western medicine way of thinking.

For athletes and active people, the relationship between chiropractic and physical performance is obvious.  All injuries have three physical components that need to be addressed:

  • Joint Function
  • Muscle Function
  • Nerve Function

The power of a chiropractic adjustment to correct joint dysfunction, which affects nerve function, which affects muscle function, is very straight-forward. But the effect of chiropractic on immune response may be more vague and perhaps a bit harder to understand.

So let’s start with the basics. The nerves that travel from the brain through the spinal column as the spinal cord and become the spinal nerves don’t just control the muscles and senses. They control every function of the human body.  This is basic neurology.

Anecdotally, chiropractors and chiropractic patients have claimed the overall health benefits of chiropractic adjustments for years. But recent studies have looked deeper into the question of how chiropractic affects the immune system.  Specifically, four separate studies have been conducted looking at three groups of individuals:

  • Subjects who weren’t going to receive adjustments.
  • Subjects who were going to be adjusted with cavitation (the popping sound associated with an adjustment).
  • Subjects who were going to be adjusted without cavitation.

Blood was drawn from each group before the adjustments (or lack of), 20 minutes after the adjustments, and two hours after the adjustments.

Blood samples were measured for:

  • Pro-inflammatory substances like Interleukin 6 (IL-6) and C-Reactive Protein (CRP). These substances that increase with inflammation.
  • Production of Interleukin 2 (IL-2), a protein that regulates the immune response. IL-2 signals the body’s response to infection and helps the body discriminate which cells are normal, healthy cells and which cells are foreign and dangerous.

Here’s what they found from the blood drawn for both groups who received adjustments, whether with or without cavitation:

  • A SIGNIFICANT DECREASE in the production of IL-6 and CRP, the substances involved in increasing inflammation.
  • A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE in the production of IL-2, the substances that stimulate and regulate the body’s natural immune response.

Not too long ago, the medical and wellness community debated over the power of vitamins. Now many of these once “questionable” products are commonly sold by major drug manufacturers because their benefits are irrefutable.

Likewise, growing research and in-depth studies in several areas of health care like chiropractic offer explanations why they provide invaluable benefits. It’s only a matter of time before these studies drive non-traditional health care practices into the mainstream (if they are not there already).

We love data, but consumers of chiropractic care don’t need a report to know the outcomes. They have been reaping the health benefits for years. This is why we recommend chiropractic care as part of your continuing health program, not simply something you turn to when you have an acute injury or pain.

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