The spine flu?
Most people today haven’t associated their spinal health with fighting a cold or flu, and yet, in the flu epidemics of 1917/18, people actually looked to chiropractic care for answers. In fact, the survival rates of patients under chiropractic care were markedly better (40 times better) than those under medical care! This isn’t hyperbole – facts and references follow.
During this time an estimated 500 million people were infected worldwide, and of those between 20-50 million died from the disease. People seeking flu treatment in those dangerous times recovered best when they were taken care of by chiropractors1,2,3. In fact, chiropractic licenses were first granted in many US states on the basis of these successes1. We proved ourselves not through musculo-skeletal aches and pain, but through the flu.
Nearly a century later, research has revealed how the immune system is under the control of your nervous system, and how the nervous system is influenced by the spine1,4. If the nervous system is able to function at its best, the systems it controls (like the immune system) can function at their best. We fight ALL disease from the inside. When the immune system can function at its best, we fare better when facing disease.
How does this relate to the spine?
Chiropractic influences the immune system – spinal mechanics are hugely important to this. The spinal cord – the central “pillar” of the nervous system – runs through the vertebrae of the spine and relays all information from the body to the brain and all information from the brain to the body. Slight changes in the motion, position, and muscle tone at each spinal level change the signals and function of the nervous system – not just at that part of the spine, but throughout your entire body and brain.
A dysfunctional spine contributes to a dysfunctional nervous system, which logically contributes to a dysfunctional immune system that can’t do its best job. A healthy spine supports a healthy nervous system, which in turn supports a healthy immune system that can do its best job. If you want to learn more, check out this video for some juicy science.
It’s not just the flu!
Personally, one of the things that got me to finally consider chiropractic care as part of my own healing was the fact that my Dad was treated by a chiropractor for polio (again, check out this 5 minute video on the science of how common that was back then and how effective it was1). I figured if it helped my Dad come through that disease without post-polio syndrome, it might be worth a shot for what I was going through… and it went so well that I decided to become a chiropractor myself!
These are not what people commonly think of when they think of chiropractic results, and it is understandable. When people don’t know how the immune system relates to the nervous system, and how in turn the function of the nervous system relates to the spine, the above examples of the flu and polio wouldn’t make any sense. Most often people think of chiropractic as a means to decrease pain, reduce tension, and increase spinal movement… and sometimes, that IS what a person needs. That’s why there are “conventional” or “traditional chiropractors” who focus on that.
However, many simply do not KNOW that there are NeuroSpinal chiropractors like myself and my peers, and so when they hear about the results from our office, very often they seem surprised. “You mean a NeuroSpinal chiropractor can help with THAT? I never knew!”