Imagine you’re carrying some boxes down the stairs when you trip and fall on the last step. After picking yourself back up, you notice that your right ankle hurts, you look down and see that it’s completely swollen and red. You hobble to the freezer and grab an ice pack then sit down on the couch to rest.
The ice feels good against your injured ankle but it still takes several days for the pain and swelling to go away. After a week or two, you’re able to use your ankle like normal. This is the process of inflammation reacting to a traumatic injury to your ankle.
Many people are familiar with inflammation. It causes your body to swell and eventually it goes away, right? But inflammation is so much more than that! It actually plays an incredible role in protecting you and helping your body to heal.
There are four cardinal components to inflammation:
All of these things play a critical role in your body and work together to restore the body’s natural function. Inflammation doesn’t just occur after an injury; it can also be the body’s response to an allergic reaction, disease, or a pathogen. This is because inflammation is the body’s nonspecific defense mechanism. The body can automatically start protecting itself no matter what the problem is.
But how does inflammation protect the body? Inflammation is responsible for bringing more blood to the area so that it can heal. It does this by bringing platelets to the injury through a process called homeostasis.
The body then creates swelling called edema to create space for phagocytic cells and proteins so they can repair the damaged tissues. The phagocytic white blood cells will attack any germs or bacteria that got in so there’s no risk of infection.
While we don’t want the inflammation to get out of control, this beautiful defense mechanism protects you from further injury by immobilizing the joint and bringing in healing cells.
Inflammation is a good indicator that something is wrong. If we didn’t have that discomfort, we wouldn’t be aware that our body is injured and needs to be protected. We could keep going about our normal day and make the injury even worse.
How Chiropractic Makes a Difference
Inflammation is an important part of chiropractic treatment. When a nerve root is being compressed or there is dysfunction in the spine, the body will try to heal it by causing inflammation to occur.
When I palpate and assess the body, I can find these inflamed areas and see where there is restriction and a lack of mobility that could be causing this response.
Chronic inflammation can also occur because the body would rather try to protect the area rather than leave it and make the injury worse.
When chiropractors find and adjust the mechanical cause of the inflammation, the body no longer needs to protect the area and the inflammation goes away. There’s also the aspect of improving the nervous system function, so that the body can be in a parasympathetic healing state.
Both of these are so helpful when dealing with either acute or chronic inflammation.
That’s why chiropractic doesn’t “heal” the inflammation. It deals with the main cause of the problem, not just the symptoms.
Studies on Inflammation and Chiropractic
When inflammation occurs, there are certain biomarkers that occur called IL-6 and CRP. One study took a group of patients and looked at these bio-markers before and after patients got chiropractic treatments. They found that after lower back adjustments to an area with inflammation these biomarkers which work to create inflammation came down to a normal level.
One of the great things about chiropractic care is that it isn’t just for inflammation. A study in 2020 found that, “While adjustments reduce pain and inflammation, they also improve immune-regulatory function.”
This is just part of the whole body effect of a healthy working nervous system. Chiropractic can be a great option when looking for a safe, all-natural way to care for inflammation and your nervous system!
Ready to have your nervous system function checked? Call 416-967-4466 for an appointment at our midtown Toronto office, or schedule online here: https://bookedin.com/book/annex-family-chiropractic
Here’s what our own patients say…
“Dr Gelber and Grace are both fantastic. I started my healing journey with them over a month ago when I received a voucher from an existing patient for an initial health assessment. My friend and her family have been going here for many years, and she raved about it.
I just received my one-month treatment scan update, and can both see and feel the difference. My sleep is better, my headaches have been reduced, and my range of motion is improved. I am also a lot more mindful of my posture and this has made a difference.
Dr Gelber is incredibly realistic and upfront about what you can expect, what is expected of you, and how the whole process works. It is an investment in your long-term health, but it’s definitely worth it. If you are nervous at all about chiropractic care, give it a chance and come in with an open mind.” -Dayna
You may also enjoy reading: How is Chiropractic Different from Osteopathy and Physiotherapy?
- Spinal manipulation reduces pain and hyperalgesia after lumbar intervertebral foramen inflammation in the rat
- Inflammatory response following a short-term course of chiropractic treatment in subjects with and without chronic low back pain
- A Scoping Review of Chiropractic, Vertebral Subluxation and Immune Function with Implications for Development of a Protocol for Measurement of Immune Biomarkers in Chiropractic Research & the Development of Related Policy