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Holistic health benefits of chiropractic care

Posted by Alyssa Malmquist on October 12, 2022
Alyssa Malmquist
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When people hear chiropractic care, many think of alleviating pressure in the back with a distinctive series of cracks. While spinal manipulation in that way is part of this type of care, it's far from the only benefit.

This complementary medicine has been increasing in popularity — in fact, one estimate notes that projected job growth for chiropractors is twice as high as the average for nearly all other U.S. occupations—in large part because it isn't just occasional back cracking to release tension in the spinal joints. Here's what the research says on this treatment's wider array of benefits.

Pain relief

One of the most notable aspects of chiropractic care is its ability to help alleviate pain, which is particularly important in light of the concerns around opioid use.

A research review in the International Journal of Community Based Nursing and Midwifery found chiropractic care showed improvement for neck and shoulder pain, as well as sports injuries.

Another review of previous studies, published in the Journal of Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, noted that chiropractic has been shown to be an effective care option for low back pain, which is considered a significant global public health concern and a leading cause of disability worldwide.

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Headaches are another global issue that can wreak havoc with quality of life, and chiropractic care can help with those as well, according to Cleveland Clinic. Not all types of headaches are connected to spinal alignment or musculoskeletal problems, but for those that are, adjustments can be useful to bring down pain and discomfort levels. Cleveland Clinic adds that chiropractic care can also help treat neck or spine injuries like whiplash.

Improved posture

When you're in better alignment, your posture tends to improve overall. Not only does this help you stand taller, but it can have a major effect on your health.

Poor posture places increased strain on muscles, ligaments, discs, and joints, and Cleveland Clinic notes that this can lead to neck, shoulder, and back stiffness and pain. Also, your immune system's efforts to repair those muscles tends to prompt inflammation that can become chronic. When that happens, it may lead to arthritis in joints near the affected muscles.

Posture difficulties could also have some surprising and seemingly unrelated effects, according to Harvard Health, including breathing difficulties, poor balance, bad mood, disrupted sleep, low energy level, and improper jaw alignment. Harvard Health experts add that a slouched posture can affect digestion as well, potentially leading to heartburn and constipation.

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Deeper sleep

With less pain, it's easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics on 154 patients with sleeping difficulties found one third of the participants reported better sleep immediately after their chiropractic adjustment. All but one patient noted sleep improvement within a week of chiropractic care.

The ripple effect of good sleep is profound. Mayo Clinic has called sleep the foundation for good health since it informs all our daily habits and decisions. Chronic poor sleep has been associated with an increased likelihood of developing dementia, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers.

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Next steps

As with any complementary treatment, be sure to speak with your primary care provider first to make sure there are no concerns about blending chiropractic treatment with other medical care, especially if you have a musculoskeletal condition.

Also, if you've been receiving chiropractic care for at least a few months and your issue is not being resolved, Cleveland Clinic suggests checking with your doctor to rule out other potentially serious problems that may need other treatment.

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Disclaimer: The content in this blog post represents the clinical opinions of the providers at AllWays Health Partners and is based on the most currently available clinical and governmental guidance.

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