When most people think about chiropractic, they think about back pain or neck pain. Did you know that chiropractic is so much more than treating pain? A chiropractor is most concerned with the alignment of the spine and the proper movement of the body so that the nervous system can function properly. One of the many benefits of getting adjusted by a chiropractor is indeed a reduction of pain, but that is just a side effect of the spine functioning the way it is designed to! Yes, a chiropractor can get you out of pain, but that’s not what they specialize in.
What causes you to feel pain?
Pain is perceived by messages sent to your brain. The reason that we have pain signals and experience pain is to protect us from danger and let us know that something isn’t functioning correctly. Pain signals are transmitted to the brain by specialized nerve cells known as nociceptors or pain receptors. When pain receptors are stimulated by temperature, pressure, or chemicals, throughout your body, they release information within the cells that your brain perceives as pain. Since pain is just a feedback mechanism, wouldn’t it make sense to fix the function and solve the issue that is causing the pain? This is what chiropractors do. They find the source of the problem that is causing the pain and correct it, which allows the body to eliminate the pain signals over time.
Why medication isn’t a long term solution
Medication works by temporarily blocking the pain receptors. While medication might make sense for temporary relief, it does not make sense for a long-term solution. A simple analogy would be if your check engine light is on in your car and you put a piece of tape over it to hide the light. Sure, you no longer see the light, but you did nothing to actually fix the underlying problem! The issue is still there and causing the same problem it did before, but now you are simply ignoring the light or alarm system. Over time, this is going to create a much larger issue. It’s important to get to the root of the problem and solve it so that the check engine light goes off for good.
Chiropractic and the brain
Adjustments to the spine stimulate signals to the brain. These signals that are stimulated from the spine override the pain receptors, which is why the chiropractic adjustment actually works in reducing pain. Additionally, getting the joints in your spine to move properly has a long-lasting effect on decreasing pain because if the spine continues to function properly then there will not be excess pain signals trying to get to your brain. Remember, if pain is a warning sign that your body isn’t functioning properly, then getting proper function in the spine will take away the body’s need to send the pain signals!
Other benefits from chiropractic care
One of the biggest benefits that patients report after starting care in our office is better, more restful sleep. This is a huge benefit, not only because you feel more rested, but because your body does most of its repairing and healing while you sleep. If you are not getting enough sleep throughout the night, then your body can not do its job to repair and heal whatever it is dealing with throughout the day. Patients also often report a feeling of less anxiety and more calmness throughout their day. Improving the alignment of the spine and nervous system ultimately allows you to handle stress better and feel more at ease overall.
How does getting adjusted produce these benefits?
We already talked about how the adjustment influences the brain. The positive information that is sent to the brain also helps to get your body in a more relaxed parasympathetic state, commonly known as “rest and digest”. However, people are in a sympathetic or “fight or flight” state most of the time. Being stuck in this fight or flight state makes it very difficult and nearly impossible for your body to heal. Over time, this can have a huge negative affect on your sleep and your ability to manage stress. This is why seeing a chiropractor regularly can help improve your sleep and decrease your stress.
While most people go to the chiropractor for back pain or neck pain, they usually see other huge benefits to their overall health once they start care. I hope you are understanding that chiropractic is not just about getting you out of pain. Chiropractic is about getting you to function at your body’s highest potential! Pretty cool stuff, right?
If you feel like you need some help getting your body to function optimally and are looking for a long-lasting solution, then you need to visit your local chiropractor!
To learn more about Dr. Alison Bremner, click here.