Dr. Broosan's Research Corner
How are Stress, your Immune System & Chiropractic Adjustments related?
Along with family gatherings, celebration, and joy, the holidays can also bring with them higher levels of stress. Stress is one way to set off the body's "fight or flight" system. This system (known as the sympathetic nervous system) is intelligently designed to allow the body to adapt to life threatening situations. The problem arises when we have high stress levels chronically. You see, we were not meant to remain in a "fight or flight" state for long periods of time and yet this is exactly what happens to many of us on a daily basis. Add a little more stress (i.e. the holidays), and guess what happens to a lot of people? They get sick! Ever notice that when you are stressed out, you are more likely to get sick? It's not a coincidence.
Simply put, if you are in a "fight or flight" situation because of stress your body is more concerned with surviving and "getting out of danger" rather than using energy to maintain optimal cellular immunity. Your immune system weakens and then BAM! You get sick. Rather than recognizing that stress can cause your immune system to function poorly, many people blame germs for their illnesses. However, it's a known fact that germs are everywhere and yet others who are also surrounded by those germs are not sick. Actually, studies show that those of us getting adjusted regularly are least likely to sick. Chiropractic adjustments are documented to lower Cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
Research also shows that Chiropractic adjustments
actively increase immune function:
"The response of polymorphonuclear neutrophils isolated from blood collected 15 min after manipulation was significantly higher than the response of cells isolated from blood collected 15 min before and 30 and 45 min after manipulation. Mononuclear cells were also primed for enhanced endotoxin-stimulated tumor necrosis factor production by spinal manipulation."
Note: Simplified, this study found that immune cells were enhanced after an adjustment. These enhanced immune cells recognize and destroy infected cells.
Brennan et al., Enhanced neutrophil respiratory burst as a biological marker for manipulation forces: Duration of the effect and association with substance P and tumor necrosis factor. J Manip Physiolog Ther 1992; 15(2) Feb: 83-89.
"The CL responses of both PMN and monocytes from subjects who received spinal manipulation were significantly higher after than before treatment, and significantly higher than the response in sham or soft-tissue treated subjects."
Brennan P, Graham M, Triano J, Hondras M. Enhanced phagocytic cell respiratory bursts induced by spinal manipulation: Potential role of substance P. J Manip Physiolog Ther 1991; (14)7:399-400.
Your nervous system controls and coordinates all the systems of your body (including your immune system). If you have a misaligned/improperly moving (subluxated) spine, you will have interference to your nervous system and decreased immune function.
So, don't let holiday rush keep you from coming in for your Chiropractic adjustment. Research shows that Chiropractic is a powerful tool to down regulate stress as well and increase immune function keeping you healthy and stress-free all season long!