Today, September 18th, is chiropractic’s birthday. It was originally founded in 1895 by Daniel David Palmer, and has helped millions of people as it has grown since its start. One of the stories about chiropractic’s founding is about one of Palmer’s first patients. The man was a janitor and had been deaf for many years. Palmer adjusted his spine and the man came back the next day to tell Palmer that now he could hear. It was one of the experiences that taught Palmer the far-reaching effects of chiropractic.
My Chiropractic Journey
I was first introduced to chiropractic when I was 15 years old. I was a basketball player and had injured my pelvis in gym. My mother took me to the hospital and nothing was broken, so she took me to the chiropractor. Even many years later, I’m still a little surprised that she took me, but so grateful for that early introduction to my life’s work.
I have been practicing as a chiropractor for 26 years. I’ve been privileged to help people on their health journey, to relieve physical pain, and to help them live happy, healthy, and hopeful lives.
I continue to receive chiropractic care regularly. For me, it is just an important part of my regular wellness practice. But it has also been extremely important as I’ve worked to heal from major medical issues, like my bicycle accident three years ago.
Our spine houses our nervous system, keeping it protected so it can do its work. I like to compare the spine to a tree with strong roots, a strong trunk, and branches with leaves. The roots gather nutrients and move them up the trunk into the branches and leaves, and then the leaves gather sunlight and move the benefits down through the rest of the tree.
Our nervous system works the same way. It needs to be able to move information throughout the entire system. If you touch a hot stove, your nervous system needs to be able to move the information that the stove is hot through your fingers, up your arm, and into your brain. Then your brain needs to move the information to move back down into your fingers.
Your spine can have areas where the joints don’t have proper movement. They might be caused by sitting in an office chair all day, or by a previous car accident, or any number of things. Chiropractors call those areas subluxations, and it is their job to realign all the bones and joints so that your nervous system functions properly.
Not Just for Back Pain
Most clients come to a chiropractor for back or neck pain. They might have been in a car accident or experienced some other trauma that caused their pain. Or they might have had years of small daily stresses take a toll on their neck or back.
But one of the amazing things about chiropractic is the benefit it can have on symptoms beyond back and neck pain. Similar to the story of Daniel David Palmer restoring a man’s hearing, there are a variety of other possible benefits when information can flow properly through your nervous system.
Some of the benefits of chiropractic are:
- Increased strength
- Increase fine motor control
- Less clumsiness
- More accuracy
- Better performance in sports
- Improved processing of objects in space
- Better thinking
The Mental Health Connection
I love chiropractic, and one of the things that I love about being a chiropractor is constantly learning new ways that chiropractic care can benefit me and my clients. One of the areas that is getting a lot of attention now is the way that chiropractic care can improve mental health by alleviating conditions like depression and anxiety.
There is a connection between our mind, body, and spirit. That connection means that working on one area can also have an impact on the rest of the system. I’ve talked about this connection a lot with the Quadrants of Wellbeing framework. One of the things that this connection shows is if you work on the health of your physical body through a chiropractic adjustment, you can impact the health of your mind. Doctors and therapists often counsel their patients to begin an exercise regimen for the same reason — caring for your physical body can help improve the health of your mind.
With chiropractic care, the connection is a little more direct. Emotional and psychological effects are controlled by the nervous system and chiropractic care deals directly with the nervous system. Studies now show that chiropractic can improve stress response, often called the fight-or-flight mechanism. An overactive fight-or-flight response can cause anxiety and panic attacks, and an improvement can lessen the effects.
Realigning the spine promotes a healthy flow of blood and nutrients throughout the body, which plays a large role in mental health. Chiropractic care can help boost the immune system. And it can soothe aches and pains, which relieves stress on the body and makes you more relaxed.
Getting chiropractic care is a small change that can lead to a big shift in the health of your body and your mind. Find a licensed chiropractor who can help you on your wellness journey through regular adjustments.