What Is Subluxation and How Does It Impact Your Health?

dr phillip spencer examining patient xray

Many people who experience chronic symptoms or discomfort seek chiropractic treatment before they’ve ever heard the term “subluxation.” The issue, while not inherently severe, can have far-reaching impacts on your overall wellbeing and quality of life. Thankfully, a chiropractor can help correct misalignments with manual adjustments, improving the subluxation reducing your symptoms.

What is subluxation?

In the simplest terms, subluxation occurs when one of your back bones, called vertebrae, slips out of alignment. This can put considerable pressure on the disc between vertebrae, on your spinal cord, or on your nerves, resulting in pain, discomfort, and other health issues. A number of different factors can cause subluxation, including poor posture when standing or sitting at work, inadequate spinal support, sleeping position, repetitive motions, sudden trauma, birth, and weak spinal muscles.

Subluxation impacts your nervous system’s ability to fully function and regulate your body. When nerves or the spinal cord are pinched or impeded, your health can suffer. Depending on the cause of the subluxation, changes to your lifestyle, including your sleep habits or posture while at work, may be necessary for long-term relief. Chiropractic care can help reduce symptoms while simultaneously improving your posture and alignment.

How subluxation impacts your overall health

Your brain (and by extension, your spinal cord) controls everything in your body. When your spinal cord or nearby nerves are pinched or under pressure, it can affect your health in a variety of ways. Some of the most common symptoms are back and extremity pain and headaches. If untreated, however, a subluxation can intensify and have a profound impact on your overall health.

In some cases, untreated subluxations result in high stress levels, and your immune system is usually the first to take the hit. Decreased immune function, combined with increased pain and mobility issues, can aggravate other issues. Even internal organs can be adversely affected by poor nerve function if the subluxation isn’t promptly treated.

As you might guess, even if you don’t suffer from a known subluxation, it’s important to visit your chiropractor for regular treatment to ensure proper alignment and avoid a world of potential health issues.

Can Chiropractic Care Help Spring Allergy Flare-Ups?

Most of us know that chiropractic care can help people with chronic pain, joint issues, and alignment or posture problems. But did you know some patients also report relief from allergy symptoms? With spring underway, millions of Americans are struggling with seasonal allergies and irritation caused by airborne pollen.

Due to high pollen counts in many areas around the nation, doctors are predicting a busy allergy season this year. Whether you’re already struggling with allergy symptoms or are prone to seasonal flare-ups, it may be time to make a chiropractic appointment.

What Causes Allergy Issues?

The nuanced ins and outs of how allergies work are still debated. One of the more common beliefs is that increased susceptibility to allergic reactions to environmental factors may be linked to high levels of mental and emotional stress. Both stress and allergies create similar inflammation in the body, and heightened stress can increase your body’s reaction to allergens.

This issue may be tied to cortisol — a hormone that fights inflammation. The body produces excess cortisol and wears out the glands when under prolonged stress, interfering with its natural ability to reduce inflammation.

It is also possible that allergy symptoms are affected by miscommunication between the spine and brain. If a spinal bone is misaligned, inflammation can result. The brain then receives signals that may create allergy-like symptoms. While there is a lack of concrete medical studies linking chiropractic care to reduced allergy symptoms, many chiropractic professionals report an improvement in their patients’ allergies while under chiropractic care.

How Does Chiropractic Care Reduce Allergy Symptoms?

Chiropractic care can help improve quality of life for allergy sufferers in a number of ways. Patients who receive hands-on therapies such as those administered during a chiropractic care regimen often report reduced levels of stress and muscular tension. This can help your body better regulate its responses to allergens. Additionally, sometimes subluxation of the spine can cause issues similar to those created by allergies. Regular adjustments can help correct subluxation, improve communication between the spine and brain, and even strengthen your immune system.

Your chiropractor can also help you make lifestyle and diet changes that could reduce allergic reactions and inflammation. Combine that with reduced stress hormones, allowing your body to naturally combat inflammation, and there is the potential for serious relief. If medications alone aren’t controlling your allergy symptoms, chiropractic care may help you get them under control.

How to Relieve Neck Pain Between Chiropractic Treatments

There’s a reason we call things that are stressful or irritating a “pain in the neck”: neck pain can be a persistent drain on your energy and overall quality of life. Seeking regular chiropractic treatment is one of the most effective ways to reduce ongoing neck pain. While your sessions will serve to mitigate symptoms, any discomfort that creeps up between visits can be managed at home until your next treatment with a few simple tricks.

One of the best ways you can ensure your own neck comfort, other than using proper support for prolonged seated postures at work and beyond, is to practice sufficient head and neck support when you sleep at night. Start by trying to sleep on your side and back and aim for a neutral spine position. Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as this can place extra pressure on your neck.

You may also want to invest in a memory foam pillow that will support your head and honor the natural curve of your neck. We are asleep for a third of each day, on average, so be kind to your neck at bedtime!

Small Changes Can Make a Big Impact

Did you know the padding between vertebrae can compress when you’re dehydrated? Monitor your daily water intake to ensure your body remains hydrated, which is essential to support critical bodily processes and structures from nerves and soft tissue to bones and so much more.

Also consider how you hold your cellphone or work phone. Do you tilt and pinch it between your ear and shoulder rather than manually holding it to your upright head? If so, this habit could contribute substantially to pain and tension in your neck and shoulders.

If possible, ask for an ergonomic chair at work. A chair with added neck support can help absorb pressure otherwise placed on your neck and shoulders, while proper lumbar support will encourage neutral spinal alignment while you sit.

Finally, get moving… in some water! Submerging your body up to the chin and gently moving your neck can be an excellent means of low-impact movement. The warmer the water, the better it will be for muscle relaxation.

Simple Exercises Can Reduce Symptoms

Whether the source is stress or a traumatic injury, neck pain is typically a sign of a deeper issue. You can help improve your symptoms by completing certain exercises at home. For example, if your neck is stiff and sore, try to slowly roll your shoulders down and back ten times. You may also want to sit upright and gently roll your shoulders backward, as if you’re trying to hold a pencil between your shoulder blades. Repeat this ten times (just remember to move slowly and avoid pushing your limits too far!). Finally, try slowly touching your ear to your shoulder ten times on each side.

If your neck pain remains significant with a few at-home tweaks, you may be waiting too long between chiropractic sessions. Talk to your chiropractor to discuss your optimal treatment plan and frequency, and you’ll be on your way to symptom-free comfort!

Pregnant? Here’s How Expectant Mothers Can Benefit from Chiropractic Care

Pregnancy has its ups and downs. While becoming a parent can be a joyful experience, pregnancy and childbirth take a significant toll on the body. For this reason, many women receive traditional prenatal care from an OB/GYN, but fewer consider the benefits of simultaneous chiropractic treatment.

A trained chiropractic professional who is knowledgeable about safely treating pregnant women can properly perform adjustments and supplemental care without risk to mother or child. In fact, adjustments can actually improve an expecting woman’s symptoms, which in turn reduces stress and strain on the baby. If you are an otherwise healthy pregnant woman and are searching for additional ways to relieve pain, tension, alignment issues, and more, you may want to consider visiting a local chiropractor.

Proper Spinal and Hip Alignment Can Reduce Pregnancy Pain

From the moment you conceive, your body begins to undergo a series of rapid changes. As your uterus expands to accommodate your developing baby and fluctuating hormones cause aches and pains, your back may need a little extra attention.

In addition to offsetting growing pains and hormonal changes, chiropractic care during pregnancy may:

  • Reduce discomfort in the back, neck, hips, and joints
  • Reduce morning sickness and general nausea symptoms
  • Allow for a healthier and more comfortable pregnancy overall

Chiropractic Care Can Improve Maternal Health

From its pain reduction and stress relieving potential to the possibility of reducing the risk of a c-section, chiropractic care during pregnancy offers a lot of benefit with little associated risk.

If you’re pregnant, you should consider chiropractic care in addition to traditional prenatal services. Hands-on adjustments can help your body better weather the physical demands of pregnancy while reducing unwanted aches, pains and tension.

How Chiropractic Care Supports Your Immune System

You likely already know that chiropractic care can help you manage chronic pain, improve your posture, and potentially boost your athletic performance. What you may not know is that chiropractic treatment can also help support your immune system, which is especially critical during the winter cold and flu season.

When our bodies are exposed to viruses and bacteria, strong immune function is essential in order to avoid succumbing to illness. Regular chiropractic care can provide the defense you need to remain healthy.

How Chiropractic Care Affects Your Immune System

Much of how our bodies behave is interconnected with other functions and systems. In humans, the nervous system, immune system, and endocrine system are all linked to one another. These three systems communicate by using tiny chemical messengers, specifically a compound called interleukin-2 (IL-2). An increase in IL-2 and improved function of critical immune system cells called T-cells are commonly experienced by those who have recently undergone a single chiropractic adjustment session.

The improved performance of the T-cells and increased presence of IL-2 results in a stronger, more robust immune system response. Connect the dots and it becomes clear that chiropractic care has the power to cause improved immune function, thereby helping your body stave off disease and infection and better recover from them. For instance, one study conducted during the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918 revealed that those receiving chiropractic care were much more likely than the average infected person to survive their infection.

Chiropractic Care Offers a Wide Range of Benefits

Depending on the reasons for seeking chiropractic care, you can expect a host of real benefits from regular adjustments. From decreased levels of pain to improved immune function, chiropractic care can offer even more than an aligned spine. If you are interested in the potential benefits of chiropractic adjustments, contact Spencer Chiropractic today. Let’s work together to help you enjoy a better wellbeing!

Image via Tina Franklin