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A Chiropractor’s Role in Reducing Inflammation

Woman experiencing pain in leg

How Chiropractic Treatment Reduces Inflammation

Chronic inflammation has a harmful effect on your body and increases your risk of many types of health conditions. Whether you already have a disease or condition or want to avoid getting sick in the future, regular visits to the chiropractor will help you keep inflammation under control.

Why Inflammation Happens

Inflammation is one of the ways your body protects itself when you're injured or sick. The inflammatory process can make you feel a little uncomfortable but helps you heal and reduces your risk of infection.

If you have a cut, sprained ankle, or another injury, you may notice redness, swelling, and pain due to inflammation. As your injury heals, the inflammation gradually goes away. If you've been sick, inflammation also subsides as you begin to get better.

Unfortunately, inflammation can become a chronic problem in some cases. The problem can happen if your immune system reacts too strongly to germs or mistakenly attacks healthy tissues because it believes there is a threat to your health. In some cases, chronic inflammation can occur for no apparent reason.

You may be more likely to develop inflammation if you're stressed, don't get enough sleep, smoke, drink too much alcohol, are overweight or obese, don't eat a healthy diet, have a chronic illness, or autoimmune disorder.

How Chronic Inflammation Affects Your Body

Signs and symptoms of chronic inflammation aren't always easy to spot and can be confused with other health issues. Common inflammation signs include:

  • Stiffness
  • Joint pain
  • Swollen or stiff joints
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in your chest or abdomen
  • Fever
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Rashes

If you don't take steps to reduce inflammation, permanent damage to your body's cells and tissues may happen. Inflammation can be a factor in asthma, allergies, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), and other joint disorders, according to StatPearls.

Although anti-inflammatory medications and steroids decrease inflammation, these drugs can increase your risk of serious health conditions. Depending on the medication, you might be more likely to develop kidney disease, high blood pressure, ulcers, osteoporosis, or other conditions if you take it for a long time.

Chiropractic treatment offers a safe way to treat inflammation without side effects. In addition to treatments, your chiropractor may recommend lifestyle and diet changes that can relieve inflammation naturally.

Chiropractic Care Helps Reduce Inflammation

Chronic inflammation could be related to misaligned vertebrae in your spine. If the vertebrae press on your nerves, it's difficult or impossible for crucial signals from your brain to reach the various parts of your body. Decreased nerve function can affect the way your immune system works and trigger inflammation.

In a back pain study published in Chiropractic and Manual Therapies, blood tests showed that patients who received spinal manipulation therapy had less inflammation after treatment, in addition to reduced pain. Spinal manipulation involves using quick thrusts to realign the vertebrae in your back and neck.

Reducing stress may also help lower inflammation. Massage therapy, one of the treatments offered by many chiropractors, naturally lowers stress and prompts your body to release serotonin, a hormone that helps you feel calm and happy. Massage can also reduce the production of cortisol, a hormone related to stress.

Do you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep? If insomnia is a frequent problem, you may soon notice the signs of inflammation. Fortunately, spinal manipulation, massage, and other chiropractic treatments relieve pain and stress, helping you sleep better.

Your chiropractor can recommend other ways that will help you lower inflammation, including:

  • Changes to Your Diet. Eating too many fatty, sugary, fried, and junk foods can trigger inflammation. Adding more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein to your diet can be helpful.
  • Losing Weight. Your inflammation level may rise if you're overweight or obese. Losing weight with a sensible diet and exercise plan can help you avoid serious health conditions related to weight gain and inflammation.
  • Exercising More. Making exercise part of your regular routine not only lowers inflammation but strengthens your bones, muscles, and heart while reducing stress.

Sources:

StatPearls: Chronic Inflammation

Chiropractic and Manual Therapies: Effects of Spinal Manipulative Therapy on Inflammatory Mediators in Patients with Non-Specific Low Back Pain: A Non-Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial, 1/8/21

Chiropractic Economics: Chiropractic Adjustments Promote a Strong Immune System During the Holidays, 12/21/18

Healthline: Understanding and Managing Chronic Inflammation

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Dr. Jeff Kerby, DC
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Dr. Greg Millar, DC CCEP
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Huntsville, Alabama 35801
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