One common question that I am asked on a regular basis especially from other health practitioneers, is “what does manipulation (chiropractic adjustments) actually do and how does it work”?
There are a few different benefits that occur from an adjustment, one benefit that I would like to discuss today is pain relief and the fact that people will temporarily feel relief almost immediately. Today I’d like to discuss what causes this feeling of immediate improvement, as it is one reason why people chose to see a Chiropractor when in pain.
Recently there was a study conducted which investigated the level of pain on two tender spots in the human body, after an adjustment. One was the Gluteus Medius (top of the buttock) and the second point was the Infraspinatus (back of the shoulder joint). This study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found a significant improvement in the tenderness in both of the above spots, in comparison to a control group where no adjustments were performed.
In the body this happens regularly when a joint is moving, this is commonly why people say “I have pain when I get up in the morning but once I’ve moved around for a little while I feel better”. During joint movement receptors that detect movement are activated, this movement stimulates a part of our brain that releases a chemical called Serotonin. Serotonin is found in most animals and is vital for a great deal of our automatic functions, like mood, growth, sleep and general behaviour. In humans Serotonin is commonly referred to as one of our “happy chemicals” and produces a sense of wellbeing. With Chiropractic care people feel better usually after care due to the fact that adjustments stimulate parts of our nervous system involved in producing Serotonin. This also explains why other forms of movement based treatment like mobilisations, massage, acupuncture and exercise create a sense of wellbeing a pain relief.
So don’t put up with pain unnecessarily, see a local CAA Chiropractor today, you may get some relief quite quickly, and once the pain level has improved we can work on keeping it at bay. Next month I will discuss another benefit of the adjustment, increased joint movement.
Immediate effects of spinal manipulative therapy on regional antinociceptive effects in myofascial tissues in healthy young adults. Srbely JZ, Vernon H, Lee D, Polgar M Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2013 Jul-Aug;36(6):333-41.