How can a chiropractor influence my gallbladder, liver, heart or other organs?

There are many cases where a patient comes in for neck or back pain and leaves with relief of other physical issues like Asthma or Allergies. Here is an explanation of how chiropractic treatment can affect the whole body.

Every adjustment administered by a chiropractor influences the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). This system regulates everything in the body. All organs, immune system, blood pressure, breathing, digestion. This system works all on its own (autonomic) and does the functions that we don’t have to think about and manage. For instance, we aren’t telling our heartbeat when to happen each second.

According to the Merck Manual:

“Disorders of the autonomic nervous system can affect any body part or process. Autonomic disorders may result from other disorders that damage autonomic nerves (such as diabetes), or they may occur on their own. Autonomic disorders may be reversible or progressive”.

Is it connected to my intestines? Well, yes! It supplies all the internal organs including the blood vessels, stomach, intestine, colon, liver, kidneys, bladder, reproductive organs, lungs, eyes, heart, sweat and salivary glands and digestive track.

It has 2 main divisions:

1. Sympathetic
2. Parasympathetic

Each and every second our brain has to process what is happening in our environment and decide how it is going to react.
If we are scared, stressed or exercising, our Sympathetic (fight or flight) system kicks in. If we want to sleep or digest our food, our parasympathetic system overrides the sympathetic system. How we adapt and react to our environment is key to our health.

What else is the ANS responsible for?

It controls:

Blood pressure

Heart rate

Breathing rate

Regulation of body temperature

Digestion of food

Metabolism (thus affecting body weight)

The balance of water and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium)

The secretion and production of body fluids (saliva, sweat, and tears)

Urination

Defecation

Sexual response

Many organs are controlled primarily by both the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system. Depending on the situation, the organ may act completely different.

Take the heart and lungs for example, the sympathetic division increases blood pressure and breathing rates and the parasympathetic division decreases blood pressure and decreases breathing rates. Depending on what the body needs the brain takes in this information and chooses which system to kick in more in order to ensure that the body responds appropriately to different situations and different bodily demands.

Generally, the sympathetic division is more of our primal system which is needed for stressful or emergency situations.

This system will increase heart rate and the force of heart contractions and widens (dilates) the airways to make breathing easier. It causes the body to release stored energy to be used for the act of fighting or flighting. Muscles are stronger, palms will sweat, pupils will get big to be able to see our surroundings better. It decreases the need for digesting food and urinating in the case of an emergency. Unless so scared it gets overridden and you urinate out of fear.

The parasympathetic division regulates most daily ordinary situations.

It conserves and restores. It decreases the heart rate blood pressure. It stimulates the digestive tract to process food and eliminate wastes. This energy is then used to help build tissue.

Since the ANS is the spine and brain, when adjusted we are putting an impulse in the spinal areas that have nerves that run to specific organs, muscles and glands. The brain takes that information and decides what system is going to be used for that area. This is how we can affect the whole body and not just deal with pain.

Note: this information can be seen in the Merck Manual which is used by the medical community as well, not just a chiropractic manual.

References: http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders/autonomic-nervous-system-disorders/overview-of-the-autonomic-nervous-system

Can Allergies Be Helped and Decreased With Chiropractic Care?

This year in the Bay Area, the weather has been unpredictable.  We have had extremely hot days followed by cold fronts coming in the day after.   We have had high winds and sporatic rain (yes, we are in a drought but it does rain once in a while, just not enough to make a difference).

Unfortunately for many people, drastic weather changes can start up allergy symptoms like runny noses, itchy eyes and sneezing. Hay Fever is pretty common during the spring and can keep creeping up if the weather is “spring-like.”

Hay fever erupts during spring when the flowers are pollenating and the weather is changing. Millions of us suffer from this condi­tion, which causes the body to become hypersensitive to pollen and other environmental substances. This condi­tion causes a number of irritating symptoms that can make life miserable.

What Causes Allergic Reactions?

Your immune system can remember and recognize toxins that are harmful for your body.  That is what it does.   Allergic symptoms like Inflammation, sneezing, cough­ing and vomiting are all a sign that your  immune system is working and is trying to get toxins out of your system.

So what is going on inside the body then?

When an allergic reaction starts, the body activates special immune cells called mast cells. On the outside surface of the mast cell, it has receptors that can recognize harmful toxins that have entered the body.  After they detect toxic substances, they release what are called histamines.  You may be familiar with over the counter items called “Anti-Histamines,” These are used to treat allergic reactions by connecting to the outside of the mast cells and inhibiting the allergic response.  Your body needs to be able to fight off substances and taking an Anti-Histamine will only prolong the response because the body has not been able to get the toxins out of the body.  If you want a natural remedy that doesn’t put an extra strain on the body, Chiropractic may be a wonderful solution for you.

Why Do People Get Allergies?

There are a couple of theories.  One is that people are very sensitive if you are a sensitive person.  This means if you are sensitive to stress, your body will respond to the stress and show a symptom, since the mind and body are connected.  Mediation and stress reduction strategies are helpful to reduce this mind-body reaction in many patients.  

The second theory is that an allergic reaction is a reaction to the environment. Your body takes this information and interprets it.  Your nervous system is the part of your body that does the interpretation.  

Can Chiropractic Help With Allergies?

There are numerous articles showing the beneficial effects of chiropractic adjustments and there effects on the immune and nervous systems.  So, with this information, t’s not surprising many chiropractic patients report a reduction of allergy symptoms when treated regularly for vertebral subluxations.  A vertebral subluxation is a misalignment or dysfunctional movement of vertebra.  This can cause a focal irritation in the spine, which then creates an abnormal signal received by the central nervous system.  When this happens, signals are not received properly and the body can not interpret information properly or fast enough so it will overwork and breakdown.  Reactions then result. 

Although scientific research shows chiropractic adjustments do not cause an improvement in everyone that has an allergy, our treatments can work for a large amount of people.  There is definite evidence that misalignments are one of the causes for the body to not be able to get rid of toxins in the body because of altered signals of the nervous system.

If you suffer allergies, consider chiropractic as one of your potential powerful options.  I have several patients who state that getting care decreases the symptoms and allow them to get a better nights sleep which is when the real healing begins.