During flu season, everyone has the tendency to play doctor, and you'll hear a lot of advice on how to avoid the flu or remedy it if you get it. These tips can range anywhere from useful to ridiculous. Luckily, there are some scientifically backed ways to strengthen your immune system that can help you avoid the flu virus this season. One of these ways is, surprisingly, through chiropractic care.
The nervous, endocrine and immune systems are linked, and they communicate with one another to help the body heal and adapt. According to U.S. News & World Report, recent studies have shown that IL-2, which was once thought to be an immune system molecule, is actually more present in the nervous system. This has led scientists to believe that neural dysfunction due to spinal misalignments, or subluxation, are stressful to the body and can weaken the immune system.
Subluxations compress and irritate nerve pathways, which affect organs and are the kind of physical nerve stress that affect neuronal control. Researchers say that this stress alters immune functions and increases the vulnerability to disease.
The endocrine system can also affect the immune system by producing cortisol in the adrenal glands, a stress hormone that prevents healthy immune function. These adrenal glands connect to the nervous system through the sympathetic nervous system. When the sympathetic nervous system is affected by stress and subluxation, it can increase the adrenal glands' synthesis of cortisol, which disturbs the immune system.
To lessen this impact on the immune system, chiropractors can identify and alleviate these subluxations. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to reduce stress on the nervous system and boost the nervous and immune systems' responses.
One research group found that adjustments applied to a subluxated area helped increase white blood cell counts. The 1994 study analyzed the impact of regular chiropractic care on the immune systems of HIV patients by comparing groups of patients who either received regular upper cervical adjustments or no treatment at all. The results showed that patients who received regular adjustments showed a 48 percent increase in the number of CD4 "helper" T cells, which are responsible for the body's responses to viruses, while those who did not showed an 8 percent decrease in CD4.
If you're looking to begin regular chiropractic care, schedule an appointment with a professional chiropractor today.