Feeling the Winter Blues? How Chiropractic Care Can Help You Function Better This Winter

It is much easier to fight the winter blues when the body is functioning at its best. Chiropractic care helps keep the spine and joints moving freely to improve circulation, to improve mood by clearing the lines of communication with the brain, and to reduce stress, pain and inflammation throughout the body.

How can chiropractic care help the immune system function better to fight off colds?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Essentially, what does chiropractic care do? Chiropractors focus their profession on the treatment of the spine. The spine houses the nervous system. We know the nervous system controls everything we do, how the body feels, how it functions. So obviously, the immune system is our ability to fight sickness and disease. So, the body’s natural expression is to be healthy. And if we are not subluxation-free, (subluxations are those joints that aren’t moving, they’ve shifted and they’re creating stress and tension onto a nerve), the nervous system is not going to be able to function as well under stress as a nervous system that isn’t under stress. Just like us, we’re at work and we’re stressed, we’re not going to function as well as when we’re at work and we’re not under stress. That’s just kind of how it works.

So obviously if we are subluxated and we are stressed out, so remember stress can come from the three T’s. We discussed this on our previous podcast. Stress can be traumas, so big traumas, microtraumas. It can be thoughts like stressful environments, so deadlines at work and then obviously what we’re putting into the body. So, we’re consistently under stress, sit 60 hours a week in poor posture, a high stress job. And then due to that we’re eating a poor diet, high in sugars and processed foods, et cetera. Obviously, that puts the body under stress. If the body is under stress, it releases cortisol, cortisol blocks insulin reception, this spikes the blood sugar. And then we’re just in this kind of negative pattern in circles.

So, what can chiropractic care do? Chiropractic care can relieve stress in the nervous system and chiropractors can educate the patient on what we call 360 degrees of wellness. How we sit while at work, how we should be exercising, the type of foods we should be avoiding and putting into our diet. So, if we’re thinking well, we’re moving well, and we’re eating well, and our spine is aligned and it’s stress free, we’re going to function better physiologically than someone that isn’t those things. And obviously if we’re functioning better physiologically, essentially our ability to fight sickness and disease, then we’re going to have a better chance of fighting off colds and flus and all those winter bugs that roll through.

How does chiropractic care help improve circulation and reduce inflammation?

Dr. Luke Stringer: I think obviously a joint that is moved creates stimulation in the disc. When the disc is moved, then the body fills it with fluid and for that to happen, things have got to happen in and around the joint. So obviously motion’s lotion. If we’re not moving, we’re literally decaying, right? That’s how we kind of degenerate over time. So, if you are having joints adjusted in the spine or the extremity, that joint’s going to send signals to the brain. Then the brain’s going to communicate with the joint and the spine, and it’s obviously going to create stimulation to that joint. And that can involve improved circulation, blood lymphatic system.

And in inflammation specifically, if we have a knee joint for example, that isn’t moving well, or if we have limited range of motion, it increases the stress and tension in that joint. So, if we’ve got a knee joint that’s working at 50% range of motion compared to a joint that is working at 100% range of motion and we’re out using that knee joint, we’re standing on it, we’re walking on it, we’re running on it, for example, well that limited range of motion’s going to increase the stress and tension in the joint. And stress and tension’s going to create inflammation.

So, having a joint that is aligned and is moving, it’s going to lubricate the joint. It’s going to allow the joint to move well, it’s going to communicate with the brain. It’s just going to allow us to essentially do what we should be able to function without pain and dysfunction.

Can chiropractic care help improve balance and stability to help prevent slips and falls?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Yeah, I think slips and falls can be a myriad of things, right? If you’re out walking, you slip off the edge of the curb, I can’t tell you that chiropractic care’s going to be able to prevent you slipping off the edge of the curb. And if you slip on ice down the stairs, you’re slipping on the ice down the stairs regardless if you’re seeing a chiropractor or not.

But yes, we have many patients that come into the office, for example, that have neuropathy due to type two diabetes that they’ve developed through a poor lifestyle. So, what happens in our neuropathy patients that come in? They struggle with proprioception, which is balance, and that can be coming from lack of feeling and functioning within the foot and the lower extremity. So, how we approach neuropathies, not just adjusting the joint, obviously the spine’s being adjusted, the joint’s being adjusted, but then we’re supplementing their treatment plan with lots of proprioceptive exercises both for their brain and for the actual joint themselves.

We actually use some red light therapy in the practice. We partner with a company called Move Plus Kineon Labs, and they’ve got a really cool device that essentially generates red light therapy. And then we are stimulating the foot and ankle, for example, in our neuropathy patients with red light. There is loads of good research that it is going to improve blood flow, lymph flow, and oxygen is just going to regenerate cells.

So, can chiropractic care improve our stability? Absolutely. Varying degrees, obviously, but, to the point, if we’re talking about our geriatric patients who have poor balance stability through joint instability, poor joint function, and/or a secondary consequence from one of those lifestyle diseases or like you said, type two diabetes and they’re doing the right stuff, absolutely we can help those patients improve with the balance and the stability. Will that prevent slips and falling for those patients? It would. But for you and I who don’t have those things, if you’re slipping on the ice, you are slipping on the ice. But, then you will go to see a chiropractor because they can absolutely get you back to where you need to get to after that slip and fall.

How does chiropractic care help improve mood and lessen the effects of seasonal depression and stress?

Dr. Luke Stringer: I think the first question you asked me, how can chiropractic care help with the immune system and how can we function better to fight off colds? It’s similar, right? Chiropractic care is obviously designed to stimulate the spine and create a spine that’s not under stress through good joint alignment, balance, muscle strength, and good spine alignment. And if your spine isn’t those things, it creates stress in the nervous system. Stress can affect us in several different ways.

Now, there is seasonal depression that people do get from lack of light, lack of vitamin D and those sorts of things. So again, chiropractors focus on what we call that 360 degrees of wellness. So, make sure that we supplement well with vitamin D, omega-3s that kind of help the body function well. Obviously, your spine getting adjusted is going to stimulate the brain. And educating the patients on the things they should be doing to negate those effects.

Now is a chiropractic care adjustment going to make sure every patient doesn’t have seasonal depression and stress in their life? No, my dad suffers with that. And it’s more to do with just outside factors. So, lack of light, lack of activity, lack of stimulation. So, there’s other things that would have to be supplemented into that patient’s care plan to help them assist with their improved moods, those important brain hormones, dopamine, serotonin, et cetera. There’s lots of other things you can do to supplement your chiropractic care, which can help for the low mood and kind of that seasonal depression that can roll around.

In what ways does chiropractic care alleviate aches and pains, especially back pain?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Aches and pains are typically coming from joints that aren’t moving well, that are creating stress and tension on the joint, which creates compensation in the muscles. So the muscles are working too hard, they’re breaking down, and obviously then we’re compensating.

So, in a nutshell, what can chiropractic care do? Chiropractic care can make sure the joint is moving. A prerequisite for a healthy joint is full range of motion. Chiropractic adjustments can absolutely allow that joint to move better, create less stress and tension on the joint, tissue, the nerve. Obviously, chiropractors that also involve soft tissue therapy can take care of the adhesion to improve the tissue health, blood lymph oxygen into that tissue and supplement that with physical therapy, which is going to stabilize the joint. So, when you’re adding those key factors in: good joint function through the adjustment, soft tissue therapy to address poor tissue health, traction of the spine to address poor alignment, rehab to address the muscle imbalances that can occur. When you add those things up repetitively over time, you get great results with those patients that are coming in with your low back pain, neck pain, et cetera.

If you are interested in speaking with Dr. Luke Stringer visit www.southloopchiropractor.com or call (312) 987-4878 to schedule an appointment.

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