“Why do I need to come in for a chiropractic maintenance adjustment if I feel fine?”
“Should I go to the chiropractor when I’m not experiencing pain?”
I hear those questions a lot in my office.
You may associate pain as the only reason to go to the chiropractor. While chiropractors can help with pain relief, there is more involved than just that.
How does a chiropractic adjustment work?
An adjustment is about restoring proper function to your central nervous system. Your nervous system is made up of your brain and spinal cord. Your brain is the central control station of our bodies. It sends a signal down the spinal cord to filaments (or nerves) that go to every organ in the body.
Our spine is made up of 24 individually movable bones called vertebrae. At each level, there are nerves that exit and send sensory and motor signals to our organs, arms, legs, and even our skin. If one of those vertebrae isn’t moving as much as it should, it’s not going to allow the nerve to send the appropriate signal to its full capacity.
You can think of it like a light bulb on a dimmer switch. If that nerve is one that goes to the hands, you may notice numbness or tingling. You may start dropping things or find it more difficult to open jars. If that nerve goes to the lungs, you may experience difficulty breathing or asthma type symptoms. If that nerve is in your lower back, it could cause low back pain or can cause pain down the leg, which is known as sciatica.
Chiropractors find out where those spinal bones are not moving correctly. Then, we apply a gentle force to help restore proper motion to that restricted segment or segments. This fixes the “pinched nerve.” Many times, when we do this, you experience pain relief because that nerve is now functioning correctly. So, in essence, when the nerve is working better, you feel better.
So why is getting a maintenance adjustment important?
Often you can have spinal bones that aren’t moving like they are supposed to, but you may not be experiencing pain symptoms. That’s why it is essential to get checked on a maintenance schedule. A maintenance adjustment keeps the spinal bones moving like they are supposed to. If a vertebra is not moving for some time, the body starts to see that level as unstable. In response, your body subconsciously tries to “fix it.”
Imagine you have a loose brick in a wall. If you lay down mortar over the brick, the mortar will secure the brick back into place. Your body does something similar to this. When a spinal bone isn’t moving for a while, the body starts to lay down calcium and produces bone spurs with the intent to try to fuse the segments to make them more secure. This is also known as arthritis.
Arthritis is often preventable in the spine with a maintenance adjustment. As long as we make sure those spinal bones are moving, we can keep things functioning correctly and prevent bone spurs from occurring. If someone already has bones spurs, we can’t take those away. But, with maintenance adjustments, we can sort of push the pause button to slow the progression of arthritis.
Who should get a maintenance adjustment?
A maintenance adjustment is a good idea for everyone- women, men, and children. We can all benefit from a regular chiropractic maintenance adjustment. Even though you are not in pain, your body may still need an alignment.
How often do I need a maintenance adjustment?
This answer is going to be different for everyone, as we all have varying ages, level of mobility, etc. The current research states you should get a maintenance adjustment once every 3-6 weeks. I tell my patients once a month on average. I also encourage my patients to get massages. So, I suggest they get adjusted once a month and get a massage once a month.
Massages have numerous benefits, including helping to remove trigger points, relax muscles, and help restore the proper flow of your lymphatic system.
Your body’s lymphatic system is like a recycling plant for all the toxins that build up in your body. So, it’s essential to flush those toxins out of your body. Many times, the patient will opt to get both a massage and adjustment on the same day as they work hand in hand (pun intended).
Do you have questions about whether you should go to a chiropractor for a maintenance adjustment? Call Dr. Kinnear at 804-426-1170.
article by Dr. Jeff Glover