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Chiropractic Care effects on the Immune System

Adjustments and your Immune System
Enhanced Phagocytic Cell respiratory Burst Induced by Spinal Manipulation. JMPT 1991:14:399-408.

This study was designed to measure the effect that a Chiropractic adjustment
has on the immune system. Blood was taken from each of the patients 15
minutes before and 15 minutes after the adjustment. These results were
compared to patient’s blood test who received a sham (pretend)
adjustment. The immune response from subjects who received the
adjustment was significantly higher after than before treatment, and
significantly higher than the response from the sham subjects.

Patients who come in with colds, sore throats, sinus congestion and stomach
viruses often remark that their recovery seems to be accelerated by the
chiropractic adjustment. Recent scientific developments now lend support
to the idea that Chiropractic correction of the subluxation can aid the
immune responses of the body by reducing nerve interference.

This is one of the most exciting areas of chiropractic. More and more
research is pointing to an immune system enhancement effect of the
spinal adjustment.

The effects of chiropractic on the immune system: a review of the
literature. Allen JM, Chiropractic Journal of Australia, 1993;
23:132-135.

This is a summary of recent research implying a connection between chiropractic
adjustments and immunocompetence. The literature suggests that the
nervous system plays a role in the modulation of the immune response and
that chiropractic adjustments influence T and B lymphocyte numbers,
natural killer cell numbers, antibody levels, phagocytic activity and
plasma endorphin levels. The few studies attempting to measure the
effect of chiropractic or manipulative treatment on the immune response
are reviewed.

The  anatomical and physiological connections between the immune system and
the nervous system suggest that the nervous system plays a role in the
modulation of the immune response.

Noradrenergic sympathetic neural interactions with the immune system: structure and
function. Felton, D.L., Felton, S.Y., Bellinger, D.L., et al. Immunol
Rev 100:225-260, 1987.


This is one of a growing number of papers by researchers in the field of
psychoneuroimmunology exploring the relationship between the nervous
system and the immune system. Potential mechanisms of action are
discussed.

A comparative study of the health status of children raised under the
health care models of chiropractic and allopathic medicine. Van Breda,
Wendy M. and Juan M. Journal of Chiropractic Research Summer 1989.

Children under chiropractic had less use of medications, including antibiotics.

An overview of neuroimmunomodulation and a possible correlation with
musculoskeletal system function. Fidelibus J. Journal of Manipulative
and Physiological Therapeutics, 12:4, 1989.


Receptors for neuromodulators and neurohormones have been identified on human
T-lymphocytes. It is believed that the immune system can communicate
with the nervous system using neuromodulators and neurohormones secreted
by lymphocytes.

Chronic hyperemesis in two siblings with AIDS. Fallon, J Int’l Chiropractic Association Review Summer 2002.

Two male siblings ages 4 and 6 with “HIV infections” and “full-blown AIDS.”

Both boys suffered from severe hyperemesis (vomiting) associated with a
hyperactive gag reflex and were on a liquid diet: the six-year-old by
mouth and the 4-year-old by gastric tube. The 6-year-old had a viral
load of 1,200 and was on a regime of antiviral drugs. His 4-year-old
brother, with a viral load of 1,000,000 was on a cocktail of HIV
medications (after the monotherapy failed).

The 4-year-old had a history of chronic ear infections and the 6-year-old
had severe learning disabilities. Both boys needed a walker or bilateral
canes. The older boy had uncontrollable dribbling.

Spinalexamination of the 4-year-old revealed subluxations at occiput/atlas,
C1, C4, T4, T9 and Tl2. Spinal examination of the 6-year-old revealed
subluxations at C1, T1, T8 and AS of the right ileum.

Adjustments of the subluxated segments were begun; each boy was initially seen 2 times a week for three weeks.

Within three weeks of initial care the older boy could walk better, he was
able to use only one cane instead of two, he ate solid food for the
first time since birth, his chronic drooling stopped as did his gagging
and vomiting. However, if he went longer than 30 days without an
adjustment his gag reflex returned as well as the uncontrolled vomiting.

The younger boy was able to stop the gastric feeding and take liquid food
orally, his vomiting reduced and his chronic ear infections ceased. In a
few months he was able to eat solid food. His viral load dropped from
1,000,000 to 5! As long as he was adjusted 1-2 times per month, his
vomiting did not return.

Chiropractic treatment and antibody levels. Alcorn, S. Journal of the Australian Chiropractic Association. 1977.


This paper reported increased levels of immunoglobulins in the blood serum
of three patients under chiropractic care. A fourth patient did not
respond to care.

The  author speculates the vertebral subluxation complex (VSC) acts as a
stressor, which causes increased secretion of cortical from the adrenal
cortex. If cortisol levels exceed optimum levels, immunoglobulin
secretion would be inhibited.

Enhanced phagocytic cell respiratory burst induced by spinal manipulation:
potential role of substance P. Brennan PC, Kokjohn DC, Killinger CL et
al. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics Vol. 14 No 7
Sept 1991 p 399-408.

An interesting property of phagocytic cells (polymorphonuclear neutrophils
or PMNs and monocytes in this study) is put to use in this study, that
is, they emit light during phagocytosis (called “respiratory burst”).

Using 67 male and 32 female volunteers, blood was taken 15 minutes before and
after subjects had a sham manipulation, a thoracic spine manipulation
or a soft tissue manipulation.

More light was emitted from monocytes and PMNs after spinal manipulation
than from the sham or soft tissue work. Substance P (SP) is a
neurotransmitter released from the dorsal root ganglion and its plasma
level was elevated after the manipulation. SP appears to be able to
prime phagocytes for enhanced respiratory burst.

From the discussion: “Thus the data provided evidence that spinal
manipulation elicits viscerosomatic responses; specifically, our study
shows that manipulation affects cells involved in inflammatory and
immune responses, at least over the short term.”

Enhanced neutrophil respiratory burst as a biological marker for manipulation
forces: duration of the effect and association with substance P and
tumor necrosis factor. Brennan PC, Triano JJ, McGregor M et al. Journal
of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics Vol. 15 no. 2 Feb.1992.
P. 83-89.


This paper  builds upon the one above. Using blood collected from 27 males and 19
females after a manipulation of the thoracic spine, the plasma levels of
substance P (SP) and respiratory burst response of PMLNs was found to
be higher 15 minutes after manipulation than from blood collected 15
minutes before or 30 and 45 minutes after manipulation. In addition to
priming PMNs for enhanced respiratory burst (RB), SP also stimulates
production of mononuclear cell tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Mononuclear
cells are also primed for enhanced endotoxin-stimulated TNF production
after manipulation.

From the discussion:

The data presented confirm and extend our previous reports that a
high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust to the thoracic spine primes PMN for
an enhanced respiratory burst in response to a particulate challenge.
Spinal manipulation also primes mononuclear cells for enhanced endotoxin
stimulated TNF production…this has not been previously reported…. Thus
these data further support the notion that spinal manipulation elicits
viscerosomatic responses….”

The effect of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy on salivary cortisol
levels. Tuchin PJ. Journal of Australasian Chiropractic and Osteopathy,
July 1998; 7(2), pp. 86-92.


This is the study of six males and three females who had their baseline
cortisol levels established and then received two-weeks of care (4
adjustments) follow by a two-week post adjustment period.

Saliva samples were analysed and results showed reduction or no increase of
salivary cortisol suggesting that chiropractic care had a measurable
calming, physically soothing and restorative effect.

Immunologic correlates of reduced spinal mobility: preliminary observations in a
dog model. Brennan PC, Kokjohn K, Triano JJ et al. In: Proceeding of the
1991 International Conference on Spinal Manipulation, FCER; 118-121.

The posterior facet joints of four beagles were surgically fused at L1/L2
and L2/L3 by injecting a sealant. T11/12 and T12/13 joints were fused on
two of the beagles. Four beagles were used as controls.

The respiratory burst (RB) of the polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) were
depressed in the dogs who underwent the surgical fusion in contrast to
the 4 dogs who had a sham surgical fusion. The results of this study
suggest that spinal joint fixation results in immunosupression.

The effects of specific upper cervical adjustments on the CD4 counts of HIV
positive patients. Selano JL, Hightower BC, Pfleger B, et al.
Chiropractic Research Journal. 1994; 3(1): 32-39.


This was a study to determine if chiropractic care could help individuals diagnosed with HIV.

Five patients were adjusted and five were controls. After 6 months, in the
control group (not under chiropractic care), the CD4 levels declined by
7.96% while the group receiving chiropractic adjustments experienced a
48% increase in CD4 cell counts. This indicates that correction of upper
cervical subluxation could improve immunocompetence.

Chiropractic and HIV infection. Martin, C. Journal of the American Chiropractic Association. 1995;3212:41-44.


Recent research and case history analysis suggests that vertebral manipulation
may have wide-ranging effects. From improvement in symptoms like
peripheral neuropathy to stimulation of immune system, chiropractic
appears to encourage individual well-being.

The reduction of stress, education of the patient towards an immunopositive
lifestyle and the removal of nervous system interference are the
central benefits which chiropractic offers.

Priming of neutrophils for enhanced respiratory burst by manipulation of the
thoracic spine. Brennan P. and Hondras M Proceedings of the 1989
International Conference on Spinal Manipulation. Pub: FCER: Arlington,
VA. pp.160-163.


Manipulation of the thoracic spine appeared to increase the sensitivity of the white
blood cells as indicated by respiratory burst.

Chiropractic care in adult spina bifida: a case report. Thomas RJ, Wilkinson RR. Chiropractic Technique, 1990; 2:191-193.

This is the case of a 31-year-old female with spina bifida at T11-L2 who
presented with multiple symptoms that included muscle spasms, poor
bladder control, recurrent bladder infection, swollen cervical lymph
nodes, and possible immunosupression.

Chiropractic adjustments consisted of Logan Basic and other minimal force
techniques. After 5 years of chiropractic care, her bladder has been
infection-free for a period of more than a year; bladder control has
improved and leg spasms have decreased in frequency and severity.
Menstrual cramping also has reduced.

Based on the case history of recurrent infection, the author hypothesized
that one effect of the vertebral subluxation complex was
immunosupression, which was relieved by chiropractic adjustments.

The side effects of the chiropractic adjustment. Burnier, A. Chiropractic Pediatrics Vol. 1 No. 4 May 1995.


L.T. female age 7 ½ has been under chiropractic care since birth. She has
never had the need to seek medical care, nor taken a single medication
or over over-the-counter drug to date. Her presenting vertebral
subluxation: Atlas ASLA, D3/D4 PI.

Original Adjustment: Structural manual adjustment of D3/D4 in extension prone and Atlas in supine position.

S. Family 4 children age 1,2,3,5. All the children have been under regular
chiropractic care since birth and have not needed for medication or
over-the-counter drugs. Each child was checked soon after birth and then
weekly thereafter. Adjustments were only given if and when subluxations
were present. The children were adjusted in one or two places on an
average of 21 day intervals.

Your immune system plays such an enormous role in the overall health of
literally every cell and tissue in the body. Not only is it the immune
system’s job to protect from coughs and colds but also it helps fight
against cancer; repair damaged joints and slow down the aging process.

Don’t limit Chiropractic care to aches and pains. Make Chiropractic a part of
you and your family’s wellness strategy
. KEEP YOUR POWER TURNED ON!
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