Can Chiropractic Reverse Spinal Degeneration?
Nobody likes to sit and think about getting older. Some seem to age gracefully, while others develop spine-related conditions early in life. Many wonder, “Can I reverse spinal degeneration without surgery?” But as you know, sometimes two people of the same age can look very different on the outside and have vastly different levels of health. One may look and act ten years younger than they really are and be free of common ailments that plague others their age. Why do you think this is? Also, how does the aging process actually happen?
We now know there is an important relationship between telomere length and the aging process.
Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes (our genes), like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces. Without the coating, shoelaces become frayed until they can no longer do their job. Without telomeres our DNA strands become damaged and our cells can’t do their job.
However, recent research reporting on a 35-year-old female undergoing chiropractic care showed that she experienced an increase in her telomere length following 5 months of chiropractic care. This is the first documented evidence showing increase in telomere length following chiropractic. The woman reported on in the study also experienced resolution of her neck and back pain as well as problems with frequent urination.
What does that have to do with life span you ask?
The research, reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research includes a review of the literature on telomere length and was conducted by researchers from the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation and Chiropractic Biophysics NonProfit.
You are probably wondering how chiropractic could change telomeres or reverse spinal degeneration – that sounds like chemistry, not bones and joints.
Well, structural spinal shifts can develop in our spines and lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct.
“Research is revealing that vertebral subluxations obstruct the nervous system and have wide ranging effects on the chemistry of the body.” stated Curtis Fedorchuk DC, the lead author of the study. Fedorchuk continued “This case is just the beginning of some very exciting research into the beneficial effects of chiropractic beyond neck and back pain.”
Telomeres get shorter each time a cell copies itself and eventually they get too short and cause our cells to age.
This research is important because telomeres are an essential part of human cells that affect how our cells age. Our cells replenish by copying themselves and this happens constantly throughout our lives. Telomeres get shorter each time a cell copies itself and eventually they get too short and cause our cells to age.
Douglas Lightstone DC, another researcher and author of the study stated ”Abnormal spinal alignment, subluxation and posture are associated with poor general health, physical function, emotional function, social function, and back pain. Normal spinal curves provide shock absorption and leverage, which protect the spinal cord and nerve tissue from the forces of gravity and other daily traumas one may encounter.”
”Abnormal spinal alignment and posture also increase stress and strain to the nerve and blood supply of the spinal cord. This can seriously affect the nervous system and the theory is that because the nervous system controls all functions of the body this can negatively affect our biochemistry including telomere length” stated Deed Harrison DC who was also involved in the study.
The scientific literature supports the effectiveness of chiropractic to restore healthy spinal alignment and posture according to established normal values, thereby lowering the risk of degeneration and poor health. It is not possible to reverse spinal degeneration, but chiropractic can stop it from progressing. Increasing Telomere length may be one way it does this.
The patient reported on in the study went to the chiropractor with complaints of chronic neck and mid-back pain as well as nocturnal polyuria where she would need to wake up to urinate four times per night.
The chiropractor examined the patient and found structural shifts in her spine including a loss of the normal spinal curves. Testing of her nervous system revealed obstruction due to the problems in her spine. Structural shifts can lead to obstruction ofthe nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct. She also had her blood drawn and analyzed for telomere length.
The patient was seen for 36 visits over 5 months while she maintained her regular lifestyle throughout the chiropractic care. The patient reported her pain resolved and her quality of life improved. Her structural spinal shifts, subluxations and spinal curves improved and she no longer needed to urinate at night. The patient had blood drawn again to assess her telomere length which increased significantly.
The study’s authors called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic on telomere length.
Increased Telomere Length & Improvements in Dysautonomia, Quality of Life, Neck & Back Pain Following Correction of Sagittal Cervical Alignment Using Chiropractic BioPhysics® Technique: a Case Study. Curtis Fedorchuk, D.C., Doug Lightstone, D.C., Matthew McCoy, D.C., & DE Harrison, D.C. Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research – June 18, 2018 – Pages 114-120