Long Term Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Posted by on Feb 19, 2011 in Health Tips/Information | Comments Off on Long Term Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Santa Barbara Chiropractor James Neary

No one thinks it’s odd when their dentist recommends regular visits to maintain good oral health, nor do they find it peculiar when their optometrist suggests regular visits to maintain visual health. Yet many people are puzzled when their chiropractor recommends regular visits to maintain good spinal health.

Of course, when you are suffering with back pain, neck pain, or tension headaches, it is completely understandable that you have one overriding goal – stop the pain. However, once this short term goal has been accomplished, it is time to consider your long term spinal health goals. In formulating your long term gals, it is essential to understand that spinal health is about more than getting rid of pain. Spinal health has a long term impact on every function affected by the spinal nerves, which influence every organ system in your body.

Breathing is a good example of a function most people do not associate with spinal health. A case published in the 1980s involved a 53 year old man with a 20 year history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.1 More than 14 months after starting chiropractic care, the amount of air he was able to forcibly exhale in one complete breath (a measure called “forced vital capacity”) and the amount of the air he could move in the first second of that complete breath ( a measure called “forced expiratory volume in one second”) had improved substantially (1 liter and 0.3 liters, respectively). This case is part of a growing number of literature indicating that improved spinal health care through chiropractic care is often accompanied by improved lung volumes.2

The long term implications of the link between chiropractic care and lung volumes cannot be overemphasized. In most adults, even those with-out pulmonary disease, lung volumes do not improve over time. In fact, lung volumes generally decline with age. Lower than normal lung volumes are associated with shorter lifespans.3 More specifically, depressed lung volumes have recently been linked to increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and other potentially life shortening cardiovascular problems.4-6 Conversely, the better your lung volumes, the longer your lifespan is expected to be. Additional biological functions that seem to benefit from improved spinal health include reaction time7, balance and vision.8

In the short run, it would be great to get out of pain. Chiropractic care can help most people achieve this short-term goal of spinal health. In the long run, it would be great to retain as much lung capacity, visual acuity, reaction time, balance, and cardiovascular health as possible. Emerging research strongly suggests spinal health has a role to play in these long term goals as well. Consider these things when thinking about your future health goals.

Continued chiropractic care can benefit you in other ways too.  Long term chiropractic care helps encourage more complete healing, assuring a lasting recovery and wellness. It can also help prevent relapses by ‘retraining’ your spine for strengthening. Most importantly, you should feel good! With a healthy body and lifestyle, you can do more, enjoy more, and live longer.

Contact us to find out how we can help your long-term health and wellness goals.


1.Masarsky CS, Weber M. Chiropractic management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. JMPT, December 1988;11(6):505-10.

2.Masarsky CS, Weber M. Somatic dyspnea and the orthopedics of respiration. Chiropractic Technique, 1991;3:26

3. Beatty th, et al. Effects of Pulmonary Function on Morbidity. J Chron Dis, 1985;38:703.

4. Van Der Palen J, Rea TD, et al. Respiratory muscle strength and the risk of incident cardiovascular events. Thorax, 2004;59:1063-7.

5. Hozawa A, Billings JL, et al. Lung function and ischemic stroke incidence: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Chest, December 2006;130(6):1642-9.

6. GuoX, Pantoni L, et al. Midlife respiratory function related to white matter lesions and lacunar infarcts in late life: the Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg Sweden. Stroke, July 2006;37(7):1658-162

7. Lauro A, Mouch B. Chiropractic effects on athletic ability. Chiropractic: The Journal of  Research and Chiropractic Clinical Investigation, 1991;6:84.

8. Kessinger R, Boneva D. Changes in visual acuity in patients receiving upper cervical chiropractic care. Journal of vertebral Subluxation Research, 1998;2(1):43

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