Can chiropractic care help improve how my immune system functions?
Immunodeficiency is a state in which the immune system’s ability to fight infectious disease is compromised or entirely absent. Most cases of immunodeficiency are acquired (“secondary”) but some people are born with defects in the immune system, or primary immunodeficiency. A person who has an immunodeficiency of any kind is said to be immunocompromised. An immunocompromised person may be particularly vulnerable to opportunistic infections, in addition to the normal infections that can affect everyone.
The nerve system has a direct effect on the immune system due to the nerve supply to the important immune system organs including: the spleen, lymph nodes, thymus, and lymphoid cells. The many different cells, organs, and tissues that make up the immune system are dispersed throughout the body, yet the various components communicate and collaborate to produce an effective response to an infection over the nerve system.
Your central nerve system is comprised of your brain, brain stem, spinal cord and nerve roots. The skull protects the brain. The brain stem, spinal cord and nerve roots are housed in and protected by the spine which is made up of individual, movable vertebra. If the vertebrae of the spine are not properly aligned, the brain stem, spinal cord or nerve roots can become compressed or irritated by the very bones designed to house and protect them. This is called a subluxation. The chiropractor’s primary role is to detect and correct this problem. Chiropractic is the only health discipline focused on the maintenance of this critical linkage between the nerve system and the immune system.
One of the most important studies showing the positive effect chiropractic care can have on the immune system and general health was performed by Ronald Pero, Ph.D., chief of cancer prevention research at New York’s Preventive Medicine Institute and professor of medicine at New York University. Dr. Pero measured the immune systems of people under chiropractic care as compared to those in the general population and those with cancer and other serious diseases. In his initial three-year study of 107 individuals who had been under chiropractic care for five years or more, the chiropractic patients were found to have a 200% greater immune competence than people who had not received chiropractic care, and 400% greater immune competence than people with cancer and other serious diseases. The immune system superiority of those under chiropractic care did not diminish with age. Dr. Pero stated: “When applied in a clinical framework, I have never seen a group other than this chiropractic group to experience a 200% increase over the normal patients. This is why it is so dramatically important. We have never seen such a positive improvement in a group…”
Another important study was performed at the Sid E. Williams Research Center of Life Chiropractic University. The researchers took a group of HIV positive patients and adjusted them over a six-month period. What they found was that the “patients that were adjusted had an increase of forty-eight percent (48%) in the CD4 cells (an important immune system component).” These measurements were taken at the patients’ independent medical center, where they were under medical supervision for the condition. The control group (the patients that were not adjusted) did not demonstrate this dramatic increase in immune function, but actually experienced a 7.96% decrease in CD4 cell counts over the same period.