With COVID-19 looming over us for the past few years, there have been many contentious debates about the immune system.
But regardless of how you feel about vaccines and other medications, you undoubtedly agree that it is a good idea to keep your immune system as strong as possible.
In this article, we will cover the topic of immunity and investigate how chiropractic care can lead to improved immune function.
Human Immune Systems 101
The immune system is one of the most complex systems in the body, and one of the least understood.
Essentially, the immune system is responsible for keeping us safe from diseases and pathogens that could cause us harm.
In basic terms, the immune system can be broken down into the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system.
The Innate Immune System
The innate immune system can be thought of as the immunity with which we are born. Generally, this arm of the immune system can be considered “nonspecific”. This means that it defends against any invaders without specifically targeting them. For example, the skin and stomach acid are considered to be a part of the innate immune system. These areas destroy or fend off pathogens without regard to whether they are beneficial or harmful to us.
The Adaptive Immune System
The adaptive immune system is arguably more complicated than the innate immune system.
This branch of the immune system targets specific viruses, bacteria, and other invaders to which we have been exposed in the past. For this reason, the more diseases we are exposed to in childhood, the better our adaptive immunity will be.
Within the adaptive immune system, there are two very important concepts: passive and active immunity. Passive immunity refers to immune defense in the form of antibodies that are produced outside of one’s own body. Examples of this type of immunity are vaccines and newborn immunity acquired from their mothers as a result of placental transfer.
Active immunity refers to antibodies that are produced by one’s own body in response to a virus or other pathogen. This is what happens after a person has contracted an illness, such as the cold or flu virus.
During cold and flu season, both branches of the immune system are constantly acting to keep us healthy. It’s truly amazing how hard our bodies work to keep us going at all times!
Unfortunately, sometimes things can go wrong with regard to the immune system. Autoimmune conditions are those in which the immune system begins targeting healthy cells and tissues. The reasons why this happens aren’t always clear. However, autoimmune conditions are generally devastating for patients, as they can lead to long-term problems that compound over time.
Chiropractic Care and Immunity
At this point, you may be wondering how chiropractic care can possibly affect the immune system. After all, doesn’t chiropractic care deal primarily with the spine?
As you may or may not know, the nervous system has connections to every single area of the body. The immune system is no exception to this rule.
Therefore, if these connections are disrupted due to misalignments in the spine, we cannot effectively send and receive signals between the brain and the different areas of the body.
For the immune system, in particular, spinal manipulations may enable the nerves that connect to immune system structures to convey faster, more accurate messages. This can lead to quicker triaging of situations requiring the immune system, such as viruses entering the body, or bacteria setting up shop wherever they see an opportunity.
Illnesses are no fun. If you have been suffering from frequent sickness, or have otherwise been dealing with a compromised immune system, you may consider contacting your Parker chiropractor at Awaken Chiropractic for treatment. We’ll help you boost your immune system as we make our way toward the cold winter months. Book your appointment now!