MRI Study Shows Why Chiropractic Adjustments are So Effective
As Doctors of Chiropractic, our goal is to restore the correct biomechanics that each spinal segment and/or joint of the body should have. You hear many Doctors of Chiropractic using the term Subluxation. This is typically used when talking about a joint, literally any joint in the body, when it is not in its correct position in regards to normal anatomical position or not moving according to its normal biomechanical function. Chiropractic has long been known for its effectiveness on low back pain and neck pain. Why are chiropractic adjustments so effective and how do we know that they are effective? Until recently, Chiropractors were only able to provide case studies to show the benefits patients were having due to their adjustments. Now, with enhanced MRI imaging tools, they are able to actually see the changes made during and after an adjustment. The hypothesis that Chiropractors have been proclaiming for years is now supported by FACT!
In a 2013, a study by Cramer et al. was performed, using 112 patients to see if Doctors could actually measure the increase in joint space due to an adjustment. They used measurements of the L4/L5 and L5/S1 segments before the treatment, as a baseline, and then 2 weeks after the treatment. The measurements were taken from the central anterior-posterior joint space and from the Zygapophaseal joint or Z joint. To measure pain, they used the following questionnaires: Visual analog scale, verbal numeric pain rating scale, and Bournemouth. The study had patients receive a side posture adjustment 1-3 times per week depending on the presenting symptomatology and recommendation of the attending Doctor. It was noted that the joint space actually increased up to 82mm and pain was significantly decreased. So what does this mean for you the patient?
People with low-back pain have decreased mobility in the joints of the lumbar spine. This limited mobility may result in degenerative changes and fibrous adhesions within and between the joints. When this occurs, nerve tension can increase and disc hydration can decrease, eventually leading to pain. Muscles also can go into spasm due to the body trying to restore its normal position and function of the joint that is subluxated.
This leads us back to what we, as Doctors of Chiropractic, do. We analyze and find the joint that is not moving properly do to the fibrous adhesions and muscle tightness mentioned above. We gently but effectively deliver a thrust that moves the joint (the Chiropractic Adjustment) and restore the joints correct biomechanical function and normal anatomical position. When this is done, because of the increased space, the nerve tension will decrease and so will the pain that is associated; which allows your body to communicate properly with itself and begin the healing process.