CHIROPRACTIC and the IMMUNE SYSTEM
The first time chiropractic care was linked to the immune system was during the deadly 1918 influenza pandemic that killed between 50 million and 100 million people.
In Davenport, Iowa, 50 medical doctors cared for 4,953 cases with 274 deaths (5.5%) while chiropractors saw 1,635 cases with only one death (0.06%).
In Iowa state, MD’s● treated 93,590 patients with 6,116 deaths (6.5%). Chiropractors● treated 4,735 cases with only six deaths (0.12%).
During the epidemic, New York Health authorities reported that under chiropractic care, no more than 25 out of 10,000 (0.25%) patients died of the influenza, and only 100 out of 10,000 died of pneumonia.
HOW DOES CHIROPRACTIC CARE AFFECT THE IMMUNE FUNCTION?
A 2010 study found that chiropractic adjustments boosted blood serum levels of certain natural antibodies. The authors suggested that chiropractic adjustments might “prime” the immune system, making it easier to ward off infection and illness. 2
A 2011 study found that individuals who received chiropractic care had dramatically lower levels of TNF-α inflammatory cytokine. High levels of TNF-α have been linked to inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. 3
Increased productions of white blood cells (leukocytes) in adults who had been adjusted by chiropractors. Leukocytes are the cells of the immune system that are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders. 4 5
A 48% increase in the CD4 cells in a group of HIV positive patients that received chiropractic care over a six-month period. CD4 + T cells are white blood cells that play an important role in the immune response. These are the cells that the HIV destroys. 6
1. Riley, G.W. Osteopathic Success in the Treatment of Influenza and Pneumonia. American Osteopathic Association – Chicago Session. July 1919. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, August 1919. Special Reprint Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, Vol. 100. No. 5, May 2000.
2. Teodorczyk-Injeyan JA, McGregor M, Ruegg R, Injeyan HS. Interleukin 2-regulated in vitro antibody production following a single spinal manipulative treatment in normal subjects. Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2010;(18)26.
3. Teodorczyk-Injeyan JA, Injeyan HS, Ruegg R. Spinal manipulative therapy reduces inflammatory cytokines but not substance P production in normal subjects. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2006 Jan;29(1):14-21.
4. Brennan PC, Kokjohn K, Kaltinger CJ, Lohr GE, Glendening C, Hondras MA, McGregor M, Triano JJ. Enhanced phagocytic cell respiratory burst induced by spinal manipulation: potential role of substance P. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1991 Sep;14(7):399-408.
5. Brennan PC, Triano JJ, McGregor M, Kokjohn K, Hondras MA, Brennan DC. Enhanced neutrophil respiratory burst as a biological marker for manipulation forces: duration of the effect and association with substance P and tumor necrosis factor. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1992 Feb;15(2):83-9.
6. Selano JL, Hightower BC, Pfleger B, Feeley-Collins K, Grostic JD. “The Effects of Specific Upper Cervical Adjustments on the CD4 Counts of HIV Positive Patients.” The Chiro Research Journal; 3(1); 1994.