27 Apr 2020
What has Covid-19 got to do with chiropractic care? Since the birth of chiropractic in 1895, chiropractors believe that the body can function toward 100% and be healthy with uninterrupted nerve flow from the brain to the rest of the body. Chiropractic adjustments have the potential to free up nerve impulse flow, allowing the body to heal and restore health.
The Covid-19 has become the most significant health challenge and has caused much stress disrupting careers and lifestyle worldwide. We know that it is a rather contagious virus. Since it is novel or new, our immune system has not gotten a chance to make antibodies against it. Covid-19 key symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell, fever and malaise.
Developing antibodies when exposed to Covid-19 is a natural phenomenon and is often mildly symptomatic in healthy individuals. But can chiropractic care help individuals stay healthier through a better lifestyle and decrease the probability of disease or death? The pandemic of 1918 is the closest comparison to Covid-19. Flu patients under medical care at that time suffered a mortality rate of 6.5% or about 1 in 15. Chiropractic and osteopathic patients, on the other hand, died at about 0.06-0.2 % or about 1-2 deaths per thousand.(1)
The above results do not mean chiropractic is treating the infection but something they did help the people to suffer less. Over 40 years of chiropractic research shows that chiropractic has a positive effect on the nervous system and helps the body adapt to stress better. Numerous studies relate chiropractic adjustments to increase in immune support of cells, up to 400% in HIV patients.(2)
More recently, Dr Ron Pero, Chief of Cancer Prevention Research at New York University, studied how chiropractic care can impact general health. In 1989, he measured immune systems of people under chiropractic care vs people in the general population. The study, though never published, occurred over three years, involved 107 individuals who have been under chiropractic care for five years or more. He found chiropractic patients had 200% more immune competence than those who have not received chiropractic care.
In 2000, a report from the Pharmacological Review named "The Brain and the Immune System" as the two major adaptive systems in the body. It states that during an immune response, the brain and the immune system "talk" to each other, essential to maintain balance.
Based on what we know, chiropractic is not a cure, nor does it prevent Covid-19 infection. Chiropractic stimulates the brain and helps restore brain and immune system communication when under stress as the brain and nervous system improve body function, including immune system function. The stimulation of the brain via chiropractic adjustments may explain why chiropractic patients anecdotally seem less susceptible to suffer less extreme reactions to some disease processes and appear healthier in general.
1. Riley GW. Osteopathic success in the treatment of influenza and pneumonia. J Am Osteopathic Assn, 1919; 18: 565.
2. Selano JL, et al. The effects of specific upper cervical adjustments on the CD4 counts of HIV positive patients. Chiropractic Research J 1994;3: 32.