(scroll down for a list of specific Chiropractic research topics)
How can it be that such a wide variety of conditions can be helped with chiropractic care? The answer to this question is simple: Chiropractic care affects how the body runs itself by reducing or eliminating a primary condition called vertebral subluxation complex that underlies many different secondary conditions that we recognize as symptoms. You could think of symptoms as red flags from your body telling you that something's not working right. When we identify and correct the underlying problem, the red flags are not longer necessary, and they are taken down. In this case, the primary condition of vertebral subluxation impedes the body's ability to govern and heal itself from the inside out, like a roadblock or traffic jam on a highway impedes the flow of traffic. When we reduce or remove the roadblock, the body is better able to do what it does best, indeed, what it was designed to do: heal itself. The result of elimination of the primary condition that is subluxation is disappearance of those nagging secondary conditions like headaches, hypertension, anxiety, sleep disturbances, spinal pain, and restoration of normal physiology.
That one underlying condition causes such a wide variety of symptoms presents an interesting challenge when it comes to designing research studies aimed at demonstrating how chiropractic care helps people to be healthier. Further, with the large number of experimental variables inherent to the human body as a whole (including age, physical characteristics, state of health, environment, diet, lifestyle, much less the number, severity, and combination of subluxations within the spine) it is difficult to design experimental studies that can decisively conclude that adjustment of one vertebral subluxation or another has a specific effect on the body. However, empirical observation has proven to be an invaluable tool for assessing the effects of chiropractic care on the body. Chiropractors have been observing positive outcomes in their patients for the past hundred years. A typical case study, published or not, follows the following paradigm: A patient presents to a chiropractor with a particular symptom. The chiropractor uses objective testing to detect vertebral subluxation within the patient's spine that interferes with the body's self-governance. A series of chiropractic adjustments is administered, with adjustments being the only change introduced to the patient's life. After a number of adjustments, the vertebral subluxations begin to resolve. At the same time, a change in the patient's symptoms is observed. Again, nothing in the patient's life changed EXCEPT that he/she began to get adjusted. One cannot prove or disprove that resolution of this patient's symptom was a direct result of resolution of subluxation; however, after repeated observation of similar positive outcomes in a larger number of patients, chiropractic practitioners have gathered a collective sum of data that shows that chiropractic care helps people to create a healing environment in their bodies, in which the body can do what it does best: self-regulate.
The areas of chiropractic research I've written about below should give you some examples of chiropractors' observations of health improvements of patients whose subluxations were corrected. Check back every now and again, as I will update these articles as new research is published. Chiropractic research is a new and quickly growing field, and I will do my best to stay ahead of it in order to share with you the possibilities that chiropractic care can open in people's lives!
Excellent resources for chiropractic research include:
The Australian Spinal Research Foundation (https://spinalresearch.com.au)
The International Pediatric Chiropractic Association (http://icpa4kids.org)
The Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation (https://vertebralsubluxation.org)