While chiropractic treatments are most close associated with personal injuries such as whiplash or chronic back pain, chiropractic care has also proven effective in managing a variety of conditions and even some diseases. For example, studies show that regular chiropractic treatments can help diabetics achieve a better degree of wellness.
Diabetes is at epidemic proportions in the United States. It is estimated that 33 percent of males and 40 percent of females born in 2000 will suffer from diabetes at some point in their life. It is the fifth leading cause of death among Americans and the number of reported cases is rising around the world.
At first glance it may seem odd that spinal alignment has anything to do with maintaining proper blood sugar levels. But the human body is an intricate, interconnected entity. So if the nerve transmissions from the upper neck or middle back—the two areas that transmit to the pancreas—are in some way disturbed it causes pancreatic function to suffer. The pancreas is where insulin is produced so if that is not functioning properly then blood sugar levels and digestion can become unstable, resulting in either in diabetes or hypoglycemia.
A study published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research found a positive benefit from chiropractic care when included in an integrative treatment approach for adult onset diabetes along with nutritional and exercise programs. After one month, the participant’s blood glucose and urine levels normalized and remained stable, which if maintained would mean the patient would not have to take insulin injections.
When treating a patient with Type 2 diabetes, most chiropractors will offer advice on nutrition and also stress the importance of exercise in managing the condition. In fact, a study published in the British Medical Journal presented strong evidence that physical activity was as effective as prescription drugs in the prevention of diabetes and coronary heart disease, and even more effective for stroke rehabilitation. The results were so definitive that the researchers suggested exercise should be considered as a viable alternative to some drug therapy and should be used to complement others.
The researchers also urged pharmaceutical companies to test their medications against exercise therapies. The reason being: if there is little or no benefit to taking an often expensive drug with potential side effects as opposed to exercising, patients deserve to know so they can make an informed decision about what treatment course they want to follow. Most simply do not appreciate the relative impact that physical activity might have on their condition says Huseyin Naci, of the London School of Economics and Political Science who co-authored the study with John Ioannidis of Stanford University.
The researchers note that eight out of ten Americans do not meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity; but spending on prescribed pharmaceuticals more than doubled between 1999 and 2008.
The exercise study analyzed 305 random, controlled trials involving 339,374 participants. Heart failure was the only condition that benefited more from drugs, specifically diuretics.