What is the No. 1 factor affecting happiness? Health, according to scientific studies.  Specifically, people in excellent health are almost twice as likely to be happier than those in merely good health. Conversely, poor health equates to a 70 percent reduced likelihood of happiness.

That’s why it is essential to put your family’s health first — especially during stressful times.

Along with health, research indicates that friends are crucial to happiness. The results, which appear in the British Medical Journal, demonstrate that if your friends are happy, you are more likely to be happy. What’s more, this phenomenon affects people up to three degrees removed! That means, if your friends have happy friends, you are more likely to be happy — even if you have never met your friends’ friends.

How do you, your family and friends regain and protect your health and happiness?

Most people are aware that chiropractic benefits the spine. However, many people remain unaware that the advantages of chiropractic care extend far beyond the spine. Chiropractic is a preventive, wellness-centered approach, which addresses the well-being of the entire body. Dr. Maxwell wants you to know that regular chiropractic care can not only help you heal from current health challenges, but may also reduce your chances of developing chronic ailments.

Wellness-Care Quest

Doctors of chiropractic advocate preventing disease and illness before the onset of symptoms. And this message is sinking in: One study reveals that chiropractic patients seek comprehensive wellness care, not just relief from a stiff neck or back. The report included 1,316 patients attending 27 different chiropractic clinics in the US, Europe and Australia.  A survey to assess the patients’ motivation for seeking care revealed that “more than 40% of chiropractic patient visits were initiated for the purposes of health enhancement and/or disease prevention.” (J Cannadian Chiro Assn 2008;52:175-84.)

Spinal Column Connection

Dr. Maxwell views the body as a connected entity — not isolated parts to be treated separately. Imbalance in one area of the body affects the rest of the system.  The spinal column houses the spinal cord, which is the main component of the nervous system. Scientists theorize that a dysfunction of the spinal column may influence the nervous system, in turn impairing immune function (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2008;31:258-70).

Chiropractic and Nerve Impulses

Researchers hypothesize that vertebral subluxation in the spinal column may disturb the natural flow of nerve impulses.  Vertebral subluxation is a common condition in which spinal bones or vertebrae become misaligned, often causing limited range of motion and pain.  Dr. Maxwell uses safe and effective maneuvers, called chiropractic adjustments, to correct vertebral subluxations.  Normalized spinal function promotes the body’s natural healing process.

Inflammation & Immunity

It’s also possible that chiropractic care may bolster the immune system in other ways besides influencing the flow of nerve impulses.  Chiropractic adjustments may reduce the number of inflammatory proteins, called cytokines, throughout the body.  These chemicals direct immunity, inflammation and the formation of blood. In one report, researchers documented that following chiropractic care, pro-inflammatory cytokine levels fell dramatically throughout the body, not just in the area near the joint that was adjusted.

As part of the experiment, researchers divided 64 volunteers into three groups: 1) an intervention group undergoing chiropractic care, 2) a control group receiving “sham” spinal manipulation and 3) a control group that received no intervention. The scientists took blood and serum samples 20 minutes and two hours after the chiropractic adjustment or the control procedure. A “significant” number of control subjects demonstrated “progressive increases” in the synthesis of two cytokines.  This indicates an increase in the inflammatory response. On the other hand, the chiropractic group showed a gradual decrease in production of both cytokines. The authors conclude, “This suggests SMT (spinal manipulation therapy)-related down-regulation of inflammatory-type responses via a central yet unknown mechanism.” (J Manipulative  Physiol Ther 2006;29:14-21.)

Keep Cold and Flu at Bay

If you or anyone you know tends to get sick often, make sure to schedule an appointment with our office right away. Strengthening the immune system is a fundamental, all-natural way to stay well. In addition, chiropractic care reduces stress, which can also contribute to incidence of sickness. Health and happiness linked again.

Avoid Chronic Disease

Bolstering the immune system also helps the body fend off chronic diseases. New research indicates that chiropractic care may ward off conditions affecting organs and systems throughout the body.

Lower Blood Pressure

Uncontrolled high blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure or kidney failure.  Because there are no symptoms, individuals often have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. The good news is that research shows that chiropractic adjustments to restore alignment to the spine of the upper neck lower blood pressure.  During an eight-week study, researchers divided 50 patients with hypertension who weren’t taking medication for the condition into two groups. While 25 underwent chiropractic care, the remainder received a sham procedure. The chiropractic group enjoyed significant drops in both systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure, compared with those receiving the sham procedure (J Hum Hypertens 2007;21:1-4). Lower blood pressure, results in health and happiness.

Boost Lung Function

Chiropractic adjustments may also improve lung function. Twenty healthy, nonsmoking participants underwent three interventions: exercise only, chiropractic care only and chiropractic care coupled with exercise.  The volunteers were between the ages of 18 and 28 years.  Chiropractic care involved six sessions over a four-week period.  Results revealed that chiropractic care “appeared to increase the respiratory function of normal individuals.” (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2007;30:509-13.) Breathing with easy, results in health and happiness.

Avert Asthma

Asthmatics can rejoice: Chiropractic may be an all-natural way to reduce symptoms. One study tracked a child who had suffered with asthma for six years. She took several medications daily, but her asthma remained uncontrolled. Following chiropractic care, which was focused on correcting vertebral subluxations in her spine, the patient’s mother reported “instant reduction in cough.” One month later, the patient discontinued all medication. At pediatrician appointments she exhibited a “marked” increase in lung volume. The study’s researchers conclude that “the chiropractic care of a patient with vertebral subluxations, [difficulty breathing], and severe asthma with chronic cough produced marked resolution of the patient’s symptoms, concomitant with an increase in lung volume and a reduction in the signs of subluxation finding.” (JVSR 2007;1.) Being less dependent on medication, results in health and happiness.

Prevent TMJ

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint between the head of the lower jawbone and the temporal bone. It’s the joint that facilitates movement of the lower jaw. Misalignment in the TMJ sparks teeth grinding and pain that may radiate from the jaw to the ear, neck and entire head. Misalignments in the spinal bones (vertebrae) of the neck (cervical spine) may lead to TMJ. Regular chiropractic adjustments realign both the TMJ and spinal vertebrae, preventing temporomandibular disorder. Moving your jaw…is the ultimate expression of happiness, as you smiling pain free, is a sign of happiness.

Why Wait?

Would you wait until dental cavities form before seeing a dentist? Would you wait until vision problems ensue before going to an optometrist? Just with other aspects of your health, prevention is key when it comes to your happiness, and your wellness.

When you, your family, and your friends are healthy….you are happier.  To find out more about the powerful connection between mind, body and spirit, call Dr. Kimberly Maxwell at (406) 585-7000.  Abundant Health Family Chiropractic in Bozeman is THE go-to resource for the health and wellbeing of your entire family, starting with prenatal care