It’s a new year and whilst we all have resolutions at the forefront of our agendas, the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA) has highlighted six reasons why you should think about including chiropractic care as part of your healthcare regime in 2017.
1) Improved Sporting Outcomes
The world’s fastest man Usain Bolt, multiple world champion shotputter Valerie Adams and all All Blacks great Mils Muliaina are just some of the sporting legends who swear by chiropractic care. And the latest research backs them up, a series of studies, including one just published in Brain Sciences byDr Heidi Haavik PhD and her team at the Centre for Chiropractic Research at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic show large changes in the maximum output of the muscle after a chiropractic adjustment session, which suggests that chiropractic care may help athletes’ brains to more efficiently produce greater physical outputs through better co-ordination of muscles.
2) Improved Pelvic Floor Function for Women
We now know that chiropractic care for women during their pregnancy gives them a greater ability to relax the pelvic floor. For pregnant women, this has the potential to give them a greater degree of control over the pelvic floor muscles, which in turn may make vaginal childbirth easier. Research into this is still at an early stage so we can only speculate on what the impact could be in terms of reduced need for medical intervention, or increased well-being of mother and child. But it does show us that chiropractic may be of significant benefit to pregnant women.
3) Improved Ageing, Less Falls
A growing body of research suggests that chiropractic care may slow the rate of functional decline as you age, preserve your autonomy, improve your well-being and reduce accidents. It could also save New Zealand millions of dollars in the longer term. Dr Kelly Holt, Dean of Research at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic and his team recently published the results of a research study in New Zealand which has shown chiropractic care in a group aged 65 to 89 can significantly impact several factors that influence the prevention of falls.
4) Improved Sex Life
According to a number of studies including one by a team at the Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland, published in the international journal Health Psychology, poor posture could be putting our sex drive in jeopardy, causing shallow breathing and exacerbating feelings of stress, which affects our sleep and energy levels. Your family chiropractor will be able to advise you on ways to improve your posture and ensure you have a healthier spine, as a healthy spine and nervous system is a key part of overall health and wellbeing.
5) Improved Posture – coping with those heels and bags
Your choice of handbag you carry, the weight of books in your children’s school bags and how often you totter about in stratospheric high heels may be affecting your natural posture and damaging health long term. Dr Cassandra Fairest explains: `Over time, physical adaptation and stress can make your body lopsided and affect your spinal posture. Chiropractors are highly trained in assessing and assisting with the adverse effects that this may have.’
6) Improved Living
Chiropractic care is not just about bad backs – it may have a direct effect on the health and integrity of the entire nervous system. A study on the effects of manipulation of the spine on brain function published last year in the journal Neural Plasticity suggests that, at least in part, the mechanisms by which spinal manipulation improves performance are due to a change in processing of information at the prefrontal cortex, which is an area of the brain that is implicated in planning complex behaviours, personality expression, decision making, moderating social behaviour and other higher cognitive functions.
Dr Fairest adds: `In 2017 we want to encourage New Zealanders to visit their chiropractor to ensure that their spines and nervous systems are functioning well. A local NZCA chiropractor will be able to provide advice on ways to improve posture, enhance coordination and support a healthy spine. A healthy spine and well-functioning nervous system is important for overall health and wellbeing.’
 Haavik H, Niazi IK, Jochumsen M, Sherwin D, Flavel S, Türker KS. (2017) Impact of spinal manipulation on cortical drive to upper and lower limb muscles. Brain Sciences. In Press
 Pelvic floor functional changes with spinal manipulation in pregnant and non-pregnant women: A pilot study. JMPT 2016.
 Holt, Kelly R et al, “Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care to Improve Sensorimotor Function Associated With Falls Risk in Older People: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.