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The Benefits Of Spinal Manipulation

The Benefits Of Spinal Manipulation

Every day there are people who suffer with pain on a daily basis without hope of relief. GPs can’t do anything about it except control it with medications or try to stop it with expensive and often even more painful surgeries.

Spinal manipulation can often offer patients an alternative for treatment of back, neck, shoulder and even head pain when traditional therapies have failed.

What is Spinal Manipulation

Spinal Manipulation, also called spinal manipulative therapy, combines the moving and jolting of joints with massage, exercise and physical therapy. The goal of the therapy is to relieve pressure on your joints and muscles to improve nerve function, and reduce pain and inflammation.

Spinal manipulation is usually conducted in a licensed physician’s or a chiropractor’s office and is used to treat back, neck, shoulder and even headache pain. Some chiropractors also believe it can help other disorders such as menstrual pain and sinus problems.

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Does It Work?

There are two camps of people that appear when you discuss the success of spinal manipulation. There are those that swear by it and believe it works and then there are those that believe it is ineffective and dangerous. There are very few studies on spinal manipulation.

In 2007, one study found that spinal manipulation was moderately effective in easing chronic pain in the lower back lasting four or more weeks. Other studies have also shown it effective in treating pain in the neck as well. Still other studies have shown that spinal manipulation may result in mild to moderate adverse effects, though the incidences of these are unknown due to poor reporting.

In the end, your experience will dictate what you think about the treatment should you choose to try it to help relieve your pain.

Is Spinal Manipulation Safe?

When spinal manipulation is performed by a physician that is both trained and licensed to perform the procedures, it is considered safe. But like any treatment, there are risks and the potential for serious complications.

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Some of the most serious complications are herniated disks, compressed nerves, and in some cases it can cause a stroke or even death.

Spinal manipulation is not for everyone. People who have severe osteoporosis, are at risk for stroke, suffer from spinal cancer or have an unstable spine should not undergo spinal manipulative therapy as they are at an even great risk of experiencing potentially dangerous complications.

Because of the dangers associated with the therapy and the lack of proven long term benefits, it remains a controversial therapy today.

The Benefits of Spinal Manipulation

There are many benefits to spinal manipulation that can make it worth a trip to your local chiropractor.

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Pain Relief

The most obvious benefit is relief of pain. Spinal manipulation can almost instantly relieve some or all of your pain you are experiencing in your lower back, back, neck, head and shoulders. Some patients have even reported being pain free in as little as one visit to the chiropractor.

Improve Flexibility

Spinal manipulation can also help you improve your flexibility. If used along with exercise, you can strengthen your core muscles and improve your movement in your back, shoulders and neck. This will give you better flexibility and help you feel better at the same time.

Prevent Surgery

If you have explored all your options to stop your pain and your only alternative is surgery, then you may want to consider spinal manipulation as an alternative before you set foot into an operating room. In some cases, the therapy can reduce or eliminate your symptoms preventing you from having to go under the knife.

Reduce Dependence on Drugs

Finally, using spinal manipulation can help you reduce your dependence on prescription and over the counter pain medication. These medications often dull your mind, harm your internal organs and can even leave you hopelessly addicted to them in the process. All because you were in pain. Spinal manipulation can help you reduce your pain symptoms thereby reducing your need to take those prescription pain pills in the first place. Once you stop taking those pain pills, you will begin to feel better as you wont be in pain or in a fog because of the medication.

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Spinal manipulation is still a controversial treatment but for those of you that are in chronic pain and don’t want to undergo surgery that may or may not even work, it could be the answer to your pain problem. Before undergoing the therapy, however, be sure you talk with your doctor and chiropractor to see if it is right for you in order to minimize the risks associated with the treatment.

Featured photo credit: Alisha Vargas via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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