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Chiropractic, The Original Flu Treatment

Did you know the flu pandemic of 1918 contributed to the beginning and growth of the chiropractic profession. How?, you ask.

The flu pandemic of 1918 produced the deadliest infection in modern history, infecting an estimated 500 million people throughout the world. The pandemic infected almost one-third of the world’s population killing between 20 and 50 million people. More than 25 percent of the U.S. population became sick, and over half a million Americans died during the pandemic.

No effective drugs or vaccines existed at the time of the pandemic. People possessed no real treatments or means of preventing the spread of the strain. American citizens were ordered to wear masks while schools and other places of mass gathering were shut down. But not everyone was succumbing to the virus.

And this interesting sub-population of people protected from the flu gained significant attention during and after the 1918 flu pandemic. Chiropractic research led to pockets of communities where doctors and osteopaths of the time administered spinal adjustments that focused on the health and well-being of the nervous system. Medical statistics in Davenport, Iowa, detailed 4,953 cases of flu were treated by 50 medical doctors. 274 of those patients perished from the virus. Approximately 150 Chiropractors and Chiropractic students cared for 1,635 patients with the flu; only one death occurred. 9.2 percent of flu cases that sought medical attention died during this terrible season. Only one-fourth of one percent (.0025 percent) of patients receiving Chiropractic adjustments died during the pandemic. Chiropractic patients experience approximately 1/40th of the death rate experienced by those patients seeking medical intervention. The flu pandemic of 1918 put Chiropractic in the national spotlight as an alternative form of health care that focused on the intelligent power within the body.

The observations during the 1918 flu pandemic did not fall unnoticed by current health researchers. In fact some of the most forward thinking, cutting edge research has demonstrated that Chiropractic adjustment of the spine boosts the function of your immune system.

Chiropractic Adjustments Increase Immune Cells to Fight Viruses

A 2010 research study the Journal of Chiropractic and Osteopathy called “Interleukin 2-regulated in vitro antibody production following a single spinal manipulative treatment in normal subjects”.

Here’s the details of the study:

  • 74 age and sex-matched healthy asymptomatic subjects were studied
  • Subjects were assigned randomly into three groups.
  • Group one was the venipuncture control group. Group two received a spinal manipulative treatment without “popping” (cavitation). And group 3 received a spinal manipulative treatment with “popping” (cavitation).
  • Blood samples were obtained from the subjects before, at 20 minutes after, and at two hours post treatment.
  • Determinations of the levels of immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin M production in cultures were performed by specific immunoassays. Immunoglobulins are antibodies that act as defenders for the body.
  • The production of interleukin-two induced Immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin M wassignificantly increased in cultures from subjects treated with spinal manipulation.
  • At 20 minutes post manipulation, immunoglobulin G synthesis was significantly elevated in subjects who received manipulation with cavitation, relative to subjects in the control group.
  • At 2 hours post treatment, immunoglobulin M synthesis was significantly elevated in subjects who received manipulation relative to the control group.
  • Spinal manipulative treatment increases antibody synthesis induced by interleukin-2 in asymptomatic patients.
    In conclusion, spinal manipulative treatment will influence interleukin-2 regulated biological processes.

This study explains why chiropractic should play a role in immune-boosting strategies for both children and adults.

The same type of adjustments that helped many Americans experience only 1/40th the death rate during the flu pandemic of 1918, are given today in Chiropractic clinics all over the world with similar immune-building benefits.

As the flu season arrives, one of the most important and evidence-based measures a family can take towards preventing or overcoming the flu is to keep up with their routine spinal care with their Chiropractor.

Additional considerations:

In addition to routine Chiropractic care, the Doctors at Back 2 Health recommend the following evidence-based recommendations.

Avoid sugar intake during flu season to keep your immune system functioning at its highest possible level. Studies have demonstrated that a blood sugar level of only 120 can depress your immune system function by up to 75% for 4-6 hour! Avoid sugars like they were…the flu!

Get adequate rest. Try to get at least 7-8 hours of rest per evening. Exercise is good, but avoid overtaxing or excessive physical stress on the body during flu season.

Wash your hands frequently and avoid those that are actively infected. The age-old, common-sense, recommendations your mother gave you still hold true today! Avoid places where active flu infection may be common unless absolutely necessary… like the hospital or urgent care centers.

Boost your Vitamin D intake. Vitamin D supplementation is an inexpensive way to boost your immune system during the winter months. A huge global research study completed in 2017 demonstrated that Vitamin D supplementation benefits extend beyond bone health and have a positive impact on your immune system.

Do you have any further questions? Don’t hesitate to contact the Doctors or staff at Back 2 Health to help you put together your family’s flu-prevention game plan!

Back 2 Health Family Wellness Center
2551 RR 611 Scotrun Plaza, Scotrun, PA 18355