Can Chiropractic Care Help With Lymphatic Drainage?
Chiropractic care is a form of hands-on, manual manipulation, often aided by tools and equipment designed to maximize the effects.
Lymphatic drainage is a process that occurs when the body is detoxifying fluid through the lymphatic and immune systems. Lymphatic drainage can be stimulated by touch and specific treatments designed to encourage this process; massage therapy is a popular method of encouraging lymphatic drainage.
How does lymphatic drainage work?
The lymphatic system is a part of the immune system, and is responsible for creating, circulating, and disposing of a liquid called “lymph.”
The purpose of lymph in the body is to transport immune cells to areas where bacteria and other foreign invaders may be present. Sometimes, lymph settles in the tissues because of an infection or poor function of lymph nodes, which help to reabsorb lymph.
When the body is not draining lymph properly, for example in the case of lymphedema, fluid will build up in the body’s tissues. When this happens, it can become impossible for the body to drain out lymphatic fluid. Additionally, the collection of stagnant lymph in the body can make the individual more susceptible to infections.
Lymphedema can be caused by the following factors:
- Cancer treatment
- Injury to the lymphatic system and nodes
- Severe infection
- Congestive heart failure (or other heart-related conditions)
- Kidney disease
You may be experiencing lymphedema or another similar condition if you experience the following:
- Swelling in your limbs
- Unusual feeling of “tightness” or “taut” skin
- Burning or itching feeling in the skin
- A thickening of the skin
- A feeling of uncomfortable fullness and heaviness in the body
If you suspect or know that you have a condition which is causing your body to retain lymphatic fluid, you may seek treatment for lymphatic drainage.
Lymphatic Drainage – Treatment
There are several ways of treating lymphatic build-up. While one of the most common forms of treatment for lymphatic drainage is massage therapy, other methods of treatment include the use of compression garments (which help to move fluid under the skin), physical exercise, complete decongestive therapy, or surgical intervention.
Surgeries that exist to treat lymphatic build-up include lymph node transfer, liposuction, debulking, and lymphatic bypass. While surgeries are becoming increasingly less invasive, there are still some risks associated with surgical lymphatic drainage.
Chiropractic Care for Lymphatic Drainage
Chiropractic care works primarily with the neuromusculoskeletal system. The neuromusculoskeletal system comprises the nervous system, the muscular system, and the skeletal system. These three systems work together to allow the body to move from place to place, engage in physical activity, transmit electrical impulses, and regulate other unconscious body functions.
Not surprisingly, the nervous system, muscular system, and skeletal systems connect to all the other systems of the body. As a result, by balancing these three systems and ensuring their relationship is balanced, this creates a balancing ripple-effect across global health in the body.
Lymphatic drainage and chiropractic care is no exception to this rule. If the neuromusculoskeletal system is balanced, the rest of the body also experiences a balancing effect.
Neuromusculoskeletal System & Immune System
Another system that chiropractic care affects is the immune system. This occurs both directly and indirectly:
Indirect Effects on the Immune System
By balancing the nervous, muscular, and skeletal systems, the immune system is indirectly benefited. Because the nervous system regulates many of the body’s resting (homeostatic) processes, balancing the nervous system can lead to a balance in the body’s heart rate, heart rhythm, breathing rate, digestion, and many other automatic processes. This helps to facilitate increased efficiency in the immune system as the body is relaxed and rejuvenated through nervous system support.
By balancing the muscular system, the body also experiences a relaxing and renewing effect, which helps to boost immune system function and efficiency. When the muscular system is tight and unbalanced, the immune system can be strained and unable to function optimally. Muscular tension can lead to restricted or inflamed tissues and lymphatic pathways. Chiropractic care helps to soothe the muscular system and contributes to soft, supple muscles and a relaxed, flexible muscular body.
Addressing the alignment of the spine has huge benefits and positive implications for the immune system. When the spine and other joints are moved out of place, the misaligned areas can invade the space of other tissues and parts of the body. When the misalignment begins to wear on other parts of the body, this can lead to bone spurs, inflammation, slipped discs, and poor posture—all of which can stress the nervous system.
Direct Effect on the Immune System
Chiropractic care nearly always involves some sort of movement of the physical body. Whether this comes in the form of an adjustment, bracing, specific exercises, or spinal traction, a visit to the chiropractor almost always means some kind of hands-on or movement-related treatment.
Chiropractic intervention is associated with improved outcomes in circulation of both blood and lymph in the body. Chiropractic care also increases the amount of cerebrospinal fluid in the body, a fluid that is responsible for detoxifying the brain and supplying nutrients across the blood-brain barrier.
The movement that chiropractic care provides to the body allows lymphatic drainage to occur naturally. An expert chiropractic adjustment or other form of chiropractic manipulation provides a gentle boost of circulation to the entire local area of treatment (and often, the entire body), allowing any stagnant fluid to work itself out of the tissues in which it is trapped and be excreted through the body.
Different from Massage Therapy
Chiropractic care is different from massage therapy in that chiropractic care moves stagnant fluid out of joints, while massage therapy does not include the adjustment and realignment of joints in treatment.
This difference is significant, as stagnant lymph can become trapped in the joints, leading to other inflammatory disorders over time.
If you feel obligated to choose between massage therapy and expert chiropractic care, don’t! Both forms of treatment provide unique and long-term benefits, especially when utilized on a regular basis.
If you’re ready to experience the benefits of expert chiropractic care, Advanced Spine & Posture (ASP) is excited to offer outstanding, individualized treatment plans which are constructed just for you. When you make your first appointment, you experience a comprehensive consultation to determine the best plan of treatment to get you the results you’ve been waiting for. Don’t delay any longer—book your appointment today to begin your journey toward vitality and holistic well-being!