What's a Telomere?
Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes (genes), like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces. Without the coating, shoelaces become frayed until they can no longer do their job. Without telomeres our DNA strands become damaged and our cells can't do their job.
“Research is revealing that vertebral subluxations effect the nervous system and have wide ranging effects on the chemistry of the body.” stated Curtis Fedorchuk DC, the lead author of the study. Fedorchuk continued “This case is just the beginning of some very exciting research into the beneficial effects of chiropractic beyond neck and back pain.”
“This research is important because telomeres are an essential part of human cells that affect how our cells age” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and one of the co-authors of the study. McCoy added “Our cells replenish by copying themselves and this happens constantly throughout our lives. Telomeres get shorter each time a cell copies itself and eventually they get too short and cause our cells to age.”
Douglas Lightstone DC, another author of the study stated “Abnormal spinal alignment, subluxation and posture are associated with poor general health, physical function, emotional function, social function, and back pain. Normal spinal curves provide shock absorption and leverage, which protect the spinal cord and nerve tissue from the forces of gravity and other daily traumas one may encounter.”
“Abnormal spinal alignment and posture also increase stress and strain to the nerve and blood supply of the spinal cord. This can seriously affect the nervous system and the theory is that because the nervous system controls all functions of the body this can negatively affect our biochemistry including telomere length” stated Deed Harrison DC who was also involved in the study.
The scientific literature supports the effectiveness of chiropractic to restore healthy spinal alignment and posture according to established normal values, thereby lowering the risk of degeneration and poor health. Increasing telomere length may be one way it does this. The patient reported on in the study went to the chiropractor with complaints of chronic neck and mid-back pain as well as nocturnal polyuria where she would need to wake up to urinate four times per night.
The chiropractor examined the patient and found structural shifts in her spine including a loss of the normal spinal curves. Testing of her nervous system revealed obstruction due to the problems in her spine. Structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct. She also had her blood drawn and analyzed for telomere length.
The patient was seen for 36 visits over 5 months while she maintained her regular lifestyle throughout the chiropractic care. The patient reported her pain resolved and her quality of life improved. Her structural spinal shifts, subluxations and spinal curves improved and she no longer needed to urinate at night. The patient had blood drawn again to assess her telomere length which increased significantly.
The study’s authors called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic on telomere length. CLICK HERE to review the study.
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