In most circles, chiropractic medicine is associated with muscle and spine adjustments. Yet, the practice has a greater, fuller goal: improving an individual’s overall quality of health and life, regardless of age. As a healing art, this form of care has become the most pervasive natural health profession on a global scale and, through treatment, takes the body’s innate responsiveness and recuperation into consideration.
Although spinal adjustments are the quintessential form of practice, chiropractic medicine can be applied to other aspects of the body and health. Several conditions, from lupus to bed wetting to automobile accident-related injuries, positively respond to chiropractic treatment. While standard medical treatments, however, target the pain, chiropractic medicine aims to lessen the risks of illness and improve an individual’s overall health.
Improving strength is a core component of chiropractic treatment, with the goal of developing stronger muscles, better posture, and freer movement. An adult’s typical lifestyle – spending at least eight hours per day, five days per week, at a desk or driving, with limited physical activity – does not challenge his or her body, which weakens and imbalances the muscles. Strength correlates with better balance through a concept known as “reciprocal inhibition.”
If you are unfamiliar with reciprocal inhibition, it concerns corresponding muscles on both sides of the body, moving in opposite directions. A healthier, more balanced body naturally prevents the muscle groups from working against each other. However, modern lifestyle counteracts, often resulting in one group contracting and the other relaxing, getting less use, and ultimately atrophying over time.
Common muscle groups experiencing this syndrome are the front and back muscles, weakened from a lack of activity during the day. Between these two opposite groups, the front end, or chest, muscles are more active in a sedentary environment, resulting in an imbalance of strength. Long-term ramifications of the imbalance are poor posture, muscle spasms, and chronic pain.
Improved muscle coordination and strength lead to another wellness benefit: better balance. Like strength, balance is undermined by common, sedentary everyday activities. Extreme stress – which an individual may not even be aware of – results, contributing to tightened sensations, limited movement, and joint pain.
Corrective treatment with the ultimate goal of improvement consists of exercises and chiropractic care to strengthen back muscles. Although a sedentary lifestyle cannot fully be eliminated, replacing personal down time with exercises to strengthen the muscle groups may lead to better balance.