Dr Pete

How to Get The Most Out of Your Adjustment and Other Common Questions

Answered by Dr. Pete from Island Family Chiropractic

From our Live with Dr Pete Series on Instagram, Dr. Pete answers some commonly asked questions about chiropractic care.

Below we address the questions from the session such as:

Are toxins released during an adjustment?

The answer is no. It’s very simple, what happens is we have different pain chemicals, and people think the pain comes from lactic acid-there is one pain chemical called substance-P, I think they ran out of names. 

What happens is when you work on the muscles doing muscle work, yes, toxins are released. The toxins touch the receptors and that's what creates the feeling of pain. Strong healthy muscle tissues don't create that pain. There are different chemicals, enkephalins and endorphins that are released. 

When you do an adjustment these endorphins are released. Adjustments do also stimulate the pituitary gland. It does break down muscle spasms with the speed of the manipulation. 

Follow up question-what does the pituitary do and how do adjustments affect the pituitary?

The pituitary releases antidiuretic hormone, controls kidneys, digestion, and releases relaxins. It is one of the many things that is stimulated in the brian during chiropractic adjustments. 

A completely inaccurate myth is that we are back doctors, we are nervous system doctors. We are realigning the messages of the brain to the central nervous system using the spine as a venue to get into  the nervous system without having to cut you open and stimulate the nervous system. 

Is there anything to not do after a chiropractic adjustment?

There are myths that you have to lay still and turn off the lights and not move to hold your adjustment. There is very little that you have to do, actually it is the opposite. You do feel fantastic after the adjustment. It is great to workout after, because adjustments increase stability and strength. You could go to the gym and bench press an SUV because you will feel stronger. 

I don't like when people have to go back to the stressful situation that caused the pain. I recommend doing something relaxing after if possible. 

How do you get the most out of your adjustment?

What I believe, in my practice and experience, is timing. Don't go past your expiration date. It is easier to maintain than to have to restart the process when you are in pain again. 

I like to do adjustments  later in the week, because then it starts off the weekend in a good place. But some people like to come in on Monday's and start the week out right. Time of day, I recommend the end of the day. However, if you have a migraine, coming in the morning is good. 

The same goes for people that are asking if they should get an adjustment before or after a massage. I think getting an adjustment before the massage is best. Having some tension before the adjustment is good, the adjustment facilitates releasing and then getting deeper into the massage, is best. If you come after a workout, it enhances recovery, but before the workout will enhance your workout performance. To each their own. 

What is the CNS and how is it protected?

We have multiple nervous systems.  We have the CNS brain and spinal cord. You develop these the first thing in the embryo. Exponentially these cells go on to create the rest of your organs within the first week of the egg being fertilized. The nervous system has the autonomic and the peripheral nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is what happens automatically - digesting, swallowing. 

The sympathetic nervous system is the tiger chasing you, creating feelings of anger and tension for example things like sitting in traffic.The parasympathetic controls heart rate, blood flow, and calming the body down. The nervous system sends giant waves and signals to the brain and then comes back down and you either get the calming effect or the stimulated effect. 

What happens to the CNS when you have chronic pain or chronic inflammation going on? 

For one thing it is releasing cortisol. So, it can burn out your organs and make you tired and fatigued and cranky. This can lead to other immune system issues. It can make you more susceptible to colds and flus. When the body is at homeostasis everything is good. Then it can get aggravated and dis-ease happens because things become off kilter. Dis-ease left long enough will turn into disease which can create emotions of anger or depression.. chronic comes from the latin word chronis which means time. 

Chronic pain is when you injure something and you don't realize it or you don’t take care of the injury properly. What happens is, if you have an issue that happens to your body that is acute and it lasts 3-4 days. If you don't take care of it and fix the problem within 8-12 weeks over time it goes from being acute to being chronic. Driving a car, riding a bike, eating food, these are all things you cant unlearn. Once you've learned them you don't unlearn them. 

Chronic pain means you have learned it and you can only become 80-90% better. Chronic pain becomes waves of the ocean where the pain comes and goes sometimes better sometimes worse, but never completely gone. We now know that your system knows these pain for life. When you are feeling good getting treatment, enjoy these moments because your body remembers these chronic pain states.

Do you have any experience treating hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?

Yes I have had many, I had a patient say they would pack themselves up in a suitcase to come get treated by me in Hawaii from the states haha. They are so hyper-flexible that they need treatment. Their joints and tendons are working so hard all the time. We want to relax their muscles and make sure the joints are stable and regular adjustments help with this. They are perfect candidates for chiropractic care. 

What to know more or have a question of your own? Follow us on Instagram and join our weekly Live With Dr. Pete series.