Detox Learning Center

Structural Health 101: How Chiropractic & Craniosacral Therapy Can Change Your Health Journey

If you’ve ever experienced back or neck pain, you are not alone. Spinal pain is one of the most common reasons for visits to doctors and chiropractors. In the United States, people make approximately 280 million visits per year to chiropractors. Spinal issues can arise from accidents, sports-related injuries, poor posture, or a sedentary lifestyle.

Bad posture can cause you a lot of pain, not to mention how it can derail your drainage and detox efforts. If you have problems with your spine and bad posture, you may have gotten used to it, but wouldn’t it feel great to live without pain? 

When the spine is aligned correctly, it minimizes the stress and strain on your body organs, joints, muscles, tendons, and more. It also improves organ and system drainage, ensuring proper lymph flow. If the spine is in alignment, the body can eliminate waste properly during detox.

Improving your body balance, or biomechanics, eliminates pressure on body structures from misalignment. Because everything in the body is connected, proper alignment from chiropractic adjustments and craniosacral therapy can improve drainage, detox, and your body’s ability to heal. (1)

What Is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a healthcare profession focused on diagnosing and treating neuromuscular disorders, emphasizing manual treatment of the spine. Chiropractic care can help support your nervous system and improve your blood flow. 

Chiropractors use their hands or small instruments to manipulate your spine in the areas that are putting pressure on your nerves. These manipulations can erase years of damage and misalignment, helping you to return to a healthy, pain-free state. (2, 3)

Nerve Interference

Nerve function can be altered by chemical, emotional, and physical stressors to organs or tissues. Any form of stress can have negative effects, such as: (4)

  • Constipation
  • Digestion issues
  • Faster heart rate
  • Increased stress hormones
  • Muscle tension
  • Poor breathing

Abnormal motion at the vertebrae surrounding the spinal nerve can cause pain and discomfort in the connected, irritated tissues. (5)

Getting a good chiropractic adjustment can help restore normal motion to an area, improving blood flow to your tissues. Nerves are sensitive to tension and pressure, which can alter how they send their messages to the body’s organs and tissues. When a chiropractic adjustment eases harmful tensions, the nerves are no longer stressed and can return to their normal firing. (6)

Spinal Nerves and Their Connections

The spine is made up of 24 individual bones called vertebrae separated into sections. There are seven cervical vertebrae, twelve thoracic vertebrae, and five lumbar vertebrae. Each section corresponds to and affects certain sections, structures, and organs of the body.

Cervical (neck) vertebrae (7)

The cervical vertebrae contain nerves that control and affect the chest, diaphragm, esophagus, eyes, heart, intracranial blood vessels, lungs, neck muscles, scalp, and upper extremities. 

Symptoms associated with cervical vertebrae and nerve dysfunction include: (7)

  • Allergies
  • Arm pain
  • Asthma
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Hand and finger tingling
  • Headaches
  • Head colds
  • Heart conditions
  • High blood pressure
  • Runny nose
  • Sinus issues
  • Sore throat
  • Stiff neck
  • Vision problems

Thoracic (upper/mid back) vertebrae (12)

There are 12 thoracic vertebrae, which control and affect the arms, colon, digestive organs, esophagus, gallbladder, heart, larynx, liver, lungs, pancreas, small intestine, spleen, stomach, and trachea. 

Symptoms associated with thoracic vertebrae and nerve dysfunction include: (8)

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Congestion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Gallbladder conditions
  • Gastritis
  • Hand or wrist numbness or pain
  • Heart conditions
  • High blood pressure
  • Jaundice
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver conditions
  • Middle back pain
  • Pneumonia
  • Stomach problems
  • Ulcers

Lumbar (low back/tailbone) vertebrae (5)

The 5 lumbar vertebrae control and affect the bladder, colon, kidneys, large intestine, lower extremities, prostate, and reproductive organs. 

Symptoms associated with the lumbar vertebrae and nerve dysfunction include: (9)

  • Bladder problems
  • Colitis
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas pain
  • Irritable bowel
  • Lower back pain
  • Menstrual problems
  • Pain or numbness in legs

Chiropractic Adjustment Benefits

With chiropractic support, adjustments can result in the following benefits: (10)

  • Better sleep
  • Easier breathing
  • Improved focus
  • Improved digestive function
  • Improved movement
  • Improved sinus function
  • Less brain fog
  • Less head pain and tension

What Is Craniosacral Therapy?

Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction, plus benefit whole-body health and performance. Using a soft touch that is generally no greater than five grams — about the weight of a nickel —  practitioners release restrictions in the soft tissues surrounding the central nervous system. 

CST is used as a preventive health measure to bolster disease resistance, and it is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction. 

The craniosacral system comprises membranes and fluid (cerebrospinal fluid [CSF]) that surround, protect, and nourish the brain and spinal cord. (11)

How Does Craniosacral Therapy Work?

The craniosacral system heavily influences the central nervous system. Imbalance due to injury, stress, and tension can cause distortions in the craniosacral system. These distortions can create tension around the brain and spinal cord, restricting the flow of CSF.

You can think of the spine as a rope that connects the cranium (head) and sacrum/coccyx (bones at the end of the spine). Inside that rope is the cerebrospinal fluid that flows through the brain and down the spinal cord. Restrictions anywhere along that system can cause any number of symptoms and ailments.

The craniosacral system works with the nervous system and the membranes and bones in the cranium and sacrum. With gentle finger pressure, a craniosacral therapist searches for constricted areas and guides them to realign themselves. 

The CSF, which flows within the brain and spinal cord, eliminates toxic waste in the brain and acts as a shock absorber to cushion the brain. (12, 13)

What to Expect During a Craniosacral Therapy Session

CST sessions are non-invasive. During a session, you would lie on a comfortable table fully clothed. The practitioner uses gentle finger pressure to release tension and realign fascia (connective tissue) throughout your body. 

Sessions range from approximately 45 minutes to 120 minutes, depending on the issues being addressed. Most people experience a feeling of deep relaxation during and after a session, plus a release of tension and pain. (14)

Craniosacral Therapy Benefits

Craniosacral therapy has many benefits. For example, it can help food to digest, especially after treatment on the diaphragm and sternum. It could also assist with the following conditions: (15)

  • ADD/ADHD
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Central nervous system disorders
  • Constipation
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Poor sleep
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Sinus infections
  • Scoliosis
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD)
  • Whiplash

Because chiropractors work on the spine and craniosacral therapists work on the structures and soft tissues affecting the spinal cord, the two therapies work together like a finely tuned machine. 

When the spine is in alignment and the CSF flows properly, the body can restore and heal itself. A few visits to your chiropractor and craniosacral therapist can support your entire body during drainage and detox, making your road to recovery a faster, more complete, and enjoyable journey toward perfect health.

Chiropractic Care, Craniosacral Therapy, and Drainage

Like other areas of the body, the lymphatic system can also malfunction. When that happens, the lymph cannot flow properly, flushing toxins out of the body as it should. There are several ways chiropractic care and CST can help with lymphatic function. (16, 17)

Many lymph nodes and ducts are located near the spine. If the vertebrae are out of alignment, it can put pressure on the lymph nodes, impairing their function. A chiropractic adjustment can relieve that pressure, restoring the function of the lymph nodes and supporting proper drainage. 

Like chiropractic care, CST can help increase the flow of the CSF in your brain and spinal cord. If that fluid is flowing and draining properly, cognitive function can improve, and bouts of brain fog can lessen or disappear altogether. (18, 19)

Chiropractic Care, Craniosacral Therapy, and Detox

Many people feel ill or nauseous after a good adjustment. The reason for this is that when the vertebrae are pushed back into alignment, it restores proper flow of lymph drainage. The body then naturally rids itself of toxins, contributing to the temporary ill feelings. 

Nausea or slight ill feelings usually disappear no longer than two days after an adjustment. Increasing your water intake can help with detoxification and lessen the feeling of being unwell. 

Craniosacral therapy can also assist in detox, as it can open up drainage pathways by cleaning out the brain via the cerebrospinal fluid. Overall, this results in clearer thinking and improved outcomes in brain injury and disease (20, 21)

A Final Word on Structural Health and Your Detox Journey

Your body reacts to chemical signals all day long. When anything blocks those signals, such as improper spinal alignment or imbalance in the tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord, flow can become impaired or blocked. The end result: dysfunction and disease. This is why taking a closer look at your structural health may make a big difference. 

After attending to your structural health, it could be good to dive deeper into your detox regimen. By supporting your body as it attempts to rid itself of toxins, you can be well on your way to achieving a healthy lifestyle free of pain and toxins.

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