Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Can Your Chiropractor Help You Lose Weight?


When thinking about losing weight, the idea of seeking a chiropractor is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. Often people think of chiropractic only as a therapy for conditions related to muscles and joints.  Chiropractors are indeed musculoskeletal specialists, however, they are most importantly concerned with your overall wellness.

Many chiropractors incorporate nutritional, diet, and exercise programs into his/her care plans. Why you ask? Excess weight on the body not only contributes to chronic and life threatening diseases, but can also cause direct pain due to excess weight around the joints and muscles. When we are carrying excess fat mass, our center of gravity is thrown off.  When our weight is not distributed equally, excess strain is placed in areas that are not designed to do so. As a result, pain in the back, neck, hips, shoulders, knees, and feet may occur.  

Most chiropractors are well trained in the area of nutrition (have taken courses such as biochemistry, nutrition, rehabilitation and exercise prescription) and can advise you on what and how to develop a safe weight loss strategy (depending on your desired goals). Furthermore, chiropractors can provide ongoing support and answer questions throughout your weight loss journey towards greater health.

A recent study (2014) was conducted on weight loss programs prescribed by chiropractors. The researchers looked at results of a 13-week weight loss program given by chiropractors to 30 patients who were considered overweight or obese. At the end of the program, 16/30 individuals had significant results and reduced health risk.  This study demonstrates the effectiveness of weight loss programs being implemented by chiropractors.

In addition, pain causes stress and stress causes pain. What does this have to do with weight loss and chiropractic? Well, pain causes stress because it interferes with things that are important to us. When we are stressed, our Cortisol hormone levels can rise. Cortisol increases fat storage and appetite, thus contributing to weight gain. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy, and helps to maintain a stable blood sugar level. If your chiropractor can prevent or reduce pain from occurring, then our cortisol levels may drop due to reduced chronic stress. This being another great reason to visit your chiropractor.

Would an adjustment help me lose weight? An adjustment helps to increase the range of motion through a joint allowing you to move more freely and painlessly. When we feel great, we are better able to exercise, play sports and complete our daily activities of living pain free. 

Chiropractic adjustments may aid in weight loss at the level of the nervous system. Certain nerves come out of the spinal cord and control our gastrointestinal tract, stomach, and appetite. Manipulation of these nerves may regulate digestion and the rate at which food passes through. Furthermore, people suffering from problems such as bloating, diarrhea, constipation, IBS and Crohns often get low back pain as a result, which chiropractors can help alleviate.

Be aware that Chiropractors cannot cause instant weight loss, however they can ease you through the process and help keep your goals on track. Like anything, weight loss requires personal commitment and goal setting. In the end, you may feel more confident and ultimately better your overall health. Choose a chiropractor you can be comfortable and connect with through your weight loss journey.  

Dr Stacia Kelly




References

1. DeMaria, et al. A weight loss program in a chiropractic practice: a retrospective analysis. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2013.

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