Even though I’m a chiropractor, most people who have been reading my articles and blog posts for awhile know that I don’t speak much about chiropractic. When I first graduated from chiropractic school in March of 1999 and envisioned opening up my practice, I didn’t consider doing much with nutrition and the other lifestyle factors. And for the first few years of my practice I didn’t do much with regards to nutrition, stress management, detoxification, etc. It wasn’t until I began helping people with fibromyalgia a few years into practicing when I realized that many people need more than chiropractic care. And of course my life changed dramatically when I personally was diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroid condition.
Although I’m still a big advocate of chiropractic care, these days I’m admittedly more of a nutritionist and functional medicine practitioner than I am a chiropractor. Since being diagnosed with Graves’ Disease I went on to achieve numerous certifications in nutrition and herbal therapy, also received a masters of science degree in human nutrition and functional medicine, and I plan to continue receiving ongoing education and training in the years to come, as I’m always looking to expand my knowledge and keep up with the latest research. Although I still love chiropractic, when trying to restore the health of someone with a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid condition, it is of course important for the person to eat well, take certain nutritional supplements, improve their stress handling skills, minimize their exposure to environmental toxins, etc.
Is Chiropractic Care Necessary For Optimal Thyroid Health?
Most people reading this wouldn’t associate chiropractic care with optimal thyroid function. And of course most thyroid conditions are actually autoimmune conditions which affect the thyroid gland. But either way, what the heck does chiropractic have to do with improving the health of the immune system, or someone’s thyroid health directly for those cases which aren’t autoimmune? Truth to be told, most people with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions don’t need to receive chiropractic care in order to restore their health back to normal.
With that being said, if you understand that chiropractic is more than just cracking backs and twisting and popping necks then you will realize that chiropractic can be important for anyone to achieve optimal health. This might sound hypocritical of someone who rarely talks about chiropractic in his articles, blog posts, and webinars. Once again, I’m not suggesting that receiving chiropractic care is necessary in order to restore the health of someone with a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid condition. On the other hand, chiropractic is about balancing the nervous system. And the nervous system innervates every cell and tissue in the body. So if there happens to be “interference” with the nerves which innervate the thyroid gland, then this possibly can result in malfunctioning of the thyroid gland. Although this probably isn’t a common cause of thyroid malfunction, it’s something to be aware of. This is especially true for someone who is eating extremely well, has taken many different types of good quality supplements, does a good job of managing their stress, yet still has problems with their thyroid health.
In addition, if someone has a nervous system that is out of balance, since the nervous system controls the immune system, then this person very well might have an immune system that is out of balance as well. As a result of this weakened immune system, the person will be more likely to develop a chronic infection, which in turn can trigger an autoimmune response. Or perhaps the nervous system imbalance is making the person more susceptible to the effects of stress, which in turn caused a leaky gut, which in turn caused an autoimmune thyroid condition. Once again, I’m not suggesting that spinal subluxations (misalignments of the spine causing nerve interference) are common causes of thyroid autoimmunity. But if you understand the anatomy and physiology of the body then you will realize that a nervous system imbalance can cause a lot of different health conditions.
So why go to a chiropractor for a nervous system imbalance? After all, isn’t a neurologist a specialist of the nervous system? Although I’m sometimes critical of medical doctors who don’t try to get to the root cause of the problem, I realize that they have an important role. And the same holds true of neurologists, as there are many excellent medical doctors who specialize in neurology, and some chiropractors and neurologists have a working relationship and refer their patients to one another. This really is how it should be, as if a chiropractor is working with a patient and the patient isn’t receiving optimal results then there is a time and place for referring that patient to a medical doctor. Similarly, if a neurologist is working with a patient who isn’t responding then they should consider referring the patient to a chiropractor at times. In any case, both chiropractors and neurologists deal with nervous system imbalances in different ways. I’m not going to say that one way is better than another, although to no surprise I’m more biased with regards to chiropractic care since that is my background. If someone has a nervous system imbalance and is trying to get to the root cause of their condition, then I think it’s best for them to see a chiropractor initially. But of course this also depends on what neurological condition the patient is dealing with, as sometimes it is best to see a neurologist first.
Are All Chiropractors Alike?
Chiropractors definitely are not all alike. I realize that the same holds true with other healthcare professionals, as one can make the argument that no two dentists are alike, as everyone has their individual practice style. However, with most dentists the routine will be very similar, and the same is true with many other healthcare professionals. On the other hand, with chiropractors you never know what you’ll get. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but you can go to two different chiropractors and have a completely different experience.
For example, there are over one hundred different chiropractic techniques. Although many chiropractors treat the entire spine, others only focus on certain areas of the spine. For example, some chiropractors are referred to as “upper cervical spine specialists” and will only treat the patient’s cervical spine, which consists of the bones in the neck. Although I use the word “treat” because everyone is familiar with the term, chiropractors actually don’t “treat” the spine, as they deliver what’s called a spinal adjustment. And so from this point forward I will use the word “adjust” rather than “treat”. Anyway, getting back to some of the different ways chiropractors adjust the spine, many will use their hands, but some will use instruments to adjust the spine. Many will use x-rays to detect spinal subluxations, while others will rely on muscle testing, leg checks, computerized scans, and there are other methods as well.
Some chiropractors see a high volume of patients per day and might spend only one or two minutes with each patient. Others might spend between five and ten minutes with each of their patients, while others will spend 30 minutes or longer with their patients. Some chiropractors don’t incorporate nutrition into their practice, while others offer a lot of nutritional advice and will try to educate everyone about eating well, avoiding refined foods and sugars, etc. So hopefully you now realize that different chiropractors have different practice styles.
Should Everyone With A Thyroid or Autoimmune Thyroid Condition Seek Chiropractic Care?
As I mentioned already, most people with a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid condition don’t need to receive chiropractic care in order to restore their health back to normal. However, there is no question that having a healthy nervous system is important, and since the nervous system controls the thyroid gland, immune system, and other areas of the body, one can argue that it would make sense for many people to at least get checked by a competent chiropractor. Of course since I’m a chiropractor I’m biased, and I feel that everyone can benefit from chiropractic care.
But what if you had a bad experience with a chiropractor? Well, all I can say is that when someone has a bad experience with a medical doctor, dentist, or a different type of healthcare professional they usually don’t stop seeing that type of doctor. For example, if someone has a bad experience with a dentist they very well might not seek dental care, but there is a good chance they will simply give a different dentist a try. Remember what I said earlier, as different chiropractors practice differently, and so you might need to visit a few different chiropractors before you find one who you’re comfortable with. I would of course recommend trying to find someone who evaluates everyone individually rather than hire a chiropractor who recommends the same exact treatment plan for everyone.
For example, a young adult who has a fairly healthy spine probably shouldn’t need as extensive care as an elderly person who has more chronic problems. While it’s true that some older adults are in better shape than younger adults, the point I’m trying to make is that different people should require different treatment plans. This of course not only applies to chiropractic care, as I also discuss this from time to time when talking about following a natural treatment protocol for a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid condition. Regardless of what type of healthcare professional you see, you ideally want to work with someone who will give specific recommendations based on your specific condition. While there might be some overlap from patient to patient, different people will require different protocols.
In summary, since I’m a chiropractor it’s not surprising that I’m a big advocate of chiropractic. Although most people with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions don’t need to receive chiropractic care in order to restore their health back to normal, in some cases having a spinal imbalance can lead to thyroid dysfunction and/or a weakened immune system. After all, the nervous system controls every cell and tissue in the body, and therefore a less than optimal functioning nervous system can lead to numerous health issues. And so even though most people with a hypothyroid or hyperthyroid condition don’t require chiropractic care to restore their health, many people can benefit from chiropractic care, and one can argue that receiving chiropractic care is necessary to help people to achieve optimal health.
Thank you for your article. I am a female in my 30’s with a thyroid issues, TMJ and other painful symptoms coming from my head area. I am going to a Chiro tomorrow to see if it will benefit me any. This article was very helpful to me.
Richard E. Mitchell says
How interesting… I never would have considered thyroid problems could be resolved by a chiropractor. If anything, I would’ve thought thyroid issues would lead to the problems (ie. back issues) that would lead to someone visiting the chiropractor!
Anna Palmer says
Very interesting. I am a Meniers sufferer, and hypo thyroid sufferer. I went to a chiropractor who left me worse than when I started. I now am suffering from dizzy spells and vertigo on a daily basis. Terrified to go see someone else.