For some people, chilly weather is a source of dread. The cold can restrict the blood flow to your extremities, leading to hands and feet that are constantly freezing. If you’re often suffering from cold, there might be an issue with your blood circulation.
Chiropractic care is able to help with a wide variety of different issues. Most people associate chiropractors with back pain, but they can help with much more than that. In addition, if you have a chronic condition causing poor blood flow, they can integrate their practice with the health advice of your doctor.
How Poor Circulation Affects the Body
Your blood is responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to the cells found throughout your entire body. Faster circulation means that the nutrients are delivered faster. Poor circulation can lead to potential health consequences.
It’s common for the feet and hands to become cold frequently because of circulation issues. Since blood is having trouble flowing efficiently through the body, there’s a lack of warmth in the parts of the body furthest from your heart.
In addition, some underlying conditions can cause the blood vessels to constrict in response to cold. This cuts off the blood supply to the fingers and toes because of how small the blood vessels in these areas are.
Chiropractic Reasons for Poor Circulation
Sometimes cold extremities are influenced by a misalignment in the spine. The musculoskeletal system works best when it is aligned properly. When any aspect of it is misaligned, there are changes to the flow of blood and the position of your muscles.
If part of the spine is misaligned, that can cause interruptions in the pathways of your circulatory system. Your heart might pump the same way it always has, but until those pathways are unblocked, the circulation simply won’t be efficient or effective.
A chiropractor’s goal is to identify where the misalignment in the body is. In addition, they will look for potential signs of underlying conditions. If they suspect that you might have an undiagnosed illness or injury, they may recommend tests and imaging prior to creating a treatment plan.
When a disc in your back moves out of alignment, it can lead to a reduction in blood pressure through the thorax. That lack of pressure makes it hard for fresh blood to circulate all the way to the extremities. It’s like having a dam blocking part of a river.
Most people aren’t aware that circulatory issues can be affected by your spinal health. But if one part of the body is impacted by an issue, other parts of your body will feel the effects. That’s why seeing a chiropractor is so important. They can determine whether your poor circulation is related to something else entirely.
What Poor Circulation Does
Poor circulation can lead to any of these symptoms:
- Cold, tingling extremities
- Decreased alertness and “brain fog”
- Dizziness and nausea
- Episodes of fainting
Many of these occur because of a lack of sufficient blood flow to the brain. If the brain is deprived of oxygen completely, that can cause the same damage as a stroke. Your brain can’t function properly unless it’s getting enough oxygen from your blood.
Hands-On Chiropractic Care
Chiropractors use hands-on care to help patients with their ailments. While some issues might have obvious causes, like misalignments from acute athletic injuries, others might be more difficult to pinpoint. In fact, some people might find that their circulation improves after seeing a chiropractor for non-circulation symptoms.
When first addressing circulation issues, a chiropractor will do the following:
- Take a health history including any general symptoms or pain you’re feeling in your body
- Perform a physical examination of the spine
- Determine whether any underlying conditions are likely to play a role
- Identify sources of misalignment in the back, neck, or other areas of the body
- Create a treatment plan that will address the source of the issue over a period of several weeks or months
In cases of disc misalignment, the end goal is to align the body so that the client no longer needs to seek chiropractic care. Chiropractic intervention should be a short-term solution that solves the problem. If a person needs ongoing adjustments and doesn’t see much circulatory improvement, there might be other medical issues at play.
Your chiropractor may also make suggestions for how to improve your posture, back support, nutrition, or other components of your lifestyle that may affect your spine. Chiropractic care is holistic, which means that it takes every aspect of a person’s lifestyle into account when identifying the best treatments.
Chiropractic adjustments are done by manipulating the spine with quick, forceful movements. This can realign the body and release tension in the joints. In addition to helping with poor circulation and back pain, these adjustments can increase the range of motion for a stiff or “locked” part of the body.
When your normal range of motion is restored, your blood will be able to flow unimpeded through the circulatory system.
Your nervous system is dependent upon your musculoskeletal system to function. If anything interferes with your joints and bones, this can cause problems with the flow of information between the nerves and the brain.
There have been scientific studies proving that chiropractic care can have a positive effect on the circulatory system. In light of this, it’s surprising that so few people know about this treatment option. Plenty of people believe that they simply need to live with their cold feet and hands.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the studies were examining very specific causes of circulatory issues. There was one study that showed that a misalignment in the spine could impede the flow of blood to the brain by up to 35%. People with cervical blood flow issues presented with spinal misalignments, while a control group with no circulatory issues was completely healthy.
What does that mean? Basically, patients with documented cervical circulatory issues also had spinal misalignments. And healthy patients had perfectly aligned spines. This definitively shows that there is a correlation between chiropractic misalignment and circulatory issues.
It’s still possible that other factors contribute to the circulatory problems, like cardiovascular issues or autoimmune diseases. But the spinal misalignments certainly don’t help the cause!
A chiropractor might conclude, after an examination, that they have no way to treat your circulatory issues because they don’t see any misalignment. But you won’t know that until you have a consultation. And if you refuse to investigate the possibility, you might be missing out on an effective treatment.
So how do you choose the right chiropractor?
Finding the Right Chiropractor
Finding the right chiropractor can seem like a daunting task. You want to make sure that you’re working with someone both reputable and intelligent. If you’re entrusting your healthcare to them, you should have the same caution that you might use when evaluating physicians.
A good chiropractor will not make any treatment guarantees until they’ve done a thorough physical examination. They will also be transparent with you about their findings. When they make a treatment plan, it should have clear goals and a set end date.
The goals for your treatment should also be measurable. When people are being treated for pain, they often track their pain levels over time. With circulatory issues, you might record the amount of time each day that your extremities feel tingly or cold.
There might also be cognitive markers that you can use. If blood flow to the brain is restricted, then you might experience unusual fatigue and sluggishness. As your circulation improves, you might notice that you’re more alert and engaged with the world.
Most of all, your chiropractor should make you feel like you’re receiving the right care. You should understand your treatment plan and be satisfied with the diagnostic answers you’ve received. If you have questions, a good chiropractor will answer them or investigate further.