How Chiropractic Care Supports the Lymphatic System & Immunity

When you have a cough, feel flushed and congested, or have swollen lymph nodes, your first thought might not be chiropractic care—but it should be. Most people don’t associate chiropractic care with immune support or their lymphatic systems, but in actuality, chiropractic care and immunity are quite intertwined.

Chiropractic care, which may be comprised of adjustments, spinal traction, or other manual manipulations, addresses the lymphatic system by default. By pressing on the skin, muscles, and tissues, as well as manipulating bones and joints, lymphatic fluid is moved and drained throughout the body.

What is the role of the lymphatic system?

The lymphatic system is a critical supporter of the body’s immune system. It is responsible for protecting the body against bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. Essentially, anything that could be considered a “foreign invader,” or is not naturally occurring or made within the body, is defended against by the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system utilizes a combination of white blood cells and other immune cells to destroy invaders when they enter the body through the skin or orifices. Unlike red blood cells, which provide nutrients and oxygen to the body, white blood cells function exclusively to eliminate infections and other threats to homeostasis within the body. White blood cell count should remain rather low, comprising only about 1% of the body’s entire blood supply. Any higher could signify an infection, and any lower may suggest the body doesn’t have sufficient strength and nutrients to ward off infection.

The lymphatic system is responsible for the release and production of white blood cells, as well as monitoring and maintaining general fluid levels in the body and transporting waste and abnormal cells. When the lymphatic system senses an influx of invaders, it releases white blood cells, which will gather in the areas most localized to the invaders. This can sometimes manifest as swelling, and when an area of the lymphatic system is battling infection (such as the tonsils or lymph nodes around the head and neck) these areas can feel like lumps.

Swollen lymph nodes made be tender or hard, and may feel pea-size or larger. Depending on the nature of the infection, swollen lymph nodes may be accompanied by cold symptoms like a runny nose, fever, or sweats. Sometimes, an infection will not exhibit any cold symptoms—it is possible to have swollen lymph nodes without any accompanying symptoms.

When the lymphatic system is stressed or stagnant, infections, colds, and other conditions caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi may persist for longer-than-usual lengths of time. They may also be more severe, and force a longer recovery time. When the lymphatic system is healthy, colds and other infections are fought off quickly, and lymph nodes shrink back to a size that is imperceptible upon palpation.

How does chiropractic care support the lymphatic system?

The lymphatic system is best supported by a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and sufficient rest. When all of these things are in place and infection or illness occurs, however, chiropractic treatment can still offer significant support.
Chiropractic care typically involves the manipulation and movement of joints, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tissues. For this reason, the support that chiropractic interventions offer for the lymphatic system are twofold.

First, manual manipulation (like adjustments, spinal traction, etc.) provide movement within the body at a cellular level. When an adjustment is delivered by an expert chiropractor, for example, fluids that have remained stagnant and trapped within the body are immediately released. Blood cells, toxins, and other matter surges through the body to be absorbed, deliver nutrients, or be eliminated. After an adjustment, lymph fluid increases naturally in the body, helping to transport waste and address infection. Infected or inflamed areas are often soothed as fresh red and white blood cells appear in an area that may have previously been stagnating, and old cells are carried away.

The second way that chiropractic care supports the lymphatic system is through the long-term correction of imbalanced posture and spinal curvature. When the spinal curve changes over time due to poor posture, stress, lack of ergonomic support, or too much sitting or standing, the organs and systems of the body are strained. When subluxation (misalignment) occurs, the joints and bones compress parts of the body that would not normally be compressed, including nerves, muscles, lymph nodes, and soft tissue in the body. Through long term chiropractic care, which may include spinal traction to reshape the entire spine, this pressure is released from the compressed areas. This allows for improved nerve function, increased mobility, and increased circulation of both the circulatory and lymphatic systems. Increased circulation is associated with higher wellness outcomes in nearly ever circumstance, and can help to improve immune function that is already strained or simply would benefit from support.

To improve and support the functioning of your immune and lymphatic systems, book your appointment today.