Chiropractic care seeks to enhance our natural immunity by focusing on the health of the spine and removing interferences with the nervous system. When the nervous system is not impeded, the immune system will function at its highest level.
Before we talk about the link between chiropractic and natural immunity, could you start us off with a general understanding of the term natural immunity?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Okay, I think we can talk a little bit about that. So, let’s break it up. We have two words, natural and immunity. Well, let’s talk about immunity. Immunity is something that develops within what we call our immune system. Your immune system is one hundred percent under control of your nerve system. Your nerve system basically tells every other system in your body what to do. It handles your digestive system. It handles your circulatory system. It handles your respiratory system. All these other systems are under the control of the nerve system. And your immune system is no different. Your nerve system tells it what to do. It alerts the immune system, hey, we got a problem over in the kidney. There looks like there’s an infection or some cells that don’t belong there. That alerts the immune system cells. Your body makes more of these immune system cells. They go to that area, they go check out the kidney, they see what they see, and then they go and they take care of business. And it happens automatically because your body runs, regulates, and heals itself.
The immune system is slowly built up over time with what we call exposure. So, if you’ve ever watched an infant sitting outside in the playground and they pick something up, where’s the first place that they put it? Usually in their mouth, right? They’re exposing themselves to these things and then the body starts to build immunity. Once it sees it, it recognizes it’s foreign and it starts to develop what we call the immune system. And it happens slowly over time.
Natural immunity is passed from the mother to the baby in the breast milk. There are these IgGs and these immune particles that are passed on from the mother to the baby. Then there’s the slow natural exposure to all these different things. If your baby sees a cold virus, it’ll start to develop antibodies and start to work and develop immunity to that. And if it sees chicken pox at an early age, you’ll get the disease, and your body will build antibodies. And that’s what natural immunity is. When I was a kid, if someone had chicken pox in the neighborhood, other parents would bring their kids over for exposure so they could get the disease early. Their body would develop immunity, and it wouldn’t be a problem. And as a matter of fact, when I was a child, I was never required to get the chicken pox vaccination, because I had already been exposed to chicken pox from my brother and I had what was called an abortive case.
Natural immunity develops slowly over time. And your immune system will develop as long as your nerve system can kind of figure things out and tell the immune system what to do. So that’s immunity. And then natural immunity is just the stuff that happens along the natural development of a lifetime, or what’s passed on from mother to child.
Now, the opposite of that, I guess, would be talking about artificial immunity and that’s really what we see a lot of with the vaccines and introducing these things. Those are not things that occur naturally in the body. They’re selecting different parts of a virus or something and introducing it to the body in hopes that your immune system will see it and start to recognize it. And they’ve had some success, medically with some of these vaccines and they are able to work with that.
But natural immunity far surpasses any type of artificial immunity. And we’re seeing that now with COVID because the people who’ve already had COVID once, and then only get one shot, have much higher levels of immunity according to several studies, than the people who are just getting the two shots and their bodies never actually seeing COVID or seeing the virus itself. It’s very important to understand that natural immunity seems to be stronger and more effective in protecting the body than artificial immunity. Now, some of these people are getting help with the COVID vaccine, but it only prevents more serious disease. It doesn’t really stop transmission where some of these earlier vaccines seem to provide, and not for COVID, but for other diseases, something called sterilizing immunity, which we certainly aren’t seeing right now.
So natural immunity is making sure that your nerve system and your immune system are functioning optimally, so we can best fight off any foreign invaders.
We know that chiropractic care is focused on the health of the spine. So, could you now explain the connection between our spine and our immune system?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Well, I kind of thought I was just doing that, but let’s take a little bit of a deeper or dive into that. So yes, it’s focused on the health of the spine and the reason that we keep the spine healthy and in proper aligned positions is because that eliminates nerve interference. And since the body is neuro regulated and your immune system is controlled by your nerve system, making sure there’s no interference in that pathway is going to allow the immune system to function at its highest level. The quicker and faster your immune system looks at these things and recognizes them, the faster it develops an immune response and develops your own body’s natural antibodies and immunity to it. And that’s why it’s important.
But the connection is really where the nerves are because the nerves convey that intelligence that the brain is creating and running and regulating our body. And if that communication needs to go to the spleen to make a different type of immune system cell, and that message doesn’t get through there or it slows down, then whatever disease process it is, whether it be a bacteria or virus, it can take a stronger hold and then it might be harder to get rid of it. So, it’s vital that we understand the connection between the nerve system and the immune system, and the nerve system and your gut health, and the nerve system and your circulatory system, and your nerve system and your respiratory system. Knowing that that nerve system is the master system controlling everything else, the better it functions, the better it is able to run and regulate all those other systems. So that’s the connection between the spine and the immune system. It’s all about the nerves. And like I always say, chiropractors really aren’t back doctors. We’re not spine doctors, we’re nerve system doctors. We just use the spine as our avenue of approach.
Could you describe how chiropractors work with patients to ensure that their spine is healthy and not interfering with their nervous system?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: That question really just kind of dovetails what we were just talking about. A chiropractor will detect and remove the misalignments that put pressure on or irritate the nerves and prevent full communication in the body. So as a chiropractor, I’m going to look at the spine, check the alignment, look at their posture, and then determine what corrections do I need to make to get the pressure off the nerve that might be causing irritation. If that irritation is causing pain or discomfort, when we remove that irritation, usually the pain and discomfort goes away, and it allows the body to heal. Your body heals by replacing damaged cells with healthy new ones and that is under the auspice of the nerve system. Your nerve system tells your body when to replace that cell and what type of cell gets replaced and how clean that process goes on.
So again, making sure that the spine is healthy will ensure proper nerve flow, proper nerve supply, and make sure that it’s not interfering with the nerve system function. Anytime you interfere with nerve system function, it results in less health and less communication in the body. And we can’t have that. We need to make sure that your body is optimized so you can be as healthy and as strong as you can be and be able to fight infection and do everything that your nerve system does without interference.
What type of symptoms or conditions does chiropractic care have the most success in alleviating?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: That’s a really cool question. Chiropractic is a very narrow application of something that has very broad scope. So, since the nerve system controls everything else in the body, anything that the nerve system connects to can be affected with chiropractic. Now, obviously the symptoms or conditions that most people think of are back pain, neck pain, headache, sciatica, numbness or tingling, and all those things are neuro related and absolutely chiropractic helps most of those people when they come in.
But no one really thinks about the things that look like organic conditions. And let’s say for example, that we have a lot of spinal misalignment or what we call subluxations, we’re irritating the nerves, and that person has a lot of allergies. Because the nerve system is irritated, they’re hypersensitive. The nerve system overreacts to cat dander or something that’s normally in our environment. And then the whole nerve system and immune system gets fired up. You crank out all these histamines, your eyes water, your nose runs, you sneeze, you cough and all these things, but yet the person next to you is not affected by cat dander. Why is person A affected and person B is not? And really what it comes down to is how their nerve system is functioning and interpreting their environment. Why would someone’s nerve system interpret the environment as hostile and go through all these odd reactions where the next person doesn’t? And really, it’s just got to be about how sensitive and how flexible and how well your nerve system is working and communicating within the body. Like I said, the clearer communication, the better it’s going to be. We see a lot of people with difficulty breathing and they think that oh, they need a medication, but sometimes it’s just about clearing the spine, allowing the ribs to move up and down more freely with better mechanics and getting rid of nerve irritation that might be contributing to it.
There all different types of symptoms and conditions, whether they be back pain or neck pain related or other things that look more organic. If you irritate the nerves that go to the stomach, you might have difficulty in digestion. If you irritate the nerves that go to the intestines, you might see constipation or diarrhea. I think people get the idea now and understand how far reaching the nerve system is and that chiropractic is really more about your nerve system and not just about back pain, neck pain or any type of discomfort. So, it can really help with a lot of painful conditions, but a lot of other conditions, as well, respond. It’s so important to get everybody checked, not just people who might be in pain or having discomfort.
For healthy patients, can regular chiropractic care still improve their natural immunity?
Dr. Gregg Rubinstein: Absolutely. And that’s a really great question and one that’s so apropos and important. And I always go back to the same examples because people seem to make sense of it that way. But improving your natural immunity is one hundred percent dependent on how well your nerve system functions. For example, I talk about Christopher Reeves a lot because most people know who he was. He was a very famous actor who fell off a horse and broke his neck and drove some bone fragments into the spinal cord and limited the communication from the brain to the rest of the body. Now, everyone knows that he couldn’t walk and he couldn’t breathe on his own. But what a lot of people don’t know is that in any quad or paraplegic after a spinal cord injury that limits nerve system function gets put on antibiotics usually for the rest of their life.
Why? Because the medical doctors know that when there’s that much pressure or interference on the nerve system, that it can’t tell the immune system what to do. So, they artificially pump them up with antibiotics to kind of let the pills do the job that normally the nerve system would do.
If someone has a subluxation and there’s irritation to the nerves, not to the same degree as Chris Reeves or a quad or paraplegic, it’s still limiting the function of your nerve system and limiting the function and affecting the function of your immune system. We want that pathway to be clear and free from interference so your body can run, regulate, and heal itself by maximizing the function of the immune system, not limiting it to a lesser role. It’s got to be at or as close to one hundred percent as possible for the immune system to work as best as it can. The better the immune system works, the better you are at fighting infection and that includes COVID or any other infection. It just doesn’t matter.
The major premise is always to remember that regular chiropractic care keeps the bones in good alignment, keeps pressure off the nerves, and it allows the nerve system to control all the other systems better including the immune system. And that’s why it’s about natural immunity and letting your body function as best that you can.
Look, there are times where the body needs some help. Christopher Reeves or any other quadriplegic might need that help because there’s no adjustment that can get rid of their type of interference. However, in the average person, optimizing the nerve system will optimize the immune system and make you a stronger, healthier individual. Now, it stacks the deck in your favor. There’s no guarantee. Chiropractic is not a panacea. It does not make you bulletproof, but it certainly stacks the deck in your favor. And that’s what we’re all looking for, especially in times like these.
To speak with Dr. Gregg Rubinstein, visit www.ChiropractorMidtown.com or call (212) 977-7094 to schedule an appointment.