Snap, crackle, pop, anyone? Often misunderstood or overlooked, chiropractic care seems to be gaining in popularity lately as the wellness movement continues to forge ahead. More and more people are taking action to keep their mental health, physical health, and financial health aligned—so why not add your spine to that list with a chiropractor visit?
As a busy bride-to-be, you probably have little room for another "chore" to add to your list, but you might want to consider this one. Here's how brides can benefit from going to a chiropractor, with expert information from Dr. Tara Kellogg, doctor of chiropractic licensed in New York and Pennsylvania.
What Does a Chiropractor Do?
Essentially, a chiropractor focuses on the correction and maintenance of proper nervous system function in a patient, Kellogg explains. But how? By carefully manipulating the spine's alignment through adjustments—aka those cracks and pops you may hear during a session. The type of alignment performed is always determined after taking a complete patient history as well as doing a physical examination of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems, according to Kellogg.
But when would a person consider seeking out this type of care? Since chiropractic care helps acute conditions by "decreasing inflammation, increasing spinal and muscular ranges of motion, and decreasing muscular spasms," it can help a variety of ailments. Surprisingly, Kellogg also points out that something as simple as bad posture at your desk—a specific problem you can correct with the help of a chiropractor—can actually create challenges for digesting your lunch, due to decreasing axonal flow (the two-way passage of proteins, organelles, and other material) of the surrounding nerves.
Kellogg says, "My passion is for treating patients from a wellness perspective. Creating more efficient movements means longer, stronger muscles and connecting to mindful breathing patterns creates decreased blood pressure and stress levels. We put so much time, money, and effort into eating clean, staying hydrated, and exercising that it seems silly not to keep your nervous system functioning properly." Taking care of your nervous system is super important, she stresses, since it's responsible for "ALL the communication within your body."
As Kellogg says, "Your health and wellness truly comes from the inside out."
One of the most common misconceptions of chiropractic care is in regards to frequency. "Most patients believe they will be, or have previously experienced being, ‘fixed’ in one visit," she explains. Furthermore, "patients often...seek care only when they hit their threshold of discomfort."
When patients feel relief immediately following treatment, they often believe that their problems are solved. But in reality, their chiropractor visit "has given them relief from their acute symptoms, but the underlying condition still present," and thus, the patient requires further visits.
How a Chiropractor Can Help
Specifically for brides, Kellogg says, "I would say posture and stress management would be the biggest immediate benefits to receiving chiropractic care. It’s incredible what proper posture can do for your appearance in wedding photos." She adds, "We all know standing up straight and retracting our shoulder blades creates a more pleasing physical appearance. This sounds easy enough, but commonly fatigue in the scapular retractors sets in quickly. Our lives are filled with actions that perpetuate internal shoulder rotation, pectoral and scalene shortening. These are the biggest contributors to those not-so-flattering angles throughout the chest and shoulders."
While your first round of bridal party photos might look great, she explains that 30 minutes in your perfect posture might feel hard to maintain. However, "building strength and length in the external shoulder rotators prior to your wedding day will not only give you more endurance on the day-of, but you’ll notice the difference in candid shots as well."
Additionally, Kellogg stresses the importance of breathing to reduce stress. "Stress management seems impossible when you think of wedding planning, but conditioning your breathing patterns has a MAJOR effect on stress," she points out. "As a general tip, a longer exhale directly relates to a drop in heart rate and can reduce blood pressure. So taking that deep breath is everything."
See more: The Brides 30-Day Wellness Plan
How Often Should You Go?
As with most health practices and treatments, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan. "How frequently you see a chiropractor should ultimately be determined between you and your doctor," says Kellogg. She explains that she herself creates "a treatment plan based on the severity of the patient’s symptoms, what the patient’s goals are and when they would like to achieve them by, how much they participate in prescribed care outside the office, and how they respond to in-office care."
If you're considering visiting the chiropractor before your big day, be sure to speak to your general practitioner and have a thorough consultation prior to any treatments.