Monday, March 29, 2010

Gaining height via chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage?

Spinal alignment is a part of overall body height.  A misaligned spine can affect the alignment of several other bones as well.  It's not just the length of the bones that matters for height or how tall you are it's also the architecture and placement of your bones.

The problem is that the effects of chiropractic treatment are so temporary.  Yes, adjusting the spine can affect overall height but is chiropractic treatment that effective? 

The costs and benefits of nonoperative management for adult scoliosis. 

"A prospective cohort of adult scoliosis patients treated nonoperatively had a minimum of 2-year follow-up during which time data were collected on the type and quantity of nonoperative treatment used... A 2007 systematic review of nonsurgical treatment in adult scoliosis revealed minimal data, and concluded that evidence for nonoperative care was lacking. METHODS: Duration of use and frequency of visits were collected for 8 specific treatment methods: medication, physical therapy, exercise, injections/blocks, chiropractic care, pain management, bracing, and bed rest. Costs for each intervention were determined using the Medicare Fee schedule. Outcome measures were the SRS-22, SF-12, and ODI. Analysis was performed for the entire group, and for subsets of high (ODI, >40), mid (ODI = 21-40) and low (ODI, In 55 scoliosis patients who received no treatment, the only significant change in HRQOL measures over the 2-year period was in SRS satisfaction subscore (0.3 points, P = 0.014). Among the 68 adult scoliosis patients who used nonoperative resources, there was no significant change in any of the HRQOL outcome parameters... An important caveat is that treatment was not randomized and therefore the treatment group might have deteriorated if not for the treatment they received." 

It doesn't matter what HRQOL, SRS, SRS-22, or whatever is.  If scoliosis patients can't get improved spinal alignment from chiropractic care who the hell can?  Chiropractors state that fluid builds up in the joints and that their adjustment procedure helps release it.  Chiropractic adjustments also help adjust the discs back into alignment preventing disc degeneration.  It's much easier to prevent disc degeneration than to try to find methods to encourage disc regeneration.  So as a means to help increase height chiropractic care is more of a means to maintain height or not to cancel out any height gains you get from intervertebral disc growth.  Chiropractic treatment will do nothing to fix spinal alignment however(which would be very useful as almost everyone has scoliosis to some degree). 

The problem I have with chiropractic care is that it's incredibly expensive.  I emphasize with chiropractors because they face the same ridicule as height seekers do from the health community.  Surgery should be the alternative medicine not chiropractic care.  Chiropractic treatment is an essential service that is overpriced given that almost everyone could benefit from it.  The field of chiropractic care suffers from price gouging. 

Unfortunately, chiropractors are needed to at least adjust any spinal bones that are out of alignment.  You just can't have the proper leverage to perform such adjustments on yourself.  You can perform some self-adjustments but not as good as a chiropractor can or someone who copies their methods.  It's hard to find people willing to take the risk though.  Chiropractic treatment does suffer from diminishing returns.  If you go once in a while it makes it easier to perform self adjustments as the bones are already loosened. 

Acupuncture, rolfing, and massage all work the same way.  When your muscles are overstretched your golgi tendon goes "Oh my god!  I'm too tight!  I need to relax!"  Your body releases endorphins(that's why massages feel so good) and your muscles relax.  If your muscles were pulling on your bones a certain way then you will end up with a height increase.  This is again effective for temporary height gain.  Your muscles are tight for a reason. 

It's easy to perform self massage(or rather self overstretching).  You can stretch your tight muscles to the point where they begin to relax(see the hundreds of grow taller e-books or websites), pinch your tight muscles until they relax(like the kneading motion of a massage), or put tight focused pressure on your muscle such as with a finger(acupuncture).   

Massage, and Massage-likes are only effective for a temporary increase in height and are not an effective long term strategy like those that would affect the actual bone(such as lateral synovial joint loading).   

Rolfing might be examined further in the future as it is listed as a method on several height increase sites and it involves connective tissues so it is slightly different than massage.

Hypothesis: upregulation of a muscle-specific isoform of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) by spinal manipulation.

"Spinal manipulation is a manual therapy approach commonly employed by chiropractors, osteopaths and manipulative physiotherapists in the treatment of back pain. It is characterised by a rapid high velocity, low amplitude thrust which commonly causes an audible 'pop' or 'cavitation' in the joint. Any beneficial effects are generally explained with reference to changes in vertebral joint movement. This paper looks at the process of spinal manipulation to see if there is reason to expect effects beyond simple changes in the biomechanics of the spine. It shows that during the process of spinal manipulation, rapid stretching of spinal muscles is inevitable. muscle stretch is a potent stimulus for the upregulation of a splice product of the insulin-like growth factor gene by the stretched muscle{this upregulation could promote chondrogenesis as well}. Evidence that the product of this gene (mechano-growth factor; MGF) promotes muscle growth and repair (myotrophism) is presented, together with evidence that MGF promotes the growth and repair of neurones (neurotrophism). Against this background the hypothesis is proposed that one of the effects of spinal manipulation is to stretch spinal muscles which will upregulate MGF{also known as IGF-1eC} and result in local myotrophic and neurotrophic effects."

" spinal manipulation involves taking joints (usually zygapophyseal joints) near to their physiological end range by gross twisting of the trunk. This is followed by application of a more specific directional force to the joint (‘preload’) to bring it very close to its physiological range of movement. This preload (20–180 N) is followed without any reduction in force by a high velocity, low amplitude thrust (220–550 N) to the joint. The latter force is delivered over 200–400 ms. It pushes the joint briefly beyond its normal physiological range of movement and this event may be associated with an audible ‘pop’ or ‘cavitation’. The process of twisting the spine to a position where the preload and thrust are most efficiently delivered is often referred to as the ‘set-up’. This clearly involves stretch of muscles associated with the vertebral column-it can be seen and patients are aware of it. In contrast to spinal mobilisation, however, the process of spinal manipulation has the capacity to cause brief stretching of already contracting vertebral muscles (eccentric stretch). The electrophysiological evidence for this is as follows: the dynamic thrust has been associated with increased surface electromyographic (SEMG) activity of paraspinal muscles that occurs within 50–200 ms of the thrust and it is likely that both intrinsic and paravertebral muscles are involved. The latency of the SEMG response, however, is too short to be a voluntary contraction. Instead it has a latency within the range for the human stretch reflex that has been determined with cross-correlation and signal averaging techniques. This is strong evidence that spinal manipulation elicits a stretch reflex. This view is supported by experimental studies in the anaesthetised cat, where dorsoventral impulses applied to the L6 vertebra to mimic spinal manipulation evoked reflex neural activity that was recorded in the L6 dorsal roots and identified as coming from primary and secondary afferents to muscle spindles. The short intrinsic spinal muscles have a much higher muscle spindle density than longer onesand this suggests that they are particularly sensitive to stretch. Taken together, this data indicates that spinal manipulation is likely to cause eccentric contraction of extrafusal muscles of the spine, since a myotatic reflex is stimulated within 50–200 ms of the thrust and this falls well within the timescale of the thrust, let alone any ‘follow-through’ force that may be delivered.."

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