Although most people may not realize it, nutrition is an integral part of chiropractic care. Not only will it help patients get the most out of each chiropractic visit, but can increase longevity and reduce susceptibility to a variety of illnesses. Dr. Nathen Horst believes that nutrition is an important part of what he calls the chiropractic wellness lifestyle, which also includes regular chiropractic adjustments and an exercise regimen. Although all three components to a chiropractic wellness lifestyle are important, patients often find that changes in nutrition are the easiest with which to begin. Dr. Horst encourages patients to begin changing their eating habits following their first chiropractic visit.
After the First Chiropractic Adjustment
It is not unusual for patients to experience mild to moderate side effects following their first chiropractic adjustment. These can include fatigue, soreness, dizziness, and nausea. Although these side effects may sound troubling, the truth is that these are all part of the body’s natural healing process following the first chiropractic adjustment. If the joints or vertebrae are out of alignment, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments are all held in tension. This can shift the joint or vertebrae out of alignment (called a sublaxation). When Dr. Horst performs a chiropractic adjustment, the joint or vertebrae is guided back into proper alignment, thus releasing the tension the body has been holding. As a result, the muscles, ligaments, and tendons can finally relax, which may cause some of the side effects.
Fortunately, these side effects are not usually severe and will diminish over the course of future chiropractic adjustments. However, Dr. Horst recommends changing nutritional habits right after the first adjustment to lessen the shock of being shifted back into proper alignment. One key part of this change is to increase water intake, to avoid becoming dehydrated. One easy rule to remember for water intake is to drink the equivalent of eight glasses of fluid a day. Although not all of this must be water, it is best to have water make up at least half of this fluid intake. Of course, try to avoid overly sweet drinks such as sodas or fruit juice.
First-time chiropractic patients may also experience feelings of fatigue and weakness after their first adjustment. This may be due to anemia, in which not enough red blood cells are being produced in the body. Dr. Horst recommends increasing iron intake. The best sources of iron come from red meat, fish such as tuna or salmon, liver (beef or chicken), mushrooms, beans, lentils, arugula, asparagus, and certain green leafy vegetables such as spinach.
Finally, Dr. Horst recommends that patients cut down on sugar and carbohydrates such as bread and pasta. Both of these may give short bursts of energy, but patients will soon crash because they do not have any sustained energy intake.
Changing nutritional habits will not only improve patients’ response to chiropractic adjustments, but will also help the body build up its own natural immunity system. Dr. Horst will work with each patient to customize a specific nutritional wellness plan.