National Chiropractic Health Month, sponsored by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), is a nationwide observance held each October. This year's theme—"Why Weight? Get Healthy!"—and activities will focus on how doctors of chiropractic can play an important role in preventing and treating obesity.
More than 60 percent of adults in the United States are either overweight or obese, according to CDC statistics, and obesity is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and some types of cancer. However, many people don't know that even modest weight loss, such as 5 to 10 percent of a person's total body weight, could improve blood pressure as well as blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. That's only 10 to 20 pounds for a person who weighs 200 pounds.
Yet losing weight can be a struggle, and many people wonder where to begin. The answer for some may be in the office of a doctor of chiropractic (DC). Consultation with a DC is particularly important when you consider that the effects of obesity on the musculoskeletal system—osteoarthritis, back pain, neck pain and joint pain—often cause overweight and obese people to avoid physical activity and exercise when they need it most. DCs also counsel their patients on good nutrition and offer dietary and lifestyle advice in addition to expert structural care.
"If you're carrying more weight than the load-bearing structures of your body—spine, legs, etc.—can handle, there's going to be pain, loss of movement and degeneration in the joints," explains James Powell, DC, a member of ACA's Wellness Committee. "Particularly if you're carrying most of your weight in your abdomen, the low back and the spine will need to work harder to hold you upright. This adds extra stress and tension on your muscles, which in turn creates stiffness."
Each year in October, ACA and its members raise public awareness of chiropractic care by observing National Chiropractic Month. Starting this year, the association will celebrate National Chiropractic Health Month in an effort to promote a broader understanding of chiropractic's approach to patient care—as natural, whole-body, patient-centered health care.
"National Chiropractic Health Month is an important opportunity to educate the public on the general health benefits of chiropractic care, which include so much more than simply the expert hands-on care that DCs are so well known for," said ACA President Rick McMichael, DC. "Doctors of Chiropractic focus on changing patients' habits—postural, physical activity, nutritional, etc.—to promote health and wellness, short-term and long-term. Patients are tired of quick fixes that don't produce lasting weight loss and better health; and they are always delighted to discover how doctors of chiropractic promote total health and wellness over a lifetime."
For more information about National Chiropractic Health Month, visit www.acatoday.org/NCHM. The American Chiropractic Association, based in Arlington, Va., is the largest professional association in the United States representing doctors of chiropractic. ACA promotes the highest standards of ethics and patient care, contributing to the health and well-being of millions of chiropractic patients.