Of all the known benefits of chiropractic - alleviated pain, decreased inflammation, and reduced stress, just to name a few - growing taller is not one of them. But can a visit to the chiropractor allow you to walk out with some additional height? The verdict is out, and the answer is yes.
But, before you rush out to the nearest chiropractic office with hope of returning home Shaquille O'Neal-style tall, let us explain some things. While chiropractic adjustments are beneficial in terms of pain and wellness management, they also help to correct postural issues. Postural issues, when left untreated, can leave a person stooped, compressed, and essentially shorter.
Continue reading to figure out how a chiropractic adjustment can make you taller.
"Do I Look Shorter to You?" and Other Common Questions
It's a question we've all been asked by someone in our lives: "Do I look shorter to you?" Many people have it in their heads that as they age, they shrink. In some ways, they're not wrong. As we age, degeneration occurs in the spine. This thins and wears out the intervertebral discs of the spine, which are originally cushioned shock-absorbers that actually contribute to the height of a person. When degeneration begins, the thinning of discs can essentially shrink spinal space, making it appear as though we've become shorter.
However, this shrinking illusion can strike any age group at anytime, and just because of spinal discs. Truly, our appearance of height and stature is derived from how we carry ourselves - our posture. Postural changes do not occur overnight, and likely take place over several years. But as misalignments occur within the spine, the hips, or connective joints, spinal ligaments and muscles begin to shorten and compress.
The overall effect is an apparent decrease in height. The structures which aid us in standing straight and tall are pulled down, causing our natural posture to become stooped, uneven, and generally slouched.
Why Does My Spine Affect My Height?
Think of your spine as a string. When a string is held taught, it is straight. When slack is applied to the string, a curve will appear. Now, if you laid out one string held taught and another string held with more slack, the straight string would appear to be longer. In reality, both strings are the same length.
Now, imagine these strings as your spine. A spine that is aligned and fully supported by spinal muscles and ligaments will appear longer, giving a taller appearance. A spine that is suffering from poor posture or misalignments, compressed down by muscles, will have an exaggerated curve, making it actually look shorter. Technically speaking, your spine will always be the same length. Once misalignments or compression in the spine are addressed, apparent improvement in height can result.
How Do Chiropractic Adjustments Work?
Chiropractic adjustments can be performed throughout the joints and bones of the body, but are commonly performed on the back, the neck, the hips, and the connective joints. During a chiropractic adjustment, a short lever thrust is applied to a vertebrae which is displaying subluxation - this is when the bone in question has been displaced from its natural alignment in the spine.
The goal of a chiropractic adjustment is to minimize and correct the subluxation, allowing the spine as well as the entire body to be completely aligned. Once all bones have been addressed, soft tissue such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons, which support these bones will be lengthened. This process stretches muscles and alleviates pressure placed on spinal nerves and surrounding tissue.
In addition to feeling good, alleviating pain, improving range of motion, and more, back adjustments also help to improve posture.
What Are the Dangers of Poor Posture?
As you've likely gathered by now, poor posture can be detrimental to your height. However, poor posture affects our bodies as a whole, and can even affect your future health.
Good posture evenly distributes stress through the muscles, ligaments, and spine, decreasing wear and tear on individual vertebrae and joints. In comparison, poor posture literally pulls down on these structures, ripping joints from alignment and straining muscles to support the irregular form of the spine. This resulting compression can affect multiple systems of the body, causing issues such as:
- Digestive issues
- Tension headaches
- Back and shoulder pain
- Worsened stress and depression
How to Correct Posture and Add Height
How to correct posture is a process that takes dedication. As we've mentioned, posture is something that is gradually enacted over time, especially after working in a sedentary office environment, an occupation which calls for repeated motion, or after an injury.
Working with a trusted chiropractor, a series of chiropractic adjustments, specifically back adjustments, can help to reduce any present subluxations. Massage therapy and physical therapy can help lengthen muscles and ligaments which have been compressed. The addition of soothing treatments such as ultrasound or hot laser therapy can further relax tense muscles, allowing both spinal discs and vertebrae to expand to their natural height.
With this height expansion in the spine, comes additional height. Of course, your chiropractor is not actually making you magically taller. Instead, a chiropractor is allowing your spine to straighten out and stretch, giving you the appearance of anywhere from 1/4 inch to 2 inches more of height.
If you've been looking to gain a few inches - or even better, correct your posture - it's time to give chiropractic a try. With 11 offices throughout South Florida, ChiroCare of Florida is here to give you the boost you need.
Contact us today to schedule your appointment.