Greater Life Chiropractic

Chiropractic Care & the 1918 Flu Pandemic

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As we deal with the pandemic of COVID-19 in 2020, several references are being made to the 1918 Flu Pandemic that ravaged the globe. Known as one of the worst outbreaks in history, the 1918 flu pandemic left 675,000 Americans dead and affected over 50 million people across the world. While the current pandemic has many differences from its 1918 counterpart, many comparisons have been made in reference to the rapid spread and potential devastation in both scenarios. What you may not know about the 1918 influenza pandemic is that it was not only a major event in epidemiological history, but also a major turning point for the practice of chiropractic care. When you consider visiting a Charlotte chiropractor today, the benefits you receive can be attributed to early chiropractors during this crisis.

The Chiropractors of 1918

In 1918, doctors of chiropractic were not as prolific or successful as we know them to be today. However, due to the high numbers of people affected by the 1918 flu, they began to be sought out for medical care that was sparse elsewhere. As they saw those suffering from the illness, these chiropractors began to notice their death rate was lower than the general population. The death rate of the general population was 5 to 6 percent at the time, while those under chiropractic and osteopathic care had a death rate of .25 percent. At the time, this was attributed to the boost in white blood cells found after chiropractic adjustments, which led to increased immune function. The effectiveness of this care put a spotlight on chiropractic care, leading to the respect and popularity seen today.

How Do Adjustments Help the Flu?

When we think of the flu or viral illnesses like COVID-19, the first things that come to mind are often over-the-counter medications or preventative vaccines. Each can be effective in specific and extreme scenarios, but what makes chiropractic such a powerful force when faced with these illnesses? Researchers from 100 years ago were correct that chiropractic adjustments lead to boosts in white blood cells, which attack infectious cells and therefore fight off illness. More broadly, chiropractic care is known to improve the immune system by repairing any interferences in the nervous system’s communication.

In addition to the positive effects on the immune system and aiding in preventing illnesses, chiropractic adjustments can also be beneficial when sickness does hit. An adjustment increases lymphatic flow, better equipping your body to dispose of waste and toxins that may be exacerbating or prolonging your illness. As chiropractic care promotes overall wellness of your body, frequent adjustments encourage your body to return to a healthy state quickly.

As shown in the 1918 flu epidemic, chiropractic care is not only an essential service at this time, but it can also be a much-needed practice to ensure health. Dr. Grant Lisetor and the staff at Greater Life Chiropractic are taking measures to meet CDC standards and keep the office safe and sanitary so that you can experience these benefits. Make an appointment today to experience the benefits for yourself.




Brennan PC, et al. Enhance phagocytic cell respiratory burst induced by spinal manipulation. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1991;14:399.

Riley GW. Osteopathic success in the treatment of influenza and pneumonia. J Am Osteopathic Assn, 1919; 18:565.


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