What does the latest neurologic research say about Chiropractic?
New research studies in neuroscience suggest chiropractic care affects much more than back and neck pain.
“There is so much more to chiropractic care than back and neck pain, and headaches,” enthuses Dr Haavik, who studied neuroscience after graduating from the New Zealand College of Chiropractic and is now focusing on research.
Up to now, there’s been a gulf between the available published research and the practice. A handful of studies have shown that chiropractic works only modestly — yet substantially better than — drugs at nipping neck and back pain (1) may help with migraines (2), and even mysteriously lower blood pressure (3), which, for 40 years, has been linked to neck joint dysfunction in the research.
For more than a century now, Chiropractic is the most popular alternative medical treatment, used by 30 million people in the US alone, each year.
“Haavik’s research may finally explain scientifically the amazing results chiropractors have in clinical practice,” says Ross McDonald, a practicing chiropractor and President of the Scottish Chiropractic Association.
The neuroscience studies explore the underlying mechanism of those results—how the spine and central nervous system (CNS) are interconnected and ‘talk’ to each other, and how dysfunction in the spine can affect health and well-being.
One of Haavik’s studies, published this year in the journal Brain Sciences, looked at the effect of chiropractic adjustments in 28 patients with “subclinical” pain—those with a history of intermittent back or neck ache or stiffness for which they were never treated—but who were in pain the day of the experiment. On examination, all had tender spots and restricted joint movement in their spines, the totality of which they were not necessarily aware.
Compared with ‘sham’ (fake) adjustments, chiropractic spinal adjustments of these people induced significantly greater brain activity, or ‘cortical excitability,’ which has to do with neuro-electrical signals produced when the brain is stimulated. This excitation was generated and measured by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain, and can be used as well to note changes in arm and leg muscles.
Increases in muscle strength have proved to be driven by brain activity resulting from spinal adjustments (not by changes made to the spinal cord itself). What might then, chiropractic offer people suffering from nervous system injuries? Stay tuned to future posts to find out, and until then – get Adjusted!
(1) Lelic, D, Niazi, IK, Holt, K, Jochumsen, M, Dremstrup, K, Yielder, P, Murphy, B, Drewes, A and Haavik, H (2016), “Manipulation of dysfunctional spinal joints affects sensorimotor integration in the pre-frontal cortex: A brain source localization study,” Neural Plasticity, Volume 2016 (2016). Online.
(2) Haavik, H (2016), correspondence with Spinal Research via Nimrod Weiner
What do subluxations and a hotel stay
have in common?
You get your family together as you plan to receive some training while you spend a bit of time away.
As you are in the habit of planning expenses, you’ve even called the hotel to make sure you’re arrangements are timely and you’re somewhat aware of costs. However, unbeknownst to you, your hotel charges 7.5% State Tax, a 7% Hotel Room Tax and an Occupancy Fee (as though you rented a hotel room to NOT occupy it), as well as other “Fees.” Your tab now looks noticeably larger than that which you’d envisioned, and you are now somewhat 😦
Subluxations are like the hidden Fees in your bill – in that they lie along your spinal joints, out of sight to you –
waiting for the painful moment your awareness is brought to them.
Seemingly a small imperceptible thing, they inexorably add up and add stress to your neurologic system and life, which then affects your expression of joy.
Stay on top your nerve system’s wellbeing – just as you would your financial wellbeing – and get regular Chiropractic care (and Feel free to SHARE this article and link! 🙂
Why does my Posture improve
after an Adjustment?
The part of your brainstem primarily in charge of postural control is the “Ponto-Medullary Reticular Formation.” That’s a lot of letters, so let’s call it the PMRF for short.
When the information into the PMRF is accurate, the PMRF responds by inhibiting (ie, turning off”) flexion or “hunching over” of the thoracic spine. When the information into the PMRF is incorrect, the PMRF does not inhibit flexion and our posture suffers.
What alters the information going into the PMRF?
Primarily, spinal dysfunctions (subluxations) along your thoracic spine.
Why is this important?
Research performed by Mlinaryck (2007) showed that postural changes were associated with increases in “heart rate, blood pressure, plasma concentrations of noradrenaline and aldosterone, and an elevation in plasma renin activity.” This is evidence that changes in posture (along the spine) influence not only hemodynamics, but also even endocrine responses.
The neurologic system controls and coordinates all other systems of the body, and the effects of your Adjustment are more than just postural!
NECK PAIN, PAINKILLERS, and MUSCLE RELAXANTS
Q: “I had neck pain, but I went to the (medical) doctor, and they gave me muscle relaxants and pain killers. So now I’m ‘better,’ right?”
A: Sadly, no. 😦
Though the painkillers may MASK your body’s LAST effort to give you signs of your underlying problem, your problem is not pain.
Please understand – I, like you – do not like pain! However, after more than 10 years of continued study (past the 2 years of pre-medicine and the 5 years of graduate studies), I can share that the dysfunctions causing your pain are NOT repaired by a pain “killer.”
Q: What about the muscle relaxants? Won’t those help me?
Though they won’t heal you either, they likely will dumb down the motor part of your body’s nerve system so that your muscles contract less. Too bad your body is only doing that to PROTECT the joints of your SPINE, and the drugs (because they are drugs) can only stunt your body’s best efforts to protect you while globally affecting the rest of your body, including your BRAIN and your ability to think.
(Pills do NOT know where your pain is. They don’t even know where your spine is. They go through your bloodstream and affect receptors (sense organs) all throughout your body. Some researchers have even found they affect your ability to THINK.
Yet I don’t like pain either, so I understand.
When you are mobile enough to be brought in, make an appointment (you can even make them online, from your smartphone) and we’ll help you better understand the source of most musculo-skeletal problems like back pain, neck pain, and headaches as well as others, like moodiness, “fogginess” and more.
Even if your pain “goes away” with drugs – wouldn’t it be better to make sure incidents like this do not continue to recur, and to improve your ability to be WELL in the future?
I look forward to seeing your name on the appointment book! – DrC
Stress and Health
Most of us in the US today, are spared from classic diseases like malnutrition. Our diseases are of slow accumulation of damage (often related to TOO MUCH of the wrong types of “food”) – heart disease, diabetes, cancer – which are all either brought on or at the least made worse by, STRESS.
Consider a gazelle attacked by a lion, still needing to flee, or the starving lion who must come up with the energy to run down that prey to stay alive.
We activate the same stress response as gazelles and lions, yet we often do so because of chronic mental and sentimental stress. When this occurs frequently enough, our risk of disease increases as our stress response is not allowed to dissipate.
Neurophysiology now shows us that spinal dysfunctions (subluxations) can either bring about or play into, a STRESS-RESPONSE. What this means is that dysfunctions along the spine that cause joint “noise” and irritation, irritate the nervous system and can create or keep a stress-response going. This is bad news for us, as chronic stress increases blood pressure, delays tissue repair and growth (healing), suppresses the immune system, can cause memory problems, increase the risk of depression and anxiety, and even speeds up brain aging (making us appear older than we should).
The good news is that is possible to eliminate these irritating dysfunctions along the spine before the damage is permanent. It’s what your Chiropractor does every day, every time you visit them, enabling your nerve system to get off the chronic stress train and detour to a more pleasant and healthful Life, all with an Adjustment!
Is “Stress” Really the Problem?
“It’s a myth that stress is your problem.” – Mark Divine, “Unbeatable Mind”
Factually, stress in itself is not a problem. It is simply a stimulus.
The term stress itself, is an acronym for an engineering language used in solving civil engineering problems, STR(uctural) E(ngineering) S(ystems) S(olver) and as a word, comes from the Latin strictus, “drawn tight.”
The real problem with stress is how our bodies habituate to react to stress that they cannot handle (initially) – by subluxating.
What this means is that stress is ALL around you, at ALL times. The pressure to get to up, get to work, (did you know cortisol and other hormonal levels spike about the time you need to get up, just to prepare you for this “fight, flight, or freeze” assault? Bet you didn’t think of your boss or work as a fiesty fiend!), get the child changed, etc. etc. is non-stop. However, you do NOT subluxate as a result of every stressor every moment, because you have a wonderful ability to ADAPT bequeathed to you by your Creator.
However, this ability CAN be exceeded, and that is how one subluxates. Nervous tension (or irritation) yields muscle tension. Muscle pulls on bone, subluxating vertebrae, and now the irritation of that subluxation (joint dysfunction with nerve irritation) further facilitates the muscle (irritates it into more tension). A vicious cycle ensues – Nervous irritation fires Muscle, Muscle pulls on Bone, subluxated Bone irritates the Nervous system… In a word, subluxation. When your Chiropractor disrupts this cycle through the Adjustment, he is addressing the problem of your exceeded ability to adapt in the most practical way.
Fortunately, how we react to stress HABITUALLY is a LEARNED (neural) pattern.
And so, it can be CHANGED. This is what the Adjustment – by disrupting the subluxation pattern -gives your nervous system (and body) a chance to do: Learn ANOTHER way to deal with your exceeded ability to adapt as it is returned to an un-subluxated and ideally functioning state. 🙂