Recent research furthers the understanding of how chiropractic influences spinal function, showing that spinal adjustments alter brain function.
In the study, a single session of spinal manipulation of dysfunctional segments in patients without obvious pain/ low-level pain, caused a change in the processing of sensations from the body at the brain level- particularly within the prefrontal cortex. (Body sensations including pain, pressure and temperature). On average, the study showed a change in brain function of almost 20%.
The prefrontal cortex is responsible for activities that include problem solving, processing complex thoughts and causing emotions. Now, anyone who has heard Nathan Mikaere Wallis talk about the importance of the prefrontal cortex may have an idea as to what this could mean.
We already know that adjustments cause improvements in sensorimotor function (sensory input into the brain dictating movement response) relevant to falls-prevention; better joint-position sense in both the upper limb and the lower limb; improve muscle strength in lower limb muscles; better pelvic floor control; and better ability to carry out mental rotation of objects. These previous research results could be explained by chiropractic care having an effect on the pre-frontal cortex.
If, as this research suggests, adjusting the body improves prefrontal cortex activity, a part of the brain that is responsible for just so much higher level function, then what does this mean in terms of chiropractic’s impact on things like behaviour, decision making, memory and attention, intelligence, processing of pain and emotional response to it, autonomic function, motor control, eye movements and spatial awareness.
By using the absence or obvious presence of pain as an indicator of how well your body is functioning, you may actually be ignoring that you may have restriction of movement in your body, causing altered sensory input into your brain. As this research was showing the impact on low-level or subclinical pain patients, it means you should not wait until you are in pain to get your spine and nervous system checked.
In the aim to improve your nervous system function, Chiro Connect recommends getting regular spine and nervous system checks- just like getting your car a warrant of fitness. Improving your nervous system function can help with injury prevention (as well as pain management) by improving how well your spine is sending information to your brain.
D Lelic, IK Niazi, K Holt, M Jochumsen, K Dremstrup, I Niazi, P Yielder, B Murphy, A Drewes, H Haavik; Manipulation of Dysfunctional Spinal Joints Affects Sensorimotor Integration in the Prefrontal Cortex: A Brain Source Localization Study- Neural Plasticity, 2016
H. Haavik and B. Murphy, “The role of spinal manipulation in addressing disordered sensorimotor integration and altered motor control,” Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 768–776, 2012.