Dr. Sharman’s Musings

brain and chiropractic

Chiropractic: Building a Healthier Brain

Most people come to me for chiropractic care hoping I can improve their physical pain – in their back, neck or extremities. I never have anyone show up saying, “Doc, can you help make my brain feel better?” But maybe they should!

Thanks to some groundbreaking research in chiropractic, we now have solid scientific facts to explain how an adjustment changes the way the brain works. Chiropractic care can actually benefit the brain – and getting adjustments on regular basis may actually enhance your mental health and the general function of your brain. Who doesn’t want that side benefit?!

This revelation came about due to the work of Dr. Heidi Haavik, a chiropractor and a neurophysiologist who has worked in the area of human neurophysiology for over 15 years. Her research work has built the base of scientific evidence for the efficacy of chiropractic care in improving people’s health and wellbeing. She led a ground-breaking study into the influence on the brain after a spinal adjustment. From this came a book, titled A Reality Check: Cracking Chiropractic – and more research.

 

Haavik’s Original Study

In this 2015 study, Haavik included participants who were NOT in any pain and had never had any chiropractic care before. Participants were divided into two groups, with one receiving an adjustment with brain activity recorded. The other group did not receive an adjustment (although they were placed on an adjustment table) but did have brain activity recorded.

The brains from the group of participants receiving the adjustment showed stimulation of the prefrontal cortex – indicating that the adjustment had a direct influence on the sensory input to the brain. The brains from the other group showed no changes.

We already knew that a vertebral subluxation interferes with the messages between the spinal cord and brain with the joints and surrounding muscles. A chiropractic adjustment removes interferences to the nervous system and improves brain function. Haavik’s study scientifically shows that chiropractic when treatment reduces your pain, not only do you physically feel better but your brain function gets better right alongside your body.

This YouTube video explains Haavik’s study in a very easy-to-understand manner:

A Bit About Our Brains

Your brain and nervous system are in the driver’s seat when it comes to controlling every function and organ of your body: attention, balance and posture, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, sexual function, hormone production, and thousands of other functions.
When something needs to be done, it’s the brain sending the signal through the nervous system to make things happen. If the spine is unhealthy, this hinders communication and the resulting performance.

Thus, when your brain and nervous system function well, the rest of your body functions well.

As we age, we unfortunately experience what’s called negative neuroplasticity. This means that our brain function declines – and we may experience things like:

• Memory loss
• Hearing or vision loss
• A weakened immune system
• Challenges in concentration
• More depressed moods
• And other symptoms

While many think about chiropractic treatments as primarily for pain relief, the real goal is to have a positive effect on the brain’s neuroplasticity. By removing the stressors through adjustments, we remove the interference to normal health and healing – and improve neuroplasticity. Research has born this out in multiple studies, including many conducted by Haavik.

RELATED: The Importance of Chiropractic for Stress Relief

 

Our Approach at Life Care

Dr. A and I both feel that through the chiropractic care we provide, we can help with both pain symptoms and enhancing brain function. Of course, we always want our patients to be relieved of pain…but it’s really complete wellness that we seek. Our goal is that after adjustments – and by removing the vertebral subluxation that is impacting your wellness – you’ll experience improvement in memory, ability to process and think, moods and much more!

Want to hear more about Dr. Haavik’s philosophy and findings? Check out this podcast with her.

 

Dr. Sharman

alternative to the new year's resolution

An Alternative to the New Year’s Resolution

This is the time of year. We start hearing about them. Our friends are making them. We may be making them ourselves. What am I talking about?

New Year’s Resolutions.

Am I hearing a collective groan? If so, I’m right there with you!

One reason I’m not a fan of the stereotypical resolution at the beginning of each year is that we often set ourselves up for failure due to:

  • Unrealistic goals
  • Unachievable timeframe
  • Lack of a support system

Research shows that only nine percent of us who make resolutions feel successful in reaching our goals. When we don’t achieve what we resolved to, we often cannot see any accomplishment we may have made….just the fact that we fell short. How does this really help? It doesn’t.

In looking for a better approach to the New Year’s Resolution, I found that many creative, compassionate, intelligent people have come up with some amazing alternatives. There are better ways to improve our lives without the self-guilt that comes with falling short of the goal. I’m very excited to share these alternatives with you – and to hear back from you about the ones you like the best.

 

30-Day Challenge

Set a specific daily objective for a 30-day timeframe. If you are so inspired, come up with 12 different ones (one for each month of the year). The first one can be basic – like decluttering. What action would you be taking each day in January to declutter? It could be throwing away, donating or selling five items per day. At the end of the month, celebrate your accomplishment and decide if you want to take on a new challenge (or skip a month and pick back up in March).

 

Find Your People

Instead of committing to a new activity, commit to the people you want to spend time within your life. Make a list of who brings out the best in you. Who adds value to your day. Who makes you laugh and improves your mood? Get the list down to about five-eight people and plan how to spend more time with them. It could be monthly coffees, weekly walks in the park, weekend trips or even just regular hangouts at your place. Be intentional – and spend quality time with “your people”.

 

Decide What to Track Rather Than Pick a Goal

This one is very interesting to me! Instead of a goal, you’ll decide something to track in your life. It could be how you spend your money, what you eat (food log), how much you use social media…anything. The idea is to decide on your metric and what you’ll measure rather than a measurement goal. A goal may evolve out of it, but in the beginning, you focus on tracking. And perhaps the act of tracking will result in the implementation of a goal (like weight loss).

 

Focus on Gratitude

Practicing gratitude regularly can have an amazing impact on your life. Start by making a list of things you are grateful for, then think about why. Reflect on this list as well as what doesn’t make it on the list (that can be equally insightful). Then make a list of people you are grateful for. Write each person a note sharing why you appreciate having them in your life (without expectation of a response). Go through this exercise as often as you like throughout the year and see how good it makes you feel!

 

RELATED: Attitude of Gratitude

 

Pick a Word of the Year

Find a word to serve as the inspiration for the new year. The idea is that this single word will give you clarity and help you focus in a particular direction. To get to the word, make a list of all kinds of things you’d like to accomplish throughout the year. You should see a theme come to light that can be encapsulated in a single word: joy, relaxation, friendship, discipline, wellness, etc. Whatever it is, that word can be your guide for the new year. Make a poster for your room, write it on your bathroom mirror, buy a keychain with the word on it – then commit the year to that word!

 

Do an Experiment Each Week

Decide to make the new year a year of curiosity rather than difficult change. Establish weekly experiments to encourage you to step outside your comfort zone, try a new activity or discover a new passion. One week you can talk to five strangers to see what happens (new friends, new perspectives). Another week you can decide to do your exercise before work instead of after by going for a brisk walk in the morning. Another you can taste a new food each day to try to expand your diet (you may actually love Brussel sprouts and not know it!). This approach lets you try out a variety of things to decide which ones you want to keep going with. You never know what you may discover about yourself… and what you want to become a permanent habit.

In conclusion, don’t sweat the New Year’s Resolution, and please don’t think you have to do it like everyone else does! There is no one right way to make a change in the new year. Try one of these options – and be sure to let me know which ones you like!

 

Dr. Sharman

 

Resources for this article (and more good ideas not mentioned):
https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/5-alternatives-to-a-traditional-new-years-resolution.html
https://daringtolivefully.com/new-years-resolutions-alternatives