Category: Chiropractic

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

chiropractors can help with vertigo

Chiropractors Can Help With Vertigo

Vertigo – it comes in many forms, has many causes, can be acute or chronic and affects around 35-40% of all people over the age of 40 at least once in their lifetime. Perhaps you have experienced it? Or know someone who has? It’s extremely frustrating and debilitating…and if it is chronic, it is a tough way to live your life.

When I hear about a friend or relative having an experience with vertigo, I always feel a lot of empathy for what they are going through. Sufferers often have a sense that the room is spinning, with extreme dizziness. Vertigo can be accompanied by tinnitus – or a ringing of the ear – balance issues, nausea and vomiting and headaches. Some folks can even lose their hearing over time.

I’ve known people to have a temporary experience with vertigo that thankfully subsided over time. Vertigo has various causes but many are related to the inner ear. Patients have asked me if chiropractors can help with Vertigo – and the answer is yes! But before visiting one, here’s what you should know about the condition and the treatment.


What Causes Vertigo

Vertigo is not a condition you can predict or expect to have happen. For many, it just shows up one day, although there are some instances when head trauma or a virus can trigger it.


Central vertigo occurs as the result of a disturbance in one or more parts of the brain, known as sensory nerve pathways.


Peripheral vertigo occurs when there is a disturbance in the balance organs of the inner ear. This is the more common cause of vertigo. Within this category of causes, there are a few main kinds:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or BBPV is a condition that affects the inner ear, particularly when calcium particles or crystals clutter in the canals of the ear and the endolymph fluid can’t move them along.
  • Meniere’s disease is caused by a change in pressure in the ear plus a buildup of fluid. This can cause both vertigo and possibly hearing loss.
  • Labyrinthitis is commonly associated with having an ear infection in the structure of the ear that controls hearing and balance.
  • Vestibular neuritis is also a condition commonly associated with having an ear infection. The nerves of the inner ear become inflamed and vertigo symptoms ensue.


Treatments for Vertigo

For the forms of vertigo that don’t go away without treatment, there are some treatment options that do work. In fact, many forms of vertigo – and BBPV in particular – can often be cured over time when specific treatment is applied.

There has been some research on the impact of chiropractic on people suffering from vertigo symptoms, such as dizziness and lack of balance. In this study, patients did improve over time.

Primarily, we chiropractors offer three kinds of treatments that have all shown to be impactful in reducing the symptoms of vertigo.


Chiropractic manipulation focuses on the joints that are not moving properly. Cervicogenic vertigo, when the joints of the upper neck send the wrong signals to the brain about body position and movement, benefits the most from chiropractic manipulation. Chiropractor Don Fitz-Ritson conducted a study that had a 90 percent success rate when treating this type of vertigo with manipulation, after 18 months of treatment.


Positioning maneuvers is another approach that is well-known for improving vertigo symptoms. If the source of vertigo appears to be the inner ear, it may be that debris has accumulated in the balance center of the inner ear. When debris settles in the complex system of fluid-filled tubes of the inner ear, patients can end up with vertigo. By conducting positioning maneuvers, with the Epley Maneuver being one of the most recognized, a chiropractor can attempt to reposition the debris to a less problematic position within the inner ear. This maneuver works well for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or BPPV.



Finally, we can show you some exercises that are designed to break up the crystals that can lead to Vertigo. They target the vestibulocochlear system, with the Brandt-Daroff exercises being the most commonly known. Patients have to follow the steps religiously and repeat them five times in the morning, afternoon, and evening for about two weeks.

With the Brandt-Daroff approach, I have the patient sits on the edge of his/her bed and alternately lay on first one side, back upright, then the other side at one-minute intervals. While this can help with symptoms if the protocol is followed, I always warn patients that there is a risk of nausea – so folks should discontinue if that symptom becomes severe.



While vertigo can be difficult to live with and challenging to resolve, for many people it will go away within a few weeks or months. For some, this won’t happen without treatment. If you find yourself with a bout of vertigo, it’s hard to do nothing and hope it will disappear. So consider seeking help! Chiropractors can help with vertigo – and once we diagnose the cause of your vertigo, we’ve got several options for how to help you get rid of it. I hope you never have it, but I’m here if you do.


Dr. Sharman