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.
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.