Chiropractic helps the brain become more aware of what is going on inside and around your body, so that your nervous system can respond, adapt and coordinate itself more appropriately. This is why when you get an adjustment (chiropractic treatment) you feel and function at your best.
Let me elaborate on how chiropractic treatments effect the body….
Chiropractic treatment starts with the chiropractor assessing the body for areas of dysfunction. When there is an area of dysfunction, especially in spinal segments the brain is not accurately receiving and perceiving what is going on at that level, and therefore is not controlling the movement pattern of the spine as well as it could, influencing the overall function and movement of the body.
There are three types of stressors to the body
- Physical – for example a trauma such as falling off your bike
- Chemical – for example a poor diet or the chemicals you are exposed to, and
- Emotional – for example work stress, family stress, etc.
These stressors on our body are accumulative which is why we sometimes hear the saying ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’. This is know as maladaptive neuroplasticity.
Stressors and/or trauma can cause the small muscles closest to the spine and skull to become inhibited, or ‘become turned off’. This alters the sensory signalling from these little muscles to your brain. These alterations change the brain’s map of the body. Also how it perceives what is going on both inside your body and outside in the world around you. With decreased awareness comes a decrease in the nervous systems ability to coordinate and control the body properly. This inevitably ends with poor control, function and sometimes pain.
How a Chiropractic treatment can help
When a chiropractor adjusts a dysfunctional segment, we stretch those little muscles close to the spine. The stretch then sends a message to the brain, more specifically the frontal cortex. It then lights it up with information about those specific stretch receptor cells (called mechanoreceptors) being stimulated and all of the other mechanoreceptors around that area as well. This helps improve the brains overall map of the body.
In the human body there is a nerve root that exits the spinal cord at each level of the spine. These nerves are responsible for every single function of the human body. From the contraction of muscles to move the arm to the involuntary beating of the heart. As the adjustment is delivered, there is also a stimulation to these nerves as well. This is why it is believed that chiropractic can have a positive effect on other functions of the body such as digestion.
When the brain is more aware of what is going on, your nervous system is able to better adapt the different stressors, coordinate and control your body better, heal its tissues more effectively, and therefore function to its best potential.
Dr. Heidi Haavik, PhD, a chiropractor and neurophysiologist, and her team based in New Zealand, continue to dedicate their ongoing research into the effects of chiropractic on the brain and its control of the nervous system.
Haavik, H. (2014). The Reality Check. Haavik Research