Dr. Heidi Haavik Adjusting the Spine Changes Brain Function
New Study: Brain Function and Chiropractic
Some very fascinating chiropractic news was announced recently. The team here at The Back Clinic found this to be very exciting and had to share it with you via this blog post.
A study, looking into the affects of chiropractic adjustments on brain function, was published in the journal Neural Plasticity and the results appear to be very promising.
The study, lead by researcher Dr. Heidi Haavik (award winning scientist, speaker and author), was able to conclude that adjusting the spine changes brain function, by as much as 20%.
“We do know that spinal function does affect brain function. There’s now solid evidence that adjusting the spine changes brain function,” Dr. Haavik said.
Apparently this was the fourth time that the effect on the brain by adjusting the spine was looked into.
What are the implications of this study?
This study indicates that chiropractic adjustments impact the function of the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the area in the brain where higher learning and cognition happen.
“The latest study suggests that the changes that we do see in the brain when we adjust the spine do occur in the prefrontal cortex. That part of the brain is like the conductor,” said Dr. Haavik.
The implications of this finding are discussed further by Dr. Haavik, below:
“An effect on the function of the prefrontal cortex could explain many previous research results, such as improvements in sensor motor function relevant to falls-prevention; better joint-position sense in both the upper limb and the lower limb; improved muscle strength in lower limb muscles; better pelvic floor control; and better ability to carry out mental rotation of objects.”
Chiropractors often observe a broad spectrum of changes in people under chiropractic care. These changes may include patients saying they feel better or focus better, as well as noticing improvements in movement and coordination. In order to understand why this might be, we need to better understand the brain’s ability to perceive, and respond to, the world around us. As Haavik explains:
“Being able to accurately perceive the world around you is a vital skill we need all day every day. To recognize some objects you may need to mentally rotate them. For example to recognize the letter p versus b if they were not upright you would need to rotate them in your mind to figure out which letter it was. We all do mentally rotate shapes and objects we see, but we may not often think about that we do it, or how important this is in our daily life.”
“This is solid scientific evidence that adjusting the spine changes the way the prefrontal cortex of the brain is processing information from the arm. It demonstrates we change the way the brain works and shows that spinal function impacts brain function. One of the most interesting things about the changes we observed was that the prefrontal cortex is responsible for behaviour, goal directed tasks, decision making, memory and attention, intelligence, processing of pain and emotional response to it, autonomic function, motor control, eye movements and spatial awareness.”
What does this mean for you?
The question to ask now is this: what might this mean for chiropractic and for health in general? If the research is correct in suggesting adjustments improve prefrontal cortex activity, what role might chiropractic play in improving the functions controlled by this part of the brain? Many chiropractors are sharing their thoughts on this study, like this post.
If you aren’t familiar with the functions, consider these: behaviour, decision-making, memory, autonomic function, motor control, eye movement and spatial awareness
Further research is needed to explore this area and to answer the questions posed by this study.
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If you want to learn more about chiropractic, please contact the team at The Back Clinic today. We can provide you with a thorough chiropractic assessment and may provide recommendations for treatment, as required. A thorough chiropractic evaluation may determine whether your posture is contributing to symptoms such as back pain, discomfort, restricted breathing and/or poor biomechanics.
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