Over the last decade, there has been a growing body of research that suggests adjusting the spine has an impact on the brain. A study conducted in 2016 revealed that adjusting the spine affects brain function. This was the fourth study on post adjustment and brain function and was conducted by independent medical researchers – data collection and analysis were done by scientists who had no preconceived idea about chiropractic care.
Chiropractic and The Prefrontal Cortex
The research showed that spinal adjustments can affect the functioning of the brain by up to 20%. The researchers utilized techniques such as somatosensory evoked electroencephalographic (EEG) and transcranial magnetic stimulation and found out that changes in neuroplasticity occurred in structures such as the cerebellum, basal ganglia, primary motor cortex, primary sensory cortex, and prefrontal cortex. Of all these parts, the scientists found that spinal manipulations caused significant changes in the prefrontal cortex.
The evidence suggests that adjusting the spine affects the way the prefrontal cortex processes information from the arm. This demonstrates that we can change brain function and suggests that spinal function has an effect on how the brain works. The prefrontal cortex is the brain region that is responsible for executive functions such as cognitive behaviour, moderating social behavior, decision making, and personality expression. While the study only captured information from the arm to the brain, it could be replicated to take information from other sensory organs such as the lower limbs and associated nerve sensors in core muscles.
So given the improved function of the prefrontal cortex after spinal manipulation, could chiropractic adjustments potentially boost autonomic function, memory and attention, decision making, goal-oriented tasks, emotional regulation, and spatial awareness? Could chiropractic care help improve these executive functions? Well, the growing body of research suggests that it can. Some chiropractic patients even report improvements in their children who have ADHD symptoms such as behavioural issues, inability to focus and retention at school.
Chiropractic and The Cerebellum
Research indicates that spinal manipulation also affects the cerebellum. This part of the brain plays an important role in pain management, timing and coordinates voluntary movements such as coordination, speech, posture, and balance.
Research shows that neck pain can change cerebellar-motor cortex interaction in neck pain sufferers. Studies also show that spinal adjustments can be an effective neck pain treatment as it reverses the inhibitory effects of neck pain. In short, neck pain can inhibit cerebellar-motor cortex interaction, but the good news is chiropractic adjustments and Trigenics can reverse this inhibitory effect. This helps a person to perceive, process and respond to movement and pain, elevating their consciousness.
Theoretically, spinal adjustments can lead to improved timing and coordination, executive functions, cognitive processing, modulation of proprioceptive input, motor skills and posture. For example, most of you have noticed drastic changes in muscle test results immediately following some small impulses at the spinal level. This is evidence of neuroplasticity in action. Lightning fast!
What does this mean for people considering chiropractic care?
This means any time your spine is adjusted; it improves the way your brain communicates with the body. And a brain that is functioning optimally has a positive effect on the entire body. This means that chiropractic care does not only benefit neck and back pain sufferers and athletes. It can also be of great help to many other professions, eg, scientists, business people, and problem solvers. Contact Dr Rocchi and the Spine Scan team to determine how you can optimise your mind and body through chiropractic adjustments.