Did you know that chiropractic adjustments and movement of the spine can affect brain function? After you have had an adjustment, especially a cervical or neck adjustment, do you ever notice any changes in your thinking or perception of the world? Many have said that they feel better, focus better and have improvement in movement and coordination. I have noticed that my vision becomes sharper and clearer after I get adjusted. Well now there is some research being done to show us why that is happening.
The project involved collaboration with researchers from Denmark, Canada and Australia. Published in the Journal of Neural Plasticity, this study looked at how spinal adjustments where able to change and influence brain function. More specifically this study indicates that adjustments impact the function of the prefrontal cortex. This change in brain function was noted to be almost 20% on average.
One of the authors, Dr. Haavik is particularly excited about what this implies: “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 in the brain.” This shows us that every time we’re adjusting someone, we’re having a big, positive effect on the brain. And a brain that’s functioning differently and conducting its activities better is sure to have an effect on the body.
That is very exciting what the research suggests, that adjusting improves prefrontal cortex activity, a part of the brain that is responsible for just so much higher level function, things like behavior, decision making, memory and attention, intelligence, processing of pain and emotional response to it, autonomic function, motor control, eye movements and spatial awareness.
Haavik goes on to say, “An effect on the function of the prefrontal cortex could explain many previous research results, such as improvements in sensorimotor 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. 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.”
So in addition to what many patients report as feeling better and having more range of motion in their spine and joints after an adjustment, we now see they are also getting a 20% boost in brain function. Don’t you think that would be great advantage for the kids in school, before a big test, help to focus on classwork, or for the adults that need to do projects for work or carry out a great presentation?
This is not the first research to show that spinal movement helps and influences the brain. Dr. Roger Sperry, neurobiologist and Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Nobel Prize recipient for brain research stated “90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine.” He went on to compare that the movement of the spine will charge the batteries of the brain in a similar way that wind can generate electricity from moving a windmill.
Who wouldn’t want to get a boost of 20% increase brain function and keep the brains batteries charged? By keeping the spine moving and free from subluxation or joint dysfunction, we can not only keep our body in better health but our brain as well.