Chiropractic Adjustments Improve the Function of Your Brain! (Dr. Amy spells it out for you – why getting adjusted makes your body work better from the inside out)
by Dr. Amy Mercovich
Parents, imagine how boosting brain health could affect your children’s attention span and focus.
Seniors, imagine how this could affect your ability to remain independent for as long as possible.
Everyone, imagine how improved brain function could help you on a day-to-day basis with handling stress, work, and family commitments.
The bottom line is that we experience our lives and handle daily stress through our Nervous Systems (brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves that go everywhere in your body). Since a large part of your Nervous System runs inside of your spine, the condition of your spine and your posture play HUGE roles in your overall health.
Have you heard about the parts of the Autonomic Nervous System (think “automatic” functions of the body that you don’t have to consciously think about to make them run) called the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nerves? These two parts of the Nervous System work like a teeter-totter so if one goes up in activity, the other goes down in activity.
The Sympathetic system is your body’s way of allowing you to be in “fight or flight or freeze” states as in when you need to fight the alligator, run from the tiger, or freeze so the T-Rex dinosaur doesn’t detect you (haha, remember Jurassic Park?).
The Parasympathetic system is what coordinates and controls all the automatic functions of the body responsible for digesting food, keeping your immune defenses up, creating new cells, thinking more complex thoughts, and reproduction. These are all the functions that occur when your body is at rest or doing only mild physical activity, such as a casual stroll.
When your Sympathetic nervous system (think S for Stress) is activated, your body sends blood to your heart and your limbs but stops anything related to digestion, higher cognitive thought, healing and repair, and reproduction (all things that are done with Parasympathetic activity – think P for peace). Presumably, in a few minutes, you have escaped the threat and then the Parasympathetic system kicks back in and you once again “feed and breed” or “rest and digest.”
Now to the moral of the story – the thing that gets me excited as a science geek and chiropractor…
When you get your spine adjusted AND you keep your frame aligned and flexible, you make your Parasympathetic nervous system work better AND your Sympathetic nervous system functions more efficiently when you DO need to go into “fight or flight” mode.
This adds up to better digestion, healthy reproductive organs, strong immune system, easier cell repair, clearer cognitive thought, better balance, and more restful sleep.
As if that isn’t awesome enough, you also can adapt to more stress in your environment without it feeling like stress to your body. For those of you who know your Insight CORE Score and have a high Heart Rate Variability score, you can pat yourselves on the back that your body is efficient at adapting to stress in your environment and has an ability to keep your body in the peaceful Parasympathetic function most of the time.
Looking at the actual brain activity on PET scans before and after chiropractic spinal adjustments, researchers found positive changes to the brain with chiropractic care. Yes – I am doing the happy dance about this finding! (Source: “Cerebral Metabolic Changes in Men after Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation” Journal of Alternative Therapeutic Health Medicine (click on link to read study abstract https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22314714)
It is very likely that many more brain improvements will be uncovered as additional research utilizing PET scans and functional MRI becomes more readily available. (Remember that chiropractic research does not have the funding of giant pharmaceutical companies so the cost of these studies makes them challenging to get funded. Yet, whenever there is an objective study to show effects of chiropractic care to one’s health, good results and few side effects are revealed.)
Once again, the brain effects of chiropractic care are what motivate me to get adjusted regularly (weekly for me) and to adjust my family members regularly as well (anywhere from weekly to monthly). Chiropractic adjustments truly CREATE better health in humans.
I’ll end with a funny quote….”Going to the chiropractor just for back pain relief is like robbing a bank and only stealing the pens.”
Haha! Get adjusted for the amazing health benefits and the fact that you FEEL better is the wonderful side effect.
Dr. Amy Mercovich