Neurophysiology for patients - How does chiropractic work? (By Rhys Dale: Chiropractor at Cleveland Chiropractic)
Chiropractic care improves the way you brain perceives the outside environment. We are constantly receiving information from our eyes, ears, nose and skin about what’s going on around us. What you may not know is one of the biggest inputs the brain receives is positional information from the muscles and joint capsules throughout the spinal column. When we have restrictions or disturbance of spinal motion through these spinal muscles and joint capsules the brain is receiving a distorted signal from the affected area. This can cause many symptoms such as clumsiness, muscle fatigue, pain, weakness and even fogginess and difficulty concentrating.
When a chiropractor adjusts these dysfunctional spinal segments, they can stimulate the brain via the spinal cord and restore a clear signal from brain to body. The adjustment enhances the clarity of communication from brain to body and body to brain, but how does this happen? What mechanisms are involved?
Chiropractic adjustments have been demonstrated repeatedly to alter activity through an area of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex by an average of 20%. This area of the brain is likened to a conductor in an orchestra; it integrates lots of information from different areas and weaves it into a plan of action. The prefrontal cortex processes your drive to attain goals, attention, learning and your sensory-motor control of your body (that is the way you move in response to the world around you). What is sensory motor-integration and why is it important?
Think of sensory motor integration like hand to eye coordination. It is your ability to see the ball coming at your face and regulate what muscles to contract and how strong to contract these muscles to get your hand to that ball. This doesn’t just happen with your limbs however, it’s also happening with your spinal muscles and joints every time you sit into a chair, bend down to pick up your bag, turn you neck to reverse a car; really, all the tasks you perform throughout the day.
The take home message is chiropractic care is working by enhancing brain function. That’s why it’s important to get yourself adjusted regularly and alter your prefrontal cortex, even in the absence of pain.