We’ve talked in previous Articles of the Week about the impact that chiropractic adjustments have on brain and central nerve system function. The nerve stimulation and brain reboot that occurs during an adjustment appears to normalize the way we sense, and then respond, to the world around us – including how well we heal when injury or damage occurs. It’s another reminder of the impact subluxation has on our human experience.
Adjusting the spine appears to be a bit like rebooting a computer.
Research from 2006 showed that adjusting the pelvis directly influences the ‘feed-forward activation’ of deep abdominal muscles. These muscles are core stabilizing muscles and need to be activated before you lift your arms, so that your body remains balanced and you don’t fall over. In a healthy state, these muscles activate very quickly, subconsciously before you lift your arms. If you decide to lift your arms, your brain sends a message to your abdominal muscles to activate them milliseconds before you move your arms. It’s called ‘feed-forward activation’ because it is pre-planned by your central nervous system to ensure healthy movement of your body, without injury.
Every Adjustment Matters
A group of 90 healthy young men with no symptoms or pain were assessed and 17 of them were unable to pre-activate their abdominal muscles before moving their arms. Without protective pre-activation of their core stabilizing muscles, they were at greater risk of spinal stress, injury, damage and pain. Without any intervention, they assessed them six months later and found the same results. All the men who had abnormal nerve response were checked for subluxation by a chiropractor and adjusted in their pelvis (sacroiliac joints). There was an almost 40% improvement in their ability to pre-activate their core abdominal muscles after ONE adjustment!
Altered core muscle patterns increase the risk of lower back injury.
This study is important because we know that people who have low back pain have delayed activation patterns of their core abdominal muscles with various movements. We also know that six months of daily living for these active young men did not make a difference to this protective postural function, yet one single chiropractic adjustment made a dramatic difference to the way their brain controlled their core stability, maximizing spine function and minimizing the likelihood of subluxation. The improved integration of sensory information provided a brain reboot.