Chiropractors and chiropractic patients have known for a long time that adjustments don’t just help with back pain, sore necks or headaches. There are very often unexpected areas of improved function and performance when someone starts chiropractic care. Patients regularly tell us they have more energy, regular digestive function, better sleep, stronger immune function and better balance.
The old explanation of subluxations was that a spinal bone was out of place, pressing on a spinal nerve, limiting the nerve connection from the brain to the organ or tissue on the other end. What is being shown with more recent studies, is that while chiropractic adjustments directly aﬀect spinal nerve function, some of it occurs because of improved and increased brain coordination.
The 4th fastest supercomputer in the world took 40 minutes to crunch the calculations for a single second of brain activity!
A study from 2018 showed that there is an increase in bite strength immediately following, and one week after a single chiropractic adjustment. We know that the neck curve aﬀects jaw joint (TMJ) function, but this research showed stronger muscle activity immediately after a chiropractic adjustment, without any neck curve change. Muscle control of the jaw is controlled by special nerves called cranial nerves that come from the brain stem and exit through the base of the skull. So what? Well, that’s critical because we know some brain change had to occur for stronger signals to be sent to the chewing muscles.
When your brain repeatedly receives the same information, it will change how it works, a process called neuroplasticity. A basketball coach once told me “practice makes permanent”. If you practice a good, or bad habit, it will be easier to repeat that activity later, like during a basketball game. Repetition causes nerve pathways to strengthen. For example, if your brain continually receives poor, or incorrect information about your stomach, it will send poor or incorrect information back to your stomach. The result? Abnormal digestive function.
Another study published in February 2019 showed that in a group of chronic stroke patients, with leg muscle weakness, foot muscle strength increased on average by 64.2% following a single chiropractic care adjustment! “The change in muscle strength appears to be modulated by cortical factors as opposed to modulation at the spinal level.” That’s science jargon saying that the increase in strength seemed to be caused by changes in brain function, not spinal function.
The purpose of chiropractic adjustments has never been to make your neck pain, sciatica, heartburn, arm tingling or stiﬀ back go away. The job of your chiropractor is to make sure you have better connection through your central nerve system, brain to body and body to brain. This, is what gives you the best ability to heal, rebuild and recover when physical, mental and emotional stresses occur in your life.