Debunking Myth Part 3: Chiropractic Kids

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“Truth is only harsh if you’re unable to face it.” -Stewart Stafford

We are going to continue our journey of chiropractic myths! Most people think chiropractic is just for adults, but again, that could not be further from the truth. Infants/kids not needing chiropractic care is the next myth we will discuss. Chiropractic is publicly known as the profession which focuses on back pain, but that myth is such a disservice to the wellness of every citizen. When a child is born, the contact point is the head, but with that contact point, there comes the twisting and torqueing of the neck. So, none of us stood a chance since birth because we more than likely came out of the womb subluxated (misalignment of the spine). Most people don’t think babies or children need chiropractic care. I am here to tell you with the utmost confidence that your little ones should not only have chiropractic care, they need it! When it comes to adjusting babies or toddlers, there is no thrust involved, it is simply a sustained contact on their atlas (C1) or a vibratory contact. The baby stage is so crucial since they are so new to life and development.

Adjusting the atlas on your little one will help with immune function giving their body the best chance at combating illnesses, ear infections, calming colic, brain develop as it restores that communication from the brain to the body since the atlas contributes to 35% of vital organs, increasing blood supply, and improving behavior. “The power that made the body heals the body”- BJ Palmer. We have an innate intelligence that was built into us that is always operating at 100%. Just to show how crucial this miracle segment is, I know two different true stories where children were in comas for months to years and when the chiropractor on site adjusted their atlas’s (C1), both those children woke up in the chiropractor’s arms! “Nature needs no help, just no interference.”-BJ palmer

Give your little one the best chance at thriving and developing throughout their life. They will thank you!

https://www.drchrisharlan.com/5-benefits-of-infant-chiropractic/
https://wellhealthcenters.com/7-reasons-why-chiropractic-care-benefits-infants

Debunking Myths

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Debunking Myths!

“The truth is still truth, even if no one believes it. A lie is still a lie even if everyone believes it”. – unknown

What was your first thought when thinking of a chiropractor? It probably went one of two ways: Either you love chiropractors or dislike them immensely due to a poor experience. People have pre-conceived notions about everything new that enters their life. It’s okay to question things and their validity but sometimes “herd mentality” isn’t always the most effective method for legitimacy. We’re going to discuss a variety of myths associated with chiropractic that have had a hard time exiting the public mind.

The first myth we’ll cover is “self manipulation” . There is an epidemic of people who think “self-adjusting” is harmless and relieving, not realizing how detrimental it can be to their spine. That popping or cracking people hear or feel when they turn their neck or body a certain way is called a cavitation and what takes place is the release of nitrogen gas from the joint which provides temporary relief and sort of a euphoric feeling. The discomfort comes right back because the main cause of the issue is not corrected. When there is a subluxation or misalignment of the spine, that area is fixated decreasing the proper biomechanics. To compensate for that fixation, the body will make regions above or below that subluxation hypermobile to create more movement. When people “pop” or “self-manipulate”, they are not correcting the issue but instead are manipulating the compensation rather than the root of the cause. If that is continued and left unchecked, it can cause degeneration of the vertebral disc and arthritis in the joints involved. In other words, one is creating self-destruction without realizing it.

The next myth is “I’ll have to keep going forever”. Like all things, the body needs maintenance. We don’t stand a chance because we are constantly fighting the forces of gravity without realizing it. It does not take just a fall to become subluxated. We can acquire subluxations through the three T’s: Thoughts, Traumas, and Toxins. Thoughts are the emotional stress that most of us undergo daily whether it be financial stress or grieving the loss of a loved one. Traumas is the most obvious to the public because it is so sudden and easy to correlate where the issue initiated from. For instance, if you fall of a ladder and feel pain instantly or shortly afterwards, it’s a fair assumption the cause of pain was falling off the ladder. Toxins include medications we put in our body along with processed foods and preservatives we intake daily which are not meant to process and usually have difficulty processing.

Debunking myths will be continued! Be PROACTIVE, NOT REACTIVE! Get checked, stay healthy!

Digestive Health: Do you have that “Gut” feeling everything is functioning?

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Digestive Health: Do you have that “Gut” feeling everything is functioning?

“A healthy gut is the gateway to a healthy body and mind.” -Dr. Mark Hyman

What do you think of when pondering gut health? We’ve always been told garbage in, garbage out which is true because based on what you put in your body is how your body is going to utilize that food for energy and immune function. Making food our medicine is not so easy these days due to all the processed foods and preservatives.

So how else can we combat the battle of maintaining a healthy gut? Our nerve system controls every aspect of our body. Specifically, there are spinal nerves that come out from our spinal cord in our low back which innervates our stomach and intestines/colon so ensuring there is no interference of those nerves is pinnacle. If lack of communication is occurring to the stomach and intestines from the brain through the nerves, it can lead to constipation, gas build-up, cramps, heartburn, and diarrhea along with malfunction of other organs. Most of the nutrients from our food when it is broken down is absorbed in our small intestines, it then enters our bloodstream, and then it is carried by proteins to our cells, so we definitely want the function of our small intestines to be optimal.

 I’m going to share a scenario about how powerful the body can be when communication between the brain and the body is restored. I witnessed a patient who came in with severe constipation, so severe that this patient could only pass a bowel movement once a week for the last 18 years and experienced 4-6 kidney stones a year for the last 16 years. Other doctors could not figure out the issue and claimed this patient had to live with it. The patient’s L2, which is top of the low back, was adjusted three times. On the third adjustment, the patient went home, experienced immediate relief and has consistently had a bowel movement every day since then. Furthermore, the kidney stones ceased as well. Due to the build-up of feces in the colon, it began to put pressure on the kidneys which caused them to malfunction causing the kidney stones.

To the best of our ability, let thy food be thy medicine as well as getting checked so the body is functioning!

https://www.atlanticchirofl.com/blog/172877-chiropractic-and-gut-health

Healing: The Long Game

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Healing: The Long Game

“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity”. – Hippocrates

Healing is a process which cannot be rushed, the body’s innate intelligence to handle issues takes time. There is no one hit wonder adjustment that operates as a “magic pill”, especially with years of damage and neglect. If the issues are not dealt with, they are more than likely to reoccur and increase frequency as well. 

After an injury takes place, the body first vasoconstricts (narrows) blood vessels to regulate swelling, then vasodilation (blood vessels expand) occurs causing plasma proteins to escape the blood vessels which leads to swelling. Swelling and edema are the bodies response to stabilize the joint and prevent the joint from unnecessary movement to initiate the healing process. If swelling is not dealt with, it could delay healing and cause scar tissue to be deposited as well as putting pressure on a spinal nerve. When the body is under pain for long periods of time, central sensitization occurs which causes the pain fibers to be bombarded with unnecessary stimulus not allowing the body to adapt efficiently to the stresses of life and heal properly.

In chiropractic, there are phases of healing. In the beginning, the goal is to remove the interference and restore function back in the joint as well as alleviate any pain present.  This usually takes 4 weeks, but it depends on the person since everyone is different with how their body responds. The next phase is the corrective phase to train the body to correct the misalignment and stay corrected restoring the communication between the brain and the body by repairing the integrity of the nerve system. This phase is usually more extensive. The last phase is stabilization which is meant to strengthen the correction of the misalignment. By this phase, frequency of visits has decreased to at least once a week, once every two weeks or once a month. Lifetime care is recommended because our bodies are constantly under attack by thoughts, traumas and toxins we experience daily. The “function” of the body is the name of the game. 

We live our life through our nerve system! Don’t neglect it! Get checked, stay healthy! 

Chiropractic and Mental Health

By | Benefits of Chiropractic, chiropractic adjustment, Chiropractic Myths, energy, fibromyalgia, gonstead chiropractic, gut problems, High Blood Pressure, immune system, inflammation | No Comments

Chiropractic and Mental Health

Research supports that vertebral subluxations may result in altered autonomic nervous system activity. How does this affect mental health and behavior? We will look specifically the vagus nerve “fight or flight” response and “rest and digest” response. The vagus nerve is a major component of the HPA-axis which coordinates neural, behavioral, endocrine, and immune/inflammatory responses. This is why we check heart rate variability in the office to gauge how well your vagus nerve is functioning, therefore how well your HPA-axis is functioning.

There is a theory called the Polyvagal Theory (PVT) that was proposed by Porges in which nervous system regulation affects our emotional expression, communication, and social behavior. Or in other words the neural pathways supporting behavior are involved in maintaining health.

In a study by Williams et al, “There was some evidence that spinal manipulation improved psychological outcomes compared with verbal interventions.” A different study by Holder et al, looked at patients who received instrument assisted adjustments, the test group who received adjustments showed a significant decrease in anxiety compared to the control group.

Chiropractic care a whole is concerned with totality of the human experience. By correcting subluxations, patients are more optimally able to adapt to the world around them and build resilience. When an adjustment is delivered, a patient’s nervous system immediately responds by altering the body’s ability to function at it’s fullest potential again.

Holder JM, Duncan Robert C, Gissen M, Miller M, Blum K (2001) Increasing retention rates among the

chemically dependent in residential treatment: auriculotherapy and (in a separate study)

subluxation-based chiropractic care. Journal of Molecular Psychiatry 6.

Williams NH, Hendry M, Lewis R, Russell I, Westmoreland A, et al. (2007) Psychological response in spinal

manipulation (PRISM): A systematic review or psychological outcomes in randomized controlled

trials. Complementary Therapis in Medicine 15:271-283.

Chiropractic Care for Babies with Colic

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Chiropractic Care for Babies with Colic

Aside from being stressful, tiring even heart-breaking for parents, infant colic can cause both physical and psychological symptoms in parents and can lead to marital tension, social disruption and child abuse.1 The causes of infantile colic are still unknown and traditional medical intervention is often ineffective.1

The traditional medical management for colic involves prescribing drugs such as simethicone drops or proton pump inhibitors. However, systematic reviews have consistently shown that these interventions are no more effective than placebo.2

What is colic? When a baby cries inconsolably for more than three hours per day, more than three days per week, for longer than three weeks this is known as ‘infantile colic’.2 Colic affects up to 40% of children worldwide.1,2

Why try chiropractic? Chiropractic is a safe and effective choice for even the smallest members of society.3-5 In one study researchers showed that babies who received chiropractic care cried significantly less than those who did not receive care.6 Because so many high-quality clinical trials have shown chiropractic care helps babies with colic cry less – up to 50% less – it’s worth giving it a go!

Over recent years the safety of chiropractic care for children and infants has been investigated by many researchers.3-5 The results of their studies suggest that chiropractic care can be safely provided to even the youngest members of our society. Adverse events in children after chiropractic care are rare and usually don’t require further care.3-5

It’s every parent’s nightmare – your beautiful newborn is in obvious distress, and you can’t figure out how to console your little monkey. The suffocating array of parental advice may be leaving you confused. So, what do you do when your baby has colic?  We have summarized some of the latest research on infants with colic. We hope to bust some myths and put your mind at ease.

A study conducted in the UK looked at the effectiveness of chiropractic care in affected children.6 The researchers observed 104 babies who were randomized into three groups. The first group of babies was given chiropractic care and their parents knew they were seeing a chiropractor. The second group also received chiropractic care, but their parents didn’t know whether their baby was receiving the care or the control intervention. And the third group didn’t get checked by the chiropractor; instead, they received the control intervention.

Parents were asked to complete a 10-day ‘crying diary’. The findings from this study suggest that even without chiropractic care crying time reduced. However, babies under chiropractic care cried up to 3 hours less compared to those who did not receive care.

Interestingly, the parent’s awareness of whether their baby was receiving chiropractic care, or the control did not matter. This confirms previous studies that have also shown babies with colic responding well to chiropractic care.4 It suggests that the child’s improvement is probably due to chiropractic and not parent bias or parent placebo effect.

Further, this study found that excessively crying babies were (at least!) 5 times less likely to cry if they received care, compared to not receiving care. So it’s very likely that chiropractic care really does help at least some babies who are suffering from colic.
Remember that the chiropractor isn’t directly trying to treat the colic. Instead, they’re trying to improve spinal function with the aim of improving your child’s brain’s ability to process what’s going on in their body. And for some kids, this seems to result in less crying time! This has to be a good thing for the whole family!

What is Maintenance Care?

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What is Maintenance Care?

People go to see a chiropractor for many different reasons.1 Some go because they’re in pain, some go because they want to perform better on the sporting field, and some want to sleep better.

But did you know that almost 50% of chiropractic patients go to their chiropractor because they simply want to maintain their health and well-being?

Maintenance care is when patients go to a chiropractor even when they are not in pain or discomfort. The idea with maintenance care is that regular adjustments will help maintain your spine and nervous system function at its optimal level and help you to be your best and to prevent new episodes of pain from developing.2

It makes sense to look after your health, so you don’t get sick, right? And that often you get sick because you have been pushing yourself too hard and you’ve become run down? The research tells us that your spine can get run down too, long before you feel pain. We know that if your brain doesn’t send appropriate protective messages to your core trunk muscles, you will have a higher risk of developing low back injuries.3 This makes sense because a lack of core stability means you’re creating mini whiplash injuries to your spine each time you move around or lift your arm or leg.

If you end up in pain after bending down to tie your shoelaces your pain hasn’t just come out of the blue, it’s usually been developing for some time without you knowing about it. It’s often the thousandth straw that breaks the camel’s back.

All of life’s stressors can build up and impact the way your brain is communicating with your trunk muscles and then all that is needed is one last minor thing to go wrong, and you end up with pain. The goal of maintenance care is to help take the straws off your camel’s back before they cause symptoms or have a big impact on your life. So, the research tells us that chiropractic maintenance care makes perfect sense.

A study published by researchers from Sweden in 20184 showed the benefits of maintenance care in a group of people who suffered from low back pain. In this study, the researchers followed 328 patients with low back pain who went to 40 different Swedish chiropractic clinics. If the patients responded well when they were first adjusted they joined the study and received chiropractic maintenance care over the next year or symptom-guided care. The maintenance care patients were seen every 1 to 3 months with the intention being that they were checked before substantial pain reoccurred. Patients in the control group were told to call if and when pain recurred. 

They were then adjusted until they got better,  and they were told to call again if the pain returned. What the researchers were most interested in was the number of days of bothersome back pain suffered by each group throughout the 1-year trial period.

What they found was that the maintenance care group experienced 13 fewer days of pain over the course of the study on average compared to the symptom-guided group. The amazing thing from this study was that the maintenance care group needed less than 2 extra visits to their chiropractor over the course of a year to have 13 fewer days of pain. This suggests that patients who have had low back pain, and who respond well to care, should see their chiropractor regularly, irrespective of whether their symptoms have returned or not. This study did have some limitations of course. One limitation was that chiropractors were told not to schedule their maintenance care patients more frequently than once a month. So some patients in this group may have benefited even more if the chiropractors had been able to schedule their visits more frequently if they thought that was a good idea.

This study shows that it’s important to keep your spine working well, even if you don’t have pain or symptoms.

So, if you want to function at your optimal potential consider chiropractic maintenance care because the research suggests your spine will love you for it!

References

  1. Adams J, et al. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2017;42(23):1810-16.
  2. Leboeuf-Yde C, Hestbæk L. Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2008;16:3-3.
  3. Cholewicki J, et al. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2005;30(23):2614-20.
  4. Eklund, et al. PLoS One 2018;13(9):e0203029.

Acknowledgments

  • Dr. Heidi Haavik – BSc(Physiol) BSc(Chiro) PhD
  • Dr. Kelly Holt – BSc, BSc(Chiro), PGDipHSc, PhD
  • Dr. Jenna Duehr – BChiro, BHSC (Nursing), MHSc

Migraines & Chiropractic

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Migraines

Do you suffer from migraines? If you do, you will know how debilitating they can be. If you don’t, just imagine suffering with a throbbing headache for days on end, and feeling nauseous, and vomiting, and being unable to stand bright lights and loud noises. They really are awful!

For about 1 in 6 people around the world, they experience this on a regular basis, often many times each month.1 They are often severe and are considered by the World Health Organisation to be the most debilitating of all neurological disorders.1 Trying to carry on a normal life when you suffer from migraines can be really challenging. Caring for yourself, let alone a family, can be tough, and trying to work when all you want to do is hide in a dark quiet room can be impossible.

A sad fact is that almost half of sufferers don’t get the relief they need from usual drug treatment options.2 And to make matters worse, commonly prescribed medications for migraines can actually end up causing more headaches and more pain in the long run.2 This is a real problem!

That is why researchers and health professionals have been exploring what other healthcare options may help people who suffer from migraines. One of these options that have received quite a lot of research attention is chiropractic care. This may be because so many people with migraines see a chiropractor for help.2 Let’s take a look at what the research says about chiropractic care and migraines.

In 2019 a systematic review was published that looked at all of the clinical trials that had investigated whether chiropractic care can help people with migraines.2

What they found was that when all of the research is combined, people with migraines who saw a chiropractor or another health professional who provided spinal manipulation had fewer days with migraines each month. And they also experienced less migraine pain. That means that chiropractic care really does seem to help some people who suffer from migraines.

In one of the studies they were looking at, the researchers found that for about 1 in 5 people who suffer from migraines, their migraines almost went away completely after 2 months of chiropractic care!

We don’t know for sure who will respond well to chiropractic care, and we don’t know how much of an influence the placebo effect might have, but for some people, when they get under chiropractic care, their migraines almost completely resolve within just a couple of months.

So, if you suffer from them, or you know someone who does, consider chiropractic care, because it may really make a big difference to you or the people you care about. They don’t have to be a life sentence, so go and see a chiropractor and rediscover what life is supposed to be like.

References

  1. Goadsby PJ, et al. Pathophysiology of Migraine: A Disorder of Sensory Processing 2017;97(2):553-622.
  2. Rist PM, et al. Headache 2019;59(4):532-42.

Acknowledgments

  • Dr. Heidi Haavik – BSc(Physiol) BSc(Chiro) PhD
  • Dr. Kelly Holt – BSc, BSc(Chiro), PGDipHSc, PhD
  • Dr. Jenna Duehr – BChiro, BHSC (Nursing), MHSc

Chiropractic and Strokes

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Chiropractic and Strokes

Having a stroke can be devastating! Not just for the person who has the stroke, but also for their family, friends, and caregivers. They are one of the leading causes of death and disability in the world.1

In fact, about 17 million people around the world suffer from a significant stroke every year! And about 5 million of them experience long term disability.2

Over the past 20 years, scientists have been showing that chiropractic care can actually change the way your brain works and how it controls your body, including movement and strength.

A stroke is something that causes a problem with the blood supply to the brain. This could be because of a blockage in an artery in the brain or a bleed in the brain itself. We all know how important our brain is, and without blood, it just doesn’t work, which is why strokes can be fatal or result in significant long-term disability.2

One of the most common disabilities after a stroke is muscle weakness, often on one side of the body. This may mean that after a stroke, a person has trouble using their arm or hand, or they may struggle to stand or walk.3 Living with muscle weakness can be really hard and have a big impact on a person’s ability to look after themselves or work.

There are lots of rehabilitative approaches that may help people who have had a stroke from physiotherapy through to robot-assisted therapies.4-6 But doctors and scientists are constantly looking for new approaches to help stroke survivors.3

Over the past 20 years, scientists have been showing that chiropractic care can actually change the way your brain works and how it controls your body, including movement and strength.7-16 A number of recent studies have shown that a single session of chiropractic care can result in an immediate increase in strength.17-20

In one of these studies, the researchers found a 16% increase in strength of leg muscles in a group of students after a session of chiropractic care.17 Another study reported an 8% increase in strength in elite athletes after they were adjusted by a chiropractor,19 and one more study found an 11% increase in jaw strength in a group of healthy people after chiropractic adjustments.18

Chiropractic May Help

But could chiropractic care help someone who has muscle weakness because they’ve had a stroke? A new study says maybe it can!20 In this study that was published in the reputable journal Scientific Reports, researchers looked at changes in strength in weak leg muscles after chiropractic care in people who had suffered from a stroke.20

The team of scientists that did this study measured the strength of weak leg muscles in chronic stroke patients before and after a single session of chiropractic care or a sham control session. They also used electrical stimulations of nerves in their legs, which could help them to work out whether any changes in strength came from their brain or something that was happening in their spinal cord. 

When they analyzed the data from their study, the scientists found an average improvement in strength of almost 65% in the affected leg of these stroke patients. They were blown away by this finding because 65% is a huge difference! They also found that these strength changes were due to changes in the way their brain was communicating with these weak muscles, as opposed to changes in their spinal cord.

These results are really exciting, but you do need to remember that the scientists only looked at immediate changes after chiropractic care, so they don’t yet know how long the changes last for. That’s why they’re now doing another study to look at how longer-term chiropractic care impacts how stroke survivors can walk and move.

However, these initial ground-breaking findings are really important and may mean that chiropractic care can help people who have had a stroke to improve their strength and ability to walk and move. So, if someone you know has suffered from a stroke, let them know that chiropractic care may really help to improve their brain/body communication and to get them moving again!

References

  1. Sherzai AZ, Elkind MS. Advances in stroke prevention. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2015;1338:1-15.
  2. Clarke DJ, Forster A. Improving post-stroke recovery: the role of the multidisciplinary health care team. J Multidiscip Healthc 2015;8:433-42.
  3. Chen JC, Shaw FZ. Progress in sensorimotor rehabilitative physical therapy programs for stroke patients. World J Clin Cases 2014;2(8):316-26.
  4. Veerbeek JM, Langbroek-Amersfoort AC, van Wegen EE, et al. Effects of Robot-Assisted Therapy for the Upper Limb After Stroke. Neurorehabilitation and neural repair 2017;31(2):107-21.
  5. Greisberger A, Aviv H, Garbade SF, et al. Clinical relevance of the effects of reach-to-grasp training using trunk restraint in individuals with hemiparesis poststroke: A systematic review. J Rehabil Med 2016;48(5):405-16.
  6. Wist S, Clivaz J, Sattelmayer M. Muscle strengthening for hemiparesis after stroke: A meta-analysis. Annals of physical and rehabilitation medicine 2016;59(2):114-24.
  7. Haavik H, Murphy B. Subclinical neck pain and the effects of cervical manipulation on elbow joint position sense. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 2011;34:88-97.
  8. Haavik H, Murphy B. The role of spinal manipulation in addressing disordered sensorimotor integration and altered motor control. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 2012;22(5):768-76.
  9. Haavik Taylor H, Murphy B. Altered cortical integration of dual somatosensory input following the cessation of a 20 minute period of repetitive muscle activity. Exp Brain Res 2007;178(4):488-98.
  10. Haavik Taylor H, Murphy B. Cervical spine manipulation alters sensorimotor integration: A somatosensory evoked potential study. Clin Neurophysiol 2007;118(2):391-402.
  11. Haavik Taylor H, Murphy B. Transient modu-lation of intracortical inhibition following spinal manipulation. Chiropractic Journal of Australia 2007;37:106-16.
  12. Haavik Taylor H, Murphy B. Altered sensorimotor integration with cervical spine manipulation. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2008;31(2):115-26.
  13. Haavik Taylor H, Murphy B. Altered Central Integration of Dual Somatosensory Input Following Cervical Spine Manipulation. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 2010;33 (3):178-88.
  14. Haavik Taylor H, Murphy B. The effects of spinal manipulation on central integration of dual somatosensory input observed following motor training: A crossover study. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 2010;33 (4):261-72.
  15. Marshall P, Murphy B. The Effect of Sacroiliac Joint Manipulation on Feed-Forward Activation Times of the Deep Abdominal Musculature Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2006;29(3 ):196-202.
  16. Niazi I, Türker K, Flavel S, et al. Changes in H-reflex and V waves following spinal manipulation. Exp Brain Res 2015;233:1165-73.
  17. Niazi IK, Turker KS, Flavel S, et al. Changes in H-reflex and V-waves following spinal manipulation. Exp Brain Res 2015.
  18. Haavik H, Ozyurt MG, Niazi IK, et al. Chiropractic Manipulation Increases Maximal Bite Force in Healthy Individuals. Brain sciences 2018;8(5).
  19. Christiansen TL, Niazi IK, Holt K, et al. The effects of a single session of spinal manipulation on strength and cortical drive in athletes. Eur J Appl Physiol 2018;118(4):737-49.
  20. Holt K, Niazi IK, Nedergaard RW, et al. The effects of a single session of chiropractic care on strength, cortical drive, and spinal excitability in stroke patients. Scientific Reports 2019;9(1):2673.

Acknowledgments

  • Dr. Heidi Haavik – BSc(Physiol) BSc(Chiro) PhD
  • Dr. Kelly Holt – BSc, BSc(Chiro), PGDipHSc, PhD
  • Dr. Jenna Duehr – BChiro, BHSC (Nursing), MHSc

Pain Is Created In The Brain

By | Benefits of Chiropractic, chiropractic adjustment, Chiropractic Myths, gonstead chiropractic, gut problems, inflammation, kids chiropractic | No Comments

Did you know that scientists now know the feeling of pain is something your brain decides you should experience if it believes there is some tissue damage in your body? In fact, your brain can decide that you should feel pain even if it only thinks there is a potential threat of damage! 2-5

It may seem strange, but it’s totally up to your brain to decide whether you should feel pain or not. Your brain may decide you should experience pain even if you have no actual tissue damage yet,6 or your brain may not create the feeling of pain for you when tissue damage has actually occurred! 7 8 This is called the “pain paradox”. It means that the pain you feel does not always reflect the severity or even the location of your problem – if there is a problem at all. Science has shown beyond a doubt that pain is created in your brain! 2 4 9 10 

Sometimes pain can be very helpful and informative.1 Our brains create the experience of pain to let us know something is not ok.1 Maybe we are overexerting ourselves, or maybe we have had an injury that we need to be careful with to allow our body to heal. The pain can let us know what not to do while our body heals the problem.1 This pain is helpful and informative.1

If we listen to our body these pain experiences can be a good thing. But for some people, pain can persist even after the initial injury that caused it has healed.9 11 12 And for some people, the pain can spread to other areas that are not injured at all.6 For these people, the pain has become non-informative and non-helpful.9 11 12 The pain itself has become a problem. The brain has learnt to be in pain.9 11 12

The way the brain does this is very similar to the way the brain learns anything. It’s called neural plasticity – or brain adaptations.9 11 12 Brain scientists now know that what you focus on drives the way your brain will change.13-15 This can be a problem if you are focusing on your pain because it may make your pain worse. So, even if you’re in pain, try to focus on the good things in your life instead of your pain. Focus on what is working well. Focus on what makes you happy. This alone can help you!1

Brain scientists who have studied the effects of chiropractic spinal adjustments, have discovered that adjustments may change brain function.16

Chiropractic has a neuroplastic effect on the brain.16 In particular, adjustments change function in a part of your brain called the pre-frontal cortex.17 This part of your brain is actually the part of your brain that’s very involved in pain becoming chronic.8 18-21 This might be why getting chiropractic care early on when you have a problem has better long-term outcomes.22 It might also be that chiropractic care can prevent pain from becoming chronic.22

Neuroscientists believe that chiropractic care most likely helps reduce your feeling of pain by helping your brain ‘turn down’ or ‘switch off ’ the perception of pain in your brain.23 This means chiropractors may or may not adjust your spine exactly where you feel that it hurts. They are looking for parts of your spine and/or body where there is a lack of proper movement and they will adjust you there – so don’t worry if it’s not where you feel the pain.

References

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