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Escarpment Magazine Article

 

Posture and Spinal Hygiene Improves Brain Function

by Dr. Greg Zoldy – Cornerstone Family Chiropractic

 

Would you rather have a back problem or a brain problem? 

Modern research and clinical evidence has discovered that spinal problems are not only a pain in the neck but they also affect normal brain function.

“90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine,” states Dr. Roger Sperry, Nobel Prize recipient for brain research.  “Better than 90 percent of the energy output of the brain is used in relating the physical body in its gravitational field. The more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy available for thinking, metabolism and healing.”

 

A study published in the reputable Medical Journal of Spine in 2005 was done by a team of all Medical Doctors headed up by Dr. Steven Glassman. They measured posture in 752 subjects using full-spine x-rays. They took measurements from the base of the neck and took plumb-line measurements as it relates to the pelvis. Their findings were quite revealing and astonishing.  All measures of health status showed significantly poorer scores as posture deviations increased. Even minor forward head posture was shown to be detrimental; from breathing and heart rate, to pain and disability, all health markers that were measured worsened as the posture deviations increased. This clearly demonstrated the relationship between a bad spine (vertebral subluxation) and its implications on human health, particularly as it relates to non-musculoskeletal physiology.

 

 “Canada’s chiropractors are musculoskeletal (MSK) experts, providing the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and preventative care of biomechanical disorders originating from the muscular, skeletal and nervous systems.” 

-        Canadian Chiropractic Association

 

Furthermore, chiropractic adjustments help to restore posture by improving motion and spinal integrity, which improves input into the spinal cord and brain, thus allowing the body to comprehend and balance itself better in relation to gravity.

 

Exciting new research studies using neuroimaging technology have also concluded that chiropractic adjustments cause immediate and distinct changes in the brain that inhibit sympathetic tone in the nerve system. Sympathetic tone always increases stress hormones like cortisol and creates a “fight or flight” state in the body, which is attributable to many chronic degenerative diseases.  This inhibitory effect was not seen with other control groups that used placebo adjustments or soft tissue treatments.

 

There is something special and unique that happens in the brain with a chiropractic adjustment.  Cortical brain changes occur resulting in neurochemical changes that have proven health benefits including;

  • reduced blood pressure
  • reduced pain & muscle tone/spams
  • improved memory and concentration
  • proper digestive system function

 

“I am no stranger to chronic neck and back pain.  I have suffered from pain including headaches and severe insomnia in excess of 15 years after a car accident.  I had involvement with a chronic pain management clinic including taking pain medications for years. My chiropractor made it clear to me that X-rays were needed to properly assess and diagnose my condition.  After my initial few adjustments I immediately felt relief and my mobility increased.  Most of all, after 6 years of insomnia having not slept more than 3-4 hours a night, I find myself sleeping through the night and my mental health and wellbeing is visibly improving.”

- H. Jones

 

Many studies have been published and thousands of patients can testify to this restoration effect and how it changed their life.  The spine is a neuro-spinal organ, not only there to protect the spinal cord, but also to provide feedback about posture and movement to the brain which allow us to assess and precisely adapt to our environment.

This provides hope and options for people to overcome many of their health challenges.

 

“Earlier this year my 13-year-old son went through a terrible period of digestive problems. Unknown to us if the cause was anxiety, stress, diet or as we would find out spinal misalignment. After 2 months of missed school, many diet changes and a mix of other treatments with no significant change, we got him started on a Chiropractic program in early May.  Within weeks his digestion was stabilized and his mood was improved. His anxiety was gone. He was able to finish the school year. Not only do I know that chiropractic care helped heal his digestive tract, it alleviated his anxiety and stress. His body healed itself, it just needed to be aligned properly to do so.”
- W. McCauley “One Happy Mom”

 

 

Let’s be clear though, chiropractors are not a substitute or alternative to what other health practitioners and medical professionals do in their practices or emergency rooms.  On the contrary what we do is unique and specific, much like dentistry is for oral health. Complementary to chiropractic principles is a disciplined lifestyle of eating clean, training and exercising often and engaging in daily habits that nurture the soul and spirit.  As well people should cultivate an environment with less stress and healthy relationships.  Together these approaches decrease the risks and side effects associated with consuming pharmaceutical treatments to relieve symptoms or waiting until surgery as the last option. 

 

In the past few decades many chiropractic offices like ours have emerged with cutting edge technology to analyze the spine, posture and nerve system with digital x-rays, posture and movement analysis apps and thermography to name a few.  With the right frequency, specificity and consistency postural imbalances and nerve interference can be improved with comprehensive spinal corrective care programs as well as programs of care to maintain good spinal hygiene.

 

Hopefully in the light of today’s amazing knowledge of the human body and nerve system more people will embrace reasons beyond pain relief to seek care for their spinal health.  Doing so will help this generation and the next experience the amazing capacity within the body to heal and function optimally. 

 

Go to www.cornerstonefc.ca/escarpment for more information and references discussed in this article.  There you will also find a special new patient offer for Escarpment readers from Dr. Zoldy at Cornerstone Family Chiropractic in Owen Sound. 

 

This article is provided as information only and should not be interpreted as medical advice for any particular health condition.  Consult a qualified health provider for specific assessment and recommendations for care. 

 

REFERENCES

Korr IM. “The spinal cord as organizer of disease processes” J Am Osteopath Assoc. 1976 Sep;76(1):35-45. (2)

Haavik-Taylor, H., & Murphy, B. (2007). Transient modulation of intracortical inhibition following spinal manipulation. Chiropractic Journal of Australia37(3), 106.

Ogura T1, Tashiro MMasud MWatanuki SShibuya KYamaguchi KItoh MFukuda HYanai K. Altern Ther Health Med. 2011 Nov-Dec;17(6):12-7.

Cerebral metabolic changes in men after chiropractic spinal manipulation.  Alternative Therapies Health Medicine 2011 Nov-Dec;17(6):12-7.

Haavik Taylor, H. & Murphy B.A. (2007) Cervical spine manipulation alters sensorimotor integration: A somatosensory evoked potential study. Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology, 118(2):391-402

Taylor, H. H., Holt, K., & Murphy, B. (2010). Exploring the neuromodulatory effects of the vertebral subluxation and chiropractic care. Chiropr J Aust40, 37-44.

Daligadu, J. (2012). Cortical and cerebellar motor processing changes subsequent to motor training and cervical spine manipulation.

Marshall, L. D. (2013). The effect of cervical spine manipulation on elbow joint position sense in patients with acute cervical facet syndrome.

Haavik, H., & Murphy, B. (2012). The role of spinal manipulation in addressing disordered sensorimotor integration and altered motor control. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology22(5), 768-776.

Haavik, H., & Murphy, B. (2011). Subclinical neck pain and the effects of cervical manipulation on elbow joint position sense. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics34(2), 88-97.

Taylor, H. H., & Murphy, B. (2010). The effects of spinal manipulation on central integration of dual somatosensory input observed after motor training: a crossover study. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics33(4), 261-272.

Taylor, H. H., & Murphy, B. (2010). Altered central integration of dual somatosensory input after cervical spine manipulation. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics33(3), 178-188.

Taylor, H. H., & Murphy, B. (2008). Altered sensorimotor integration with cervical spine manipulation. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics31(2), 115-126.

Bakris G1, Dickholtz M SrMeyer PMKravitz GAvery EMiller MBrown JWoodfield CBell B. Atlas vertebra realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients. Journal of Human Hypertension 2007 May;21(5):347–352

CHIROPRACTIC EFFECTIVENESS, COST EFFECTIVENESS & SATISFACTION  

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Meade, T.W., Dyer, S., Browne, W., Frank, A.O. Randomised Comparison of Chiropractic and Hospital Outpatient Management for Low Back Pain: Results from Extended Follow Up. British Medical Journal 1995; Vol. 311, pp. 349-251.

Shekelle, P.G., Adams, A.H., Chassin M.R., Hurwitz, E.L., Phillips, R.B., Brook, R.H. The Appropriateness of Spinal Manipulation for Low Back Pain. Project Overview and Literature Review. RAND 1991; Santa Monica, California.

Manga, P., Angus, D., Papadopoulos, C., Swan, W. (1993) The Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low-Back Pain. 1993 Kenilworth Publishing, Ottawa. Commissioned by the OCA. Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health. 

Stano, M., Smith, M. Chiropractic and Medical Costs of Low Back Pain, Medical Care, 1996; Vol. 34(3), pp.191-204.

Jarvis, K.B., Phillips, R.B., Morris, E.K. Cost per Case Comparison of Back Injury Claims of Chiropractic versus Medical Management for Conditions with Identical Diagnostic Codes.  Journal of Occupational Medicine 1991: Vol.33(8), pp.847-852.

Ebrall, P.S. Mechanical Low-Back Pain: A Comparison of Medical and Chiropractic Management Within the Victorian WorkCare Scheme. Chiropractic Journal of Australia, 1992; Vol.22(2), pp.47-53.

Mosley, C.D., Ilana, G.C., Arnold, R.M.  Cost-Effectiveness of Chiropractic in a Managed Care Setting. The American Journal of Managed Care, 1996;Vol.2, pp. 280-282.

Carey, T.S., Garrett, J., Jackman, A., McLaughlin, C., Fryer, J., Smucker, D.R. (1995) The Outcomes and Costs of Care for Acute Low Back Pain Among Patients Seen By Primary Care Practitioners, Chiropractors, and Orthopedic Surgeons.  New England Journal of Medicine 1995; Vol.333, pp.913-917.

Cherkin, D.C., MacCornack, F.A. Patient Evaluations of Low Back Pain Care from Family Physicians and Chiropractors.  Western Journal of Medicine 1989; Vol.150(3), pp.351-355.

Shekelle, P.G., Markovich, M., Louie, R. (1995) Factors Associated with Choosing a Chiropractor for Episodes of Back Pain Care. Medical Care;1995, Vol.33, pp.842-850.

Carey, T.S., Garrett, J., Jackman, A., McLaughlin, C., Fryer, J., Smucker, D.R. The Outcomes and Costs of Care for Acute Low Back Pain Among Patients Seen By Primary Care Practitioners, Chiropractors, and Orthopedic Surgeons. New England Journal of Medicine 1995; Vol.333, pp.913-917.

Sarnat RL, Winterstein J,  Cambron JA. Clinical utilization and cost outcomes from an integrative medicine independent physician association: an additional 3-year update. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2007 May;30(4):263-9.

Evidence-Based Care That Includes Chiropractic Manipulation More Effective Than Usual Medical Care. The BackLetter January 2008; 23(1):3. 

Fernández-de-las-Peñas C, et al. Manipulative Treatment vs Conventional Physiotherapy Treatment in Whiplash Injury: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Whiplash & Related Disorders. 2004 3(2):73-90.