First, I would like to start by debunking some of the myths about chiropractors.
MYTH #1: Chiropractors don’t treat chronic diseases.
A chiropractor is a healthcare professional who focuses on the health and function of the spine and nervous system. Because of this focus, most people believe chiropractors can only help with problems such as back pain, neck pain, and headaches. While this is true, chiropractic care is more focused on total health and well being. One stark difference between a medical doctor and a chiropractor is that medical doctors focus on treating symptoms, while chiropractors focus on treating the CAUSE behind the symptoms. The chiropractic philosophy is focused on helping people achieve optimal health so they can enjoy the greatest quality of life.
MYTH #2: Chiropractors do not undergo a significant amount of training.
Chiropractors complete about 8 years of higher education before they are licensed. This graphic shows the comparison of amount of hours a chiropractic student versus a medical student spends on certain subjects.
MYTH #3: A chiropractor merely cracks a person’s back or bones.
The manipulation of the nervous system is what chiropractic care focuses on. Chiropractic adjustments are one of the greatest stimulations for the nervous system. Chiropractors are trained to find certain areas of dysfunction, and use tools to treat dysfunction more naturally. Through acupressure or an adjustment pressure on one particular point of dysfunction sends messages through the stretch of the ligaments and the tendons up into the brain. This movement wakes up that part of the brain, so it can start controlling and coordinating that area better.
The Importance of a Functioning Central Nervous System
A healthy functioning brain is essential for healing because it controls the body and all its therapeutic processes. Chiropractic work is equally as important because of the close relationship between the spine and the nervous system. We know that your brain receives information from the environment via your senses: eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and hands. Did you know that the muscles in your body are also sensory organs? Muscles flex and extend as your body moves. Your brain is aware of your body movement from the messages the muscles send. Everyday strains on the spine like bad posture can impact the flow of communication between the brain and the body.
Other things that we know can impact dysfunction in spinal segments are…
If the communication from your body to your brain is incorrect that leads to dysfunction. Over time constant miscommunication can cause a serious breakdown. For example, if your digestion isn’t working properly, it may be two reasons…
#1 your brain isn’t able to coordinate it
#2 the messages from the gut are not being communicated to the brain to digest.
With the right adjustment, the message from your gut (peripheral nervous system) will be sent to your spinal cord and then up to the brain (central nervous system) telling your brain to facilitate digestion. If the pathway is clear, the brain can send the right message down the spinal cord to coordinate your digestion better.
When we look at getting your brain to work better, we start by making sure it’s getting the right information. A healthy body has clear communication lines. Messages from the brain and the body are sent and received on a continuous loop. An unhealthy body has static on its communication lines, and the messages between the brain and body are garbled. For example, you could be getting all the right nutrition into your body, but if your brain isn’t coordinating your digestion and your small intestine isn’t able to absorb the nutrients, then you can become malnourished.
Adjustments Change Brain Function
The following information was sourced from Haavik Research.
The way your spine works actually changes the way your brain works. In 2015, in a hospital in Denmark, an amazing study was conducted. A group of people who had never had chiropractic care before attended two sessions; one session got real chiropractic adjustments, and the other got fake adjustments. Brain waves were recorded during both sessions. The brain wave recordings or electroencephalography (EEG) showed some apparent changes in the way the brain functions after the real chiropractic session and showed no changes after the fake session.
The study showed a change in brain function by almost 20% on average after the chiropractic adjustment. This study is critical because it is the fourth time the very same finding has been published in a reputable research journal. Non-chiropractic scientists have also collected and analyzed this data. This means that there is a doubt that adjustments impact the way your brain functions.
Because the Danish scientists recorded the EEG over the whole head from 64 individual electrode s they could also work out the exact location of the change in function after the chiropractic session. They were able to show that most of the changes taking place were located in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is where executive functions take place, which means it is essential for our everyday behavior. This area is responsible for coordinating: goal-directed tasks, decision making, intelligence, memory and attention, processing of pain and emotional response to it, autonomic function, movement control, eye movements, and spatial awareness. This could explain why chiropractic care is so impactful on a multitude of health problems.
Adjustments Calm The Nervous System
Stress is associated with almost all chronic illnesses. Research has proven that chiropractic adjustments calm the nervous system. Emotional stress manifests itself in the body as your”fight or flight” mode. This is when your sympathetic nervous system is in high gear. The state your body heals in is “rest and digest” mode so, being stuck in sympathetic dominance is a problem.
Adjustments get more stimulation from the body going up to the brain and help to switch your nervous system from fight or flight into rest and digest. The first step to healing is to calm the nervous system and allow the body to activate its own healing powers. Without chiropractic adjustments to relax the body and smooth out communication, all other efforts are ineffective.
Chiropractic Adjustments Are The Missing Piece To Your Healing Process
One of my patients who came in the other day had fibromyalgia, weight gain, headaches, and problems throughout the whole spectrum. She should have required a ton of metabolic, nutritional work to fix these predominantly metabolic-related problems. However, changing her diet didn’t make any difference for her. The supplements she was taking were just a trivial part of her healing. Almost all her progress was because we got the nervous system to communicate better.
So chiropractic is a big deal. It jump-starts the healing process. This is why you want it on your team as you’re getting better.
Here’s to a better life,
Dr. Steve Puckette