The truth is, we don’t know.
There is research findings backing some theories, including:
- The neuroplasticity model, developed by Dr Heidi Haavak et el. It basically states that altered sensory input from a dysfunctional area in the spine leads the brain interpreting the surrounding world incorrectly. This then leads to less than optimal control of the body and further spinal dysfunction. Spinal manipulation breaks this negative feedback loop and restores normal function.
- The adhesion model, researched by Dr Gregory Cramer. The models premise is that adhesions build up around the spinal joints when they are not used frequently. Spinal manipulation is a way of breaking up these adhesions and restoring normal joint function.
For a deeper look at these two theories, read our blog post How Does Chiropractic Work?
There are other theories out there, but there is no universally agreed answer to how or why spinal manipulation works. Science hasn’t provided us with a clear picture yet and more research is needed.