Research into chiropractic treatment is beginning to open up an interesting view on how a chiropractic adjustment affects the body, shining a light on the potential benefits of this unique form of healthcare.
Increased function and performance:
Chiropractic care has been shown to alter and enhance muscle function in the general population. Adjusting dysfunctional areas in the spine may not only improve spinal function but also improve the way we sense our environment, process information in our brain and control muscles in our arms and legs.
Studies have shown chiropractic treatment may improve proprioceptive ability. This is the sense that allows us to understand how our body is positioned in space and how it moves through this space. This is not only important for athletes who want to perform at their best, but also everyday people who want their body to function optimally with any form of physical movement.
Chiropractic treatment has been shown to change the way the brain processes and sends specific messages to the muscles. Some research findings include naturally improve reaction times, increased muscle strength and the prevention of muscle fatigue from developing in certain areas.
Back pain prevention:
One study has shown that adjusting a particular joint may influence the feed-forward activation of core stabilising muscles. Feed-forward activation is the ability of the nervous system to activate other muscles before limb movement, to ensure healthy movement of the body without injury.
This is important as studies show people with lower back pain have delayed feed-forward activation of the core stabilising muscles. It has also been determined that people who have altered core muscle recruitment are more likely to have back pain in the future. Therefore, chiropractic care may not only help with back pain, but prevent it from developing in the future.
Fall prevention amongst older adults:
Sensorimotor function is the ability of the nervous system to interpret the sensory information and use it to help control muscle movement. A study determined that 12 weeks of Chiropractic care improves sensorimotor function related to falls risk of community dwelling older adults.
Studies have found adjustments may cause:
- Improved or altered visual acuity and visual field size.
- Reduced joint position sense error (the ability to know where your joints are positioned).
- Altered reflex excitability.
- Reduced pain thresholds for certain people who are sensitive to pain.
The scientific theory on what chiropractors are treating:
It has been shown that muscles surrounding the spine cease to function normally early on in the development of spinal pain. This issue does not automatically cease when pain symptoms improve.
Other studies have shown that spinal function impacts how the brain organises and interprets sensory information. It also affects how the brain controls the muscles throughout the body.
Researchers have proposed that a problem arises when spinal dysfunction causes your brain to inaccurately perceive the sensory information it is receiving about the world within and around your body. Since the brain uses this information to determine how to specifically control every muscle movement you make, a slight inaccuracy in sensory perception can then lead to further inaccuracies in the way your brain controls your muscles. This may lead to less than optimal body functioning and make you more vulnerable to injury.
Spinal muscle dysfunction
Altered sensory perception
Suboptimal muscle control
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This sections information was sourced from Dr Heidi Haavik’s book, “The Reality Check.” Dr Haavik is a neuroscientist, chiropractor and a world leader in chiropractic research. For a detailed look into these findings, you can find her book here: www.heidihaavik.com