I admit, it is hard to convince people to get healthy when most of the benefits of a chiropractic adjustment go unnoticed. Patient’s often can’t feel all the benefits. Chiropractor’s treat one thing, subluxation and if you have one it leads to a life that is less than your inborn potential. A subluxation is interference in your central nervous system and chiropractors remove this interference. We are brain doctors that just happen to not need to open up your skull to adjust it, we use the powerful nerves connected to the brain that are connected on the other end to spinal bones. It’s not as dramatic as seen on T.V when the surgeons are sawing open your head, and I’m surprised that more people don’t appreciate that.
O.K. let’s get down and dirty here. I hear all kinds of crazy things. Crazy things like, why does my kid need to go to a chiropractor. First of all he doesn’t need to, but you may want to after reviewing this next study. MRI scans from 154, 10 year olds were examined in Scotland. None of the children had ever had any problems with their back and none were reporting any back pain or other symptoms of disc degeneration. Yet, 14 children 9% of these 10 year olds had signs of IVD degeneration on their MRI scan. They were not feeling it yet, but at the age of 10, their spines were already breaking down, which means their central nervous system; brain function was already being compromised.
You may ask, how does this happen. This can occur because the subluxation (nerve interference) increases sympathetic responses (stress hormones) that affect the mechanoreceptors around the disc and the interneurons, which create conditions inside the disc that, dehydrate the disc. Keep in mind that a majority of babies are born subluxated. Yanking out a kid by its head and neck can cause damage. We see this damage sometimes as seizures, allergies, asthma, etc. Maybe it is not a good idea to wait until they are 10 years old to start chiropractic treatment. It’s less than 10%, it is no big deal you say, but they are only 10 years old.
Chances are that if you are reading this you are not ten years old so here is something for you. 37% of asymptomatic 20 year olds have disc degeneration. 30% of 20 year olds have a disc bulge with no symptoms and 29% have disc protrusion with no symptoms. All the way up to 96% of asymptomatic 80 year olds have disc degeneration. That is from The American Journal of Neuroradiology 2015. The journal didn’t mention that people deserve the right to be checked for subluxation. You can’t feel it, but it is there. By the time most people want to do something about it, it’s like trying to un-boil a hard boiled egg. Some people would call it prevention, but I just think of it as a requirement to function optimally.
So what else is Chiropractic good for? Macrophages which are a main cell in our immune response is directly controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. This is something that you are not going to feel. You are not going to say after a chiropractic adjustment, oh yeah, I can feel my immunity is working better, but it is. Stress from the sympathetic overload that we experience in modern life directly suppresses our immune function. When the sympathetic nervous system increases, the activity of the immune system decreases with a resultant increased susceptibility to infection. Said another way, the sympathetic nervous system activity is immunosuppressive. A chiropractic adjustment adjusts down the sympathetic poisoning. Constant production of cortisol is what is actually killing you when they say stress kills. That is the actual stress hormone and it does tremendous harm when present at high levels all day. A good chiropractic adjustment calms down the sympathetic response to life, which is incredibly stressful to our overall health.
People tend not to believe a chiropractor so this is from our cousins. March 2011 Journal of Osteopathic Association. Impact of Osteopathic Manipulation in Secretory IgA in stressed populations. This study clearly shows that the adjustment increases IgA by 139% and that is a strong increase of immunity, and decrease risk of infections. Now how much would you pay? Don’t answer yet. You also receive an increase in circulation, lymphatic flow, cardiac output and increased cognitive function because all occur with decreasing sympathetic tone. Most people ask me to crack their back because they have a kink in it or a little stiffness. They don’t realize that 20% of their brain is in their back and neck and that the spine is what powers the brain.
Helen Keller said it a little better, the only thing worse than being blind is having sight, but no vision. The vision that I hope for my patients is that they see chiropractors as brain doctors, not bone doctors. The chiropractic adjustment determines the function of your entire body, not just your back.
Over 50 million dollars in research has been spent to try and figure out how to place electrical stimulation generators inside the body to get it to heal itself. Or you could go to a chiropractor because that is what we do. They call it bio-electronic medicine. They are looking for ways to affect the nervous system. From the New York Times Magazine May 23, 2014, “Can the nervous system be hacked?” Yes and Chiropractors have been doing it since 1895. It only took 119 years for the experts to think about it, while we have been actually doing it all this time. They now have that crazy idea that the nervous system is the answer to problems that they have never been able to address. For the people that have been crazy enough to go to chiropractors even when they were not having back pain, well they have been receiving this benefit all along. It’s not about the bones, it’s about the brain.
The best science available today shows that the spine is essentially the motor for the brain. The brain requires feedback from the spine, through proper alignment and movement, in order to deliver the right information to all muscles, organs, and tissues. If that proper alignment is not there, you now have a problem in your brain.
The textbook used by all neurologists, neuro- scientists, neurosurgeons, etc. is by Kandel and Schwartz, The principles of Neural Science. The 4th edition from 2000 clearly states, mechanoreceptors (those nerves that chiropractors work with) drive sensory input required by the brain to properly recognize and adapt to all internal and external stimuli. The spine doesn’t just hold you up straight; it drives your brain function. Approximately 80% of baseline activity of the central nervous system is due to mechanoreceptor input. These receptors for proprioception are how we exist in gravity and space. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know this, the students mentioned above that are required to read this humongous book, the neurologists, neuro-scientists, and neurosurgeons don’t seem to know this either or they would be begging you to go to a chiropractor.
Is there a part of the brain that people never associated with learning and emotions that chiropractors strongly affect? I’m glad you asked. It turns out that the cerebellum is not just for balance. When we fast stretch a joint and you hear that pop, the nerves around that joint are firing strongly into the cerebellum. The following is from Jeremy D. Schmahmann, department of neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical school. Neuropsychology Reviews September 2010; Vol. 20; No.3; pp. 236-260. “The dysmetria of thought hypothesis, and its historical evolution from theory to therapy.” Wake up! That may sound boring, but this is a very big deal. Your thoughts and emotions are influenced by how well your spine is functioning. But is that really all that new? When I was a kid we played baseball before class, during class, and after class. Now kids are playing ball on computers and there is a connection to that and all these kids being on psyche meds and having all kinds of learning disorders.
Health is not about how you feel. If I smack your thumb with a hammer you feel bad, but it has not affected your overall health. The guy on the golf course is feeling great and he drops dead of a heart attack. The real benefit to chiropractic is not feeling instantly better, which many people do, but the real benefit is that your entire body is functioning better than if you were not adjusted. This used to be considered the figment of a chiropractors imagination. Now, drug companies are spending tens of millions of dollars to see if they can sell you a device that will get surgically implanted into you so that it may do partially some of the things that we have been doing safely for a very long time. There is a different way, there is a better way and it’s called chiropractic.