The Chiropractic Adjustment is not something as simple as un-pinching a pinched nerve. It is much more than that. The science of the chiropractic subluxation is something most chiropractors spent 4 years in college and 5 years in graduate school to understand.
Classic literature tells us that there are 5 senses, sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, which includes the category of pain. Let’s use a little common sense here. You can put your finger behind your back where it is not touching anything, you can’t smell it, taste, it hear it or see it, yet your brain knows exactly where it is. This is called proprioception and the most powerful types of nerves in our bodies are responsible for this 6th sense. Those same nerves are also for mechanoreception. The difference between them is proprioceptors are for information within ourselves, think back to that example I gave about your finger and mechanoreceptors are for registering outside forces such as differences in pressure.
These types of nerves are the nerves that allow chiropractors to get the amazing results they do with regard to all matters of health complaints because these nerves that surround our spinal joints go to many areas of the brain.
One place these nerves in our spines go to is our cerebellum. The cerebellum contains 80% of all of the neurons (nerve cells) in the entire human body. When proprioception is working correctly, it fires electrical signals onto the cerebellum. From there, electrical reflex signals are sent to the thalamus, which is higher up in the central nervous system. The thalamus then fires those electrical signals that are information to other areas of the cortex, which are even higher up in the central nervous system. Keep in mind the higher we go in our brain are the areas that made us the highest on the food chain. This is the part of our brain that makes us human and the electrical digital information is sent up there for further clarification and interpretation. This includes sight, sound, and whatever we can think about.
Elon Musk, the man behind Tesla automobiles and Space X is a significant driver of technology at this point in time. In his book he talks about Chiropractic because his uncle is Scott Halderman a famous chiropractor that happens to also be a medical doctor. Dr. Halderman is a famous researcher at the university of Irvine, California. This is going to relate to another book titled Younger Next Year, by Henry Lodge, M.D.. Here is a quote from the book, ” now is the time to think about your brain and a concept known as proprioception. The deceptively simple notion that you have to know where the given parts of your body are at all times. Your body is aware of exactly where each limb is in space each second because each muscle, tendon, ligament and joint sends thousands of nerve fibers back to the brain through the spinal cord. These fibers signal every nuance gradation of contraction, strength, muscular tone, orientation, position and movement of every moment of the day. Your brain keeps careful track of the location of every muscle in every joint of your body every second, all day, every day, waiting for you to need the information.” This is a fabulous explanation of what proprioception is.
Chiropractors adjust something called the subluxation. A subluxation is a problem with the proprioceptive input into the cerebellar, thalamic, cortical loops of the brain. Subluxations happen when joints do not move properly. When spinal joints do not move properly, the proprioceptive signals that the brain is dependent upon are being corrupted or diminished and that can cause many other disorders and diseases that the typical doctor let alone patients do not relate back to the spine and brain.
A book titled, the Brains way of healing by Normal Doidge, M.D. discusses this. He is considered a leader in the field of synaptogenesis and neuroplasticity and those things are also key to what makes us the crowning achievement of the food chain. Feel free to look up those two terms on a search engine. Here is a quote from his book. ” As people become immobile they see less, hear less, and process less information and their brains begin to atrophy from the lack of stimulation. The neuroplastic system applies physical movement to generate new cells and nerve growth factors.” He just basically said that chiropractors are the key to good health because when those joints are not moving, they are not sending vital information into the cerebellum, which contains 80% of all the neurons in your body. What makes us human is our ability to wire up all these neurons to communicate with each other. (Neuroplasticity)
Chiropractors supercharge our master communication system. And the supercharger of all superchargers is at the top of your neck. Those two top vertebrae have the most amount of these proprioceptive nerves anywhere in the body. 200 times more of those nerves are there than anywhere else. That means we have a 200 times better chance of helping you when we adjust your neck.
What do many patients say to me? Just don’t adjust my neck. I ask why do you request that? They tell me that their doctor said so. Sadly, science is now often disinformation used to protect economic interests. People and doctors that think that chiropractors should not adjust patient’s necks are incredibly and dangerously misinformed about how the human body works.
Now back to the regularly scheduled program. When spinal joints don’t work right, they are not sending out the proper amount of nerve signals. After those diminished signals leave your cerebellum, they can affect your sight and sound. 60 year old people have the highest probability of death due to a fall. They fall because around that point in their life, their neck joints have become arthritic, which means they don’t move. Your ears and eyes are a part of your balance system, which is controlled by the vestibular system with large contributions from your cerebellum, which receives large contributions from your spinal joints. Yet, the average doctor would prefer that you did not go to a specialist that works with these vital life forces within your body.
Ironically, the chiropractic story begins in 1895 when a deaf janitor’s hearing was restored because D.D. Palmer adjusted his spine. Around 100 years later, say 1995 give or take, it was the decade of the brain and that is when modern science figured out why chiropractic works so well. You probably didn’t see that on any news stations, but then again they get most of their revenue from drug companies that would be selling a lot less drugs if people knew what I just tried to get you to know.
So now that we got that out of the way, why do the spinal joints become dysfunctional? Those nerve endings, the proprioceptors, the mechanicoreceptors will not work properly if the joints become stiff. When a chiropractor finds stiffness in your spinal joints that means there is a reduction in vital electrical signals to your brain. The chiropractic adjustment improves proprioception and mechanoreception into the brain. Again,why do these joints become stiff?
Simple question, but many answers. Here are a few. Infection, injury, mechanical stress, a lack of exercise, allergies, toxins, radiation, inflammation, fibrosis. I could say that another way, life, life happens and not in the way that I used to explain chiropractic that we work with the life force of your body, which we do. But in this case, we are born and for the rest of our life we have gravity as our never ending frenimie. We have to constantly oppose it, even though it is the power of gravity that stimulates our proprioceptors and mechanoreceptors that I have seen referred to in certain textbooks as anti-gravity receptors.
While light energy stimulates our retinal receptors to see our world, and sound energy stimulates our ears to hear our world, it is gravity that powers our brains so all the other things we do can occur. While gravity is pushing down on us and causes mechanical stress, it is also producing neurological charging up of our master battery that you know as your brain. When our spinal joints don’t work right, our brains are not working right because of the way our physiology developed.
Our nervous systems require constant stimulus and it is not always light out, there is not always Mozart playing, but there is always gravity and when we slowly rose up from the mud, it was our inborn wisdom, our innate intelligence that decided to utilize gravity and we developed gravity receptors known as proprioceptors and mechanoreceptors. Before all this science was discovered, my childhood chiropractor, Dr. Richard Willis would tell me all that chiropractors really do is break up adhesions. We couldn’t prove adhesions back then, well not as well as we can now. One of the courses we spent 5 years in grad school studying was histology and we now know with 100% certainty that those adhesions are what is known today as fibrosis.
The tissues around your joints become fibrotic. It is like scar tissue on a microscopic level. Fibrosis is the end stage of an inflammatory cascade. The resolution of inflammation in the body is fibrosis. Again, because this stuff I listed above is subtle at best, infection, injury, mechanical stress, a lack of exercise, allergies, toxins, radiation, they all develop inflammation. Inflammation winds up as fibrosis. Fibrosis in your spinal joints causes your brain to not work well, then you don’t work well. If you go to a medical doctor you will get drugs for each thing that is not working well, which will let it fester into a full blown disease that will now not be curable.
Why would the body get inflamed over an infection? A minor infection could kill you if not appropriately dealt with by your body. Pathology textbooks demonstrate that tissue that fibrosed at the site around an infection had a better chance of that person owning that tissue surviving because the infection got walled off. Our ancestors got us here today because they were able to create fibrosis around their infections before antibiotics became available. No matter what mechanism on that list, the result is the same; inflammatory cascade and that winds up with some amount of fibrosis.
Let’s talk about the most common form of mechanical stress that not only causes inflammation, but produces emotional stress. Keep in mind all of your emotional stress is cortisol. It is the hormone your hypothalamus helps create when we are faced with real stress as in a zombie chasing us, or just the thought of a zombie chasing us. The hypothalamus is the part of your brain that can take thoughts and make them into chemicals and the chemical made when we are stressed is cortisol. A chiropractic adjustment reduces cortisol in our bloodstream because those proprioceptive nerves in the spine also affect that area of the brain, not just your cerebellum, thalamus, and cortex. By the way, when you have cortisol whose purpose is to make you quick energy to runaway from Zombies it stops your digestion. That is good when running away from things that want to kill you. However, if you have cortisol (stress) all day long, you are not digesting your food and that causes many diseases. If you go to your doctor for poor digestion he will most likely prescribe you purple crack known as proton pump inhibitors and once you take them, you will never have a chance at being healthy again.
When you are on your cell phone or computer or reading a newspaper or just about anything you could be doing in today’s society, you have your head forward of the gravity line and that is producing mechanical stress on your spinal cord. That is worse than thinking about zombies. Having your head leaning forward all of the time is destroying the joints of your lower neck and upper back. USA Today in 2016 discussed Text Neck. We could call it Tech Neck. It is very deleterious to your health. Just one of the things chiropractors help. Text Neck and Tech Neck is a leading cause of health problems, but if you listen to the experts, you’ll hear, don’t let the chiropractor adjust your neck.
While there is a lot of new great science that proves all this, when I was in school in 1980, we had a book to study called, Soft Tissue Pain and Disability, by Rene Calliet, M.D. On page 38, he discusses how mechanical stress creates fibrosis, which creates all the problems that chiropractors can fix. All the problems means just about every health complaint ever complained about has responded well to chiropractic treatment. Not every time, but often enough that every chiropractor can tell you a number of cases that turned out well. Of course we don’t treat any particular type of case, we adjust your spine, which is part of your brain, and your brain is what does the healing.
Allergies are inflammatory. Chiropractors are known for helping patients with allergies. Do we specifically treat allergies? Come on, I just told you a second ago that we do not.. We treat the end product of all the diseases that are plaguing human kind. Maybe you have seen a commercial lately for tumeric. It is very good at reducing inflammation if you buy a very good brand of it. Careful, a lot of companies are selling pure junk and you will not receive those benefits you believe you could receive if you spent some money for them. That is my way of saying that over the past 34 years, patients have shown me the most incredible junk that they think is good. Chalk is not a good source of calcium even though that is what most people buy. But this is not a talk about chalk, although I have given many talks on why chalk is destroying your health.
Radiation fibrosis syndrome is a real thing. People receive a lot of radiation these days. Radiation can also damage the fascia, which is a lining around muscle tissue. It can become very fibrotic. Fibrotic fascia is one reason why you are seeing a few dozen massage centers in one shopping center. Massage is great, but keep in mind there are no pressure receptors in a muscle. They are in the fascia. Unless the muscles are being stretched they are not being maximally stimulated. The way a chiropractor stretches them, with what we call a fast stretch, high velocity cavitation of the zygapophyseal joint, ( an adjustment) if you are not getting one, you are not receiving the maximum stimulus to your brain, which is the organ that is in charge of your healing.
There are 70,000 chiropractors in America, probably thousands more in all the other countries. They can all tell you about patients that not only had better functioning brains from their treatment, but better immune systems, better visceral function. Viscera are things like your liver, gall bladder, glands, intestines, etc. How is that possible? Because those nerve signals that are coming out of your back are going up to your brain and then they come back down the spinal cord to every cell in your body. When we improve the quality of the communication signal from the spinal joint, the signal that comes out of your brain directing your cells, tissues, organs, and glands, is a better quality of information and that makes every aspect of you work better. This is not a figment of my vivid imagination, this is proven science. It is simple anatomy and physiology. O.K., those subjects are not all that simple, but simple enough to explain and you now understand it, I hope? Don’t ask me why your doctor does not understand it. Maybe you can explain it to him?
The number one orthopedic journal in the world, titled, Spine, in the year 1997 discussed through diagrams of levels of the spinal cord what we just discussed here. Chiropractic is the safest and most powerful healing art known to medical science and sadly, medical science is not advertising that for us.
The deadliest plague of the last century was the influenza attack of 1918. The Flu killed tens of thousands of people. It is well documented that people that were dying from the flu, had a drastic increase in probability of surviving when manipulated by a chiropractor. Sadly for the consumer, that is more controversial than a flu shot. The people that were under chiropractic management tended not to come down with the flu. Of course you already know that because the paragraph above mentioned how chiropractic adjustments increase our immune system.
Science didn’t know this until 1987, they didn’t know that the central nervous system controlled the immune system. Strangely though, a chiropractor in 1895 without the help of technology did know this. Planet earth needs a non pharmacological form of health care. When you throw antibiotics at these plagues the pathogens inborn wisdom figures out ways to adapt to the antibiotics and make themselves much stronger because of the pharmacological approach. We are witnessing a story about this monthly in the news if you happen to be paying attention that day. I’m not saying not to take antibiotics when you really need them, but doctors know they are over prescribed and it is creating an epidemic of resistant bacteria.
Chiropractic improves our own immunity and our immune systems are superior in many ways. Well they used to be, when we played in dirt as kids. When our mothers didn’t constantly wipe everything with antibacterial products, which kill the bacteria that we require to be human. For every human cell in our bodies, there are hundreds that are not. We need those cells to make us work right. Modern science in all it’s wisdom has concluded that it is best that we kill them all. We get these vital bacteria from our soil. From what we eat that grew out of that soil. Our soil is sprayed with all kinds of nerve gas that kills what we need to stay alive. When we get sick with symptoms, our doctors prescribe us pills that will kill whatever the pesticide missed. The third leading cause of death in America is a visit to your doctor or as I like to refer to it as, a poor choice of doctor. After all this, I know tomorrow someone is going to say, yeah yeah doc, but don’t touch my neck. I would prefer to hear and you should prefer to say, less yacking and more cracking.
Editors note: As a chiropractor for 35 years I’ve had the privilege of listening to hundreds of the greatest speakers and I’m thankful for the information that they have shared and taught. With regard to this article, I’d like to thank Dr. Dan Murphy a top chiropractor and researcher for explaining the neurology program that I’ve been in for 20 years in terms that people can understand.