Most people don’t know that those two poor Russians returned to earth to be put in a bed never to walk again. Even more people have no idea why that is a chiropractors great opportunity to explain neurology, hopefully in a way that you will understand it.
Joints are meant to move. More importantly, they are meant to move in earth’s gravitational field. As chiropractors we adjust joints that are not moving, they are fixated. We break up fixations. We do not adjust a bone. There is nowhere to adjust on a bone. We have to adjust the joint and it is full of neurological impulses because 90% of the afferent aka sensory impulses that go into the brain come from our joints. Most of that 90% is located in the spine, but we have mechanoreceptors in all joints. Spinal joints have the most influence on the brain. The most joint receptors are in the upper neck joints, the ones that the news and many medical doctors will insist should never ever be fixed and of course I call those people the true dangerous menace to society.
You might be asking yourself right about now how does Judo work? Or maybe you’re not asking that question, but if you were, Judo works because when the joint is bent against itself it sends off pain signals so that we do not go beyond the joint’s ability to move and create permanent damage. If you ever had Judo performed on you, you know just how motivational Judo can be.
The second most powerful joint with regards to afferentation (sensory signals firing up your brain) into the brain is the TMJ (jaw). The nucleus is located inside the skull and goes down the entire length of the brain stem, which includes the vital functional centers known as the mesencephalon, pons, and Medulla, and that nucleus, a sub computer that controls your jaw ends at the level C1 and C2, the upper two cervical vertebrae in your neck. No other cranial nerve nuclei are exiting the cranium.
These parts of our brain stem are our vital centers that keep us alive, even when we’re sleeping. They do many things, but keeping us alive is what I feel is an important one. We don’t put alarms where they are not necessary in our homes. No one puts a smoke detector in their refrigerator. These areas are so vital that we have the most amount of sensory receptors to protect us by letting these areas of our subconscious know what is occurring in our environment. In other words, is there a fire that needs to be put out? Of course most of our fires we are not aware of and our body takes care of the problems while we’re asleep at the wheel.
The fine motor control from our upper brains which allows us to write legibly, well it does require a lot of training, is dependent upon good sensory input to know where our joints and muscles are. We need to know the amount of forces exerted on them. These are a priority. We have to know our joint positional sense, where we are in the gravitational field of the earth or we wind up with neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s.
Again 90% of the impulses coming into the brain are from our joints and most of them are our spinal joints. It is vital that our brains receive this information from our joints for it to perform all the miracles that it does, even the crowning achievement on the evolutionary chain, what our brains are for, which is to communicate and pass on learned experiences, aka knowledge. Being able to move is what allows us to experience humanism. It’s also very important for us to not bite our tongue every time we try to feed our brain by eating, so hence the necessity to have all that nervous tissue around the TMJ, temporal mandibular joint, aka jaw.
60% of that 90% of nerve impulses from the joints go to the brain stem to light up all the vital centers, which include heart rate, respiration, balance, digestion, vision and many others. When we turn our head our eyes turn with us because they are instructed to by the nerve impulses being generated from the mechanoreceptors in the neck joints. That is just one example. When people get into a car accident and injure their neck, there can be over 100 different things that can go wrong with them and if you go to a poorly trained doctor, you will get a medication for each one of them. You will most likely not receive a referral to a chiropractor.
The remaining 40% of that 60% of that 90% get their nerve impulses up a little higher in the nervous system to an area called the thalamus. It is the switch board or grand central station of the brain. The thalamus’s job is to determine if the impulses from the joints are important enough to go further up to the rest of the brain. The major areas that those signals go to is the primary sensory cortex in the parietal lobes for localization. That is how we know it is our knee or our foot, etc. that is hurting us because there is an organized distribution of the nerve impulses. We have an organized representation (a map) of the body and if you look at textbooks it looks like a monkey’s face and twisted limbs super imposed over that section of the brain, which is called the homunculus. It is just a way for students to learn, it shows us what part of our brain the foot nerve is going to, then the knee, then the hip, etc. It demonstrates which parts of our body get the most brain power.
The second place these signals go to is to our frontal lobes for our memory of that particular movement. Of course many of these memories get dropped off in the brain stem and stored in our cerebellum, which allows us to perform complex motor tasks. Muscle memory. You never forget how to ride a bicycle because your subconscious, which is your cerebellum does it automatically for you without you needing any conscious thought to perform learned tasks.
Some of these signals can travel back down to the thalamus for reintegration and then send it to the hypothalamus and pituitary for further control into the sub thalamic nuclei and back to the brain stem and cerebellum down the spinal cord to primary alpha motor neurons which now allows us to bring the fork to our mouth and not into our eye. Many diseases can affect the alpha motor neuron which is what we call the nerve that leaves the spinal cord and fires the muscle to move at a certain rate, perform work at a certain strength, etc. But in order for us to know to pick up that egg gently and then give someone a firm handshake requires a lot of sensory information coming from the similar types of nerves that we’ve been talking about in joints, but they are a little different in muscles, so that our brains can tell us how to move them correctly.
The hypothalamus is where our thoughts become chemicals called hormones. Without that impulse to the alpha motor neuron in the spinal cord coming down from our different areas of our brain, the working proteins that only last 7 days are not renewed. That leads to weakness and atrophy which creates pain. Weak muscles hurt. Without the impulses to the myoneural junction, the muscle does not make new proteins. The working proteins in the muscle, actin, myosin, and troponin wear out and break down. This is what happened to the cosmonauts. After two years in space, those muscles were never able to recover. Today, we make the astronauts exercise vigorously to make up for that constant stimulus we receive from earth’s gravitational field.
The electrical signals that were originally created by the joint will trigger our chromosomes to have our DNA make transfer RNA to go to a ribosome with the genetic code so that the ribosome will manufacture the amino acids from our diet into the proper sequence to create the proper proteins. They are then sent to the Golgi apparatus that packages them so that they can get to where they need to go in the muscle. Without this new protein synthesis the muscle is atrophying. We’re born with all the muscle cells that we’re going to have. However, that fact may change one day because they once were sure that brain cells could not regenerate and we’ve discovered a small group that can. Muscles get bigger when we use them because of this process of protein synthesis and the muscle proteins inside the muscle resemble Velcro. The more cross links we have the stronger the muscle. The stronger back muscles are the less pain. The muscles that usually hurt us in our spines are not volitional muscles. You have no control over the deep spinal anti gravity muscles that hold us up against earth’s gravitational field. They are not like your fingers that go to the front part of your brain which is your volitional center, your consciousness. These deep spinal muscles that can severely hurt are controlled by your subconscious, your cerebellum, because you don’t want to be aware of the billions of calculations per second that is required to figure out how to get you out of your chair.
***** On the planet earth we have a base line of nerve impulses constantly going into the brain because of the force on our joints from gravity. The first cosmonauts that were out in space for two years came back and never walked again because they were outside of earth’s gravitational field and they lost the ability to synthesize these proteins that are vital for us to be able to stand up and resist earth’s gravitational field. I’m hitting hard on this point because most of you probably are not utilizing the greatest gift of exercise, Yoga. That is the practical application of all this neurology, well besides going to a chiropractor which I’m going to explain soon.
To summarize, we are meant to move. If we don’t move, there is no input to the joints and it is like a plane going off radar. The brain does not know what is happening in that joint. We have all observed this phenomena when we saw an arm come out of a cast. The muscles were atrophied and very week, the joint didn’t move, and the skin was dry because even the function of our oil and sweat glands are all wired into this basic circuitry. If you were really paying attention just now, you just heard that even the state of your health of your glands is improved by moving and going to a chiropractor. Another consequence of a lack of movement is that even the bone thins out. It is called Wolf’s law of bone, if you do not have stress on the bone from the muscles, your body does not bother to lay down calcium, it basically doesn’t even know it has those bones that have gone off radar. So if you don’t have something, why bother putting good Calcium in there.
To make this even simpler, joints are meant to move. If they don’t move bad things happen, because 90% of the impulses into the brain come from joints. That other 10% is what you intuitively think is the biggest amount, vision, hearing, smell, taste. They actually only take up a small amount of real estate of your brain. You can read a Steven King novel and get scared and it will fire from our vision center in the back of the skull into frontal lobes for consciousness and also into our limbic system (emotional region) so that we wind up feeling scared and then a release of adrenaline can make us shake.
We break down all these events into one thing at a time to teach it, but all these things are happening simultaneously, instantly. One reason why the joint nerves are 90% and so powerful is because they are the largest nerves in our body. They have a nerve conduction velocity of over 250 mph. Pain nerves are very small and travel at 5 mph. This is why joints modulate down our pain. When we hit our hand with a hammer we instinctively rub it because the skin nerves are bigger than the pain nerves and it stops the pain from jumping from the presynaptic nerve to jumping over to the post synaptic nerve and that action blocks some of those pain signals from being transmitted to our pain center, the thalamus. Pain nerves are the smallest nerves in our body. Skin nerves are in the middle, and joint nerves are the largest. That means the chiropractor is working on nerves that are like a freeway to your downtown region aka brain and get there much quicker than the smaller skin nerves and even smaller pain nerves. We are taking the pains parking spot before the pain signals can arrive. The pain signals have been traveling on the smallest street in the city and they can’t go fast. When you rub a magic ointment on your skin, you are irritating those bigger nerves and those signals also take the pains parking spot. However, the best way to manage pain is with a chiropractic adjustment since it is treating the cause of the transmission of the pain signals on so many different levels. What baffles a patient is that they typically have less pain when moving and more pain at night when they are not moving.
The key to health is to keep all of your joints moving. That is our job as chiropractors, to evaluate your spinal joints. When they stop moving they also have a sticky protein in the joint called synovial fluid. When they stop moving the synovial fluid becomes like a glue or paste and fixates the joint. The joint stops moving correctly. We break up these adhesion’s formed by the synovial fluid. This allows the joint to move again, but in the early stages may increase the pain until the joint is stabilized.
The noise you hear when we move a joint is generated from the negative barometric change in pressure and gas, (CO2) is escaping from the synovial fluid. It is what makes the popping sound. We have the equivalent of 28 knuckles in the cervical spine and that is why you are getting all those sounds if you go to a real chiropractor and maybe why there are so many Instagram videos of it these days. Well, you’ll get those sounds if your chiropractor is not one that bought into the current medical philosophy of not fixing the patient.
You may be asking, well how soon do these joints start to fixate? In other words, how often do I need to go to a chiropractor. I now practice emergency/urgent chiropractic so those type of patients definitely think that you should only go when you feel something. Most of the nerve signals in your body, 90% if you remember from way back at the beginning are going to your subconscious. You cannot determine your health by how you feel alone because most of what is happening is never reaching your consciousness. By the time you feel that chest pain and are having a heart attack, it is too late. The heart attack started many years before with typically bad life style choices. Your health is dependent upon your brain being able to communicate with every cell in your body. It does that through proper functioning spinal joints. Blue Shield hates chiropractors and even they say go once a month. Not bad, but spinal joints start fixating before the month is up. You own a billion dollar machine. It requires maintenance. The way I practice is very different from what I preach. After over 40 years of treating patients, I don’t want to see anyone weekly, but that is how often my team of chiropractors see me. I go to a few different ones so that they don’t tire of me.