New research has shown that there is a link between chiropractic treatment and brain function. Now I hope I’m not going to be too ‘technical’ today but please bear with me because I’m excited about this month’s blog. In the past I’ve touched upon medical research and how peer reviewed studies have shown the benefits of chiropractic on patients, particularly in the treatment of lower back disorders. However, due to a lack of such studies there is often very little to look at beyond anecdotes. Chiropractors know that what they are doing has real benefits for patients because those patients tell them so – sometimes with some surprising results too, such as the clearing up of frequent headaches when the patient came in to sort out a neck problem, for example.
Therefore, it’s always good to find some decent material in this area, and one of the most important pieces of research was published quite recently. A research team based in Denmark and comprising of independent scientists with no affiliation to chiropractors at all, and with collaboration of others in Australia and Canada, have concluded that chiropractic adjustments have a positive effect on brain function. Why is this important?
Most chiropractors have experience of treating patients that have reported improved motor function, saying that they generally ‘feel better’ or have experienced improved coordination and movement. This study goes some way to explaining why, and it’s all to do with the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that controls our awareness of space, where our limbs are within that space and our ability to move them in a synchronised way.
But the study also proved that it does so much more than that (as if that isn’t enough!). The researchers found unequivocally that the prefrontal cortex is responsible for goal directed tasks, behaviour, decision making, attention and memory, processing of pain and emotional response to it, intelligence, autonomic function, motor control, spatial awareness and eye movements. Phew! Perhaps – and this is just an personal opinion – this goes some way to explaining the reported improvements in chiropractic patients with ADHD, Aspergers and similar disorders.
So what did the researchers conclude? In a nutshell, chiropractic treatment increases prefrontal cortex activity by a massive 20% proving without doubt that simply by adjusting a patient chiropractors are having a positive effect on those they treat. In my opinion this study is going to prove pivotal in chiropractic research.
The reference for this important research appears below. You can view it online by clicking here.
[Lelic, D, Niazi, IK, Holt, K, Jochumsen, M, Dremstrup, K, Yielder, P, Murphy, B, Drewes, A and Haavik, H (2016), “Manipulation of dysfunctional spinal joints affects sensorimotor integration in the pre-frontal cortex: A brain source localization study,” Neural Plasticity, Volume 2016 (2016).]