The most common version of this question is, “What does Chiropractic do?” I wish there was a simple answer, but as it is with most questions if you want it to be answered correctly then one must take the time to.
The simplest answer that we have today, with all of our research is this:
The Chiropractic Adjustment changes the way your brain interprets the world around you, in order for you to properly adapt to the every changing environment you live in.
You can also say the adjustment effects everything. You can say this because it changes the way your brain interprets the world around you. This is not relativism, there is only one reality and our brains interpret this reality with all the senses that it is connected to. Every single joint, muscle, organ, and tissue is connected to our brain. They are constantly sending each other information. If the brain is not receiving the correct information about what is happening from some organ or tissue then it cannot send back the correct information to said organ or tissue to keep it healthy and doing it’s part to keep the rest of the body healthy.
Up until about 20 years ago it was believed that he brain, once fully developed at 20+/- years of age was done. No more nerves grew, or connections happened. It could not repair itself; it grew to a point and was what it was. It was believed that our brains reached a max point and then if we damaged in nervous tissue we lost it forever. This was believed of the whole nervous system, that once it was cut off it was done. Well, we now know this is not true. Our nervous system grows and adapts and creates new connections everyday. Why is the brain always adapting? Because we are extremely complex organisms that require a constant myriad of processes within our individual cells to keep us alive. Something must control this symphony of systems that maintains us, that something is our brain. When one is adjusted this effects the brain and its ability to maintain the body as a whole healthy functioning unit. B.J. Palmer, D.C., Ph.C., knew this when he wrote in 1934:
“Without adjustments they are sick in brain as well as sick in body. The line is narrow between. To be adjusted is to secure more power for both brain and body.”
Now, some argue that B.J. was ahead of his time, while others argue that he was wrong all along. So, what does modern science say? In a recent study published in the Journal of Neural Plasticity they saw just these effects. (I know it is a little technical, but read through it, it’s worth it)
“Our current study findings confirmed that spinal manipulation of dysfunctional spinal segments N30 SEP peak amplitude and using dipole source localization demonstrated that this change is taking place in the prefrontal cortex.
…The prefrontal cortex is known to be a key structure responsible for the performance of what is known as “executive functions.” Executive function is the mechanism by which the brain integrates and coordinates the operations of multiple neural systems to solve problems and achieve goal based on the ever-changing environment around us.
… It requires planning a sequence of subtasks to accomplish a goal, focusing attention on relevant information as well as inhibiting irrelevant distractors, being able to switch attention between tasks, monitoring memory, initiation of activity, and responding to stimuli.”
- Lelic, D., et. al. (2016)
What this shows is that what Chiropractors were saying back in 1934 is actually what is happening. If our brain cannot keep us from being distracted or allow us to switch from one task to another smoothly then we end up with a series of problems that do not always seem to make sense. If our brain cannot even keep the simple systems within our bodies coordinated and working properly, then what happens to us during stressful situations when we cannot recruit the brainpower needed to work through these problems.
When we get adjusted not only does the pain decrease, but our brain begins to function better. Thus, our entire body functions better.
So back to our original question: what does the adjustment affect? With what we know today, there is no simple answer but it would not be too far from the truth to say it affects everything.
When was the last time you were adjusted, and had your world changed for the better?
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
- Albert Einstein
B.J. Palmer, The Subluxation Specific - The Adjustment Specific (Vol. XVIII), Palmer School of Chiropractic Printing plant, Davenport, IA, USA, 1934
Kandel, Eric R., James H. 1932- Schwartz, and Thomas M. Jessell. Principles of Neural Science. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, Health Professions Division, 2000.
G. Cheron, T. Piette, A. iriaux, J. Jacquy, and E. Godaux, “Somatosensory evoked potentials at rest and during movement in Parkinson’s disease: evidence for a speci c apomorphine e ect on the frontal N30 wave,” Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology/ Evoked Potentials, vol. 92, no. 6, pp. 491–501, 1994.
D. T. Struss and D. F. Benson, e Frontal Lobes, Raven Press, New York, NY, USA, 1986.
D. Lelic, I. K. Niazi, K. Holt, M. Jochumsen, K. Dremstrup, P. Yielder, B. Murphy, A. M. Drewes, and H. Haavik, “Manipulation of Dusfunctional Spinal Joints Affects Sensorimotor Integration in the Prefrontal Cortex: A Brain Source Localization Study.” Neural Plasticity, vol. 2016, Article ID 3704964, 9 pages. 2016