THE BRAIN CONNECTION:

Research Proves Chiropractic Adjustments Affect Emotions, Learning, Memory, Consciousness, Motivation, Homeostasis, Perception, Motor Control, Self-Awareness, Cognitive Function, Voluntary Movement, Decision Making, Touch and Pain

A report on the scientific literature 


By: Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP 

William J. Owens DC, DAAMLP

For decades chiropractors and their patients have been experiencing many positive outcomes that have gone well beyond the pain treatment they originally sought. This author has been practicing for 34 years and has witnessed what many thought were miracles, but the seasoned chiropractor simply called it an everyday occurrence, albeit lacking in an explanation that was verified through research and published in a universally accepted forum, the scientific literature. Notwithstanding, we practitioners and our patients have persevered for over 115 years having to rely simply in results. 

 

In 2014, Gay and fellow researchers concluded “…pain-free volunteers processed thermal stimuli applied to the hand before and after thoracic (mid-back) spinal manipulation (chiropractic spinal adjustment)).  What they found was that after thoracic manipulation, several brain regions demonstrated a reduction in peak BOLD [blood-oxygen-leveldependent] activity. Those regions included the cingulate, insular, motor, amygdala and somatosensory cortices, and the PAG [periaqueductal gray regions]” (p. 615). In other words, thoracic chiropractic adjustments produced direct and measureable effects on the central nervous system across multiple regions, which is responsible for the processing of emotion (cingulate cortex, aka limbic cortex) and the insular cortex, which also responsible for regulating emotion as well has homeostasis. The motor cortex is involved in the planning and execution of voluntary movements, the amygdala’s primary function is memory and decision making (also part of the limbic system), the somatosensory cortex is involved in processing the sense of touch (remember the homunculus) and, finally, the periaqueductal gray is responsible for descending pain modulation (the brain regulating the processing of painful stimuli).

 

The following regions of the brain are affected and the following functions are affected:

 

 

Brain Region

Function

Cingulate Cortex

Emotions, learning, motivation, memory

Insular Cortex

Consciousness, homeostasis, perception, motor control, self-awareness, cognitive function

Motor Cortex

Voluntary movements

Amygdala Cortex

Memory, decision making, emotional reactions

Somatosensory Cortex

Proprio and mechano-reception, touch, temperature, pain of the skin, epithelial, skeletal muscle, bones, joints, internal organs and cardiovascular systems

Periaqueductal Gray

Ascending and descending spinothalamtic tracts carrying pain and temperature fibers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are now starting to get answers and reasons for the results that was once considered “miracles.” The research has verified that the chiropractic adjustment does not deliver miracles, it only helps the body work better and we now know why. 

 

We also know that chiropractic is one of the safest treatments currently available in healthcare and when there is a treatment where the potential for benefits far outweighs any risk, it deserves serious consideration.  Whedon, Mackenzie, Phillips, and Lurie (2015) based their study on 6,669,603 subjects after the unqualified subjects had been removed from the study and accounted for 24,068,808 office visits. They concluded, “No mechanism by which SM [spinal manipulation] induces injury into normal healthy tissues has been identified (Whedon et al., 2015, p. 5) 

 

Reference:

  1. Gay, C. W., Robinson, M. E., George, S. Z., Perlstein, W. M., & Bishop, M. D. (2014). Immediate changes after manual therapy in resting-state functional connectivity as measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging in participants with induced low back pain. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 37
  2. Whedon, J. M., Mackenzie, T. A., Phillips, R. B., & Lurie, J. D. (2015). Risk of traumatic injury associated with chiropractic spinal manipulation in Medicare Part B beneficiaries aged 66-69 years. Spine, 40(4), 264-270.

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Published in Brain Function

 

 

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