Today, the science behind how the spine, posture, and mechanics of the body relates to headaches, neck, and back pain is very clear and well known. In fact, Chiropractors have known about this connection for over a hundred years! It’s just taken the science a little time to catch up with us, but we’ve seen leaps and bounds over the past two decades in the research coming out to provide evidence for what the chiropractic adjustment is and why it works. As chiropractors, we understand your body’s response to stress and how it is impacting important areas of your life like your posture, flexibility, and inflammation. We understand the influence spinal misalignments and spinal joint dysfunction has on human physiology and the power behind a chiropractic spinal adjustment. Every time we make an adjustment we are affecting the health of every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. Every adjustment directly affects the hypothalamus, which is located in the brain, through a very specific layer within the spinal cord. If you’re a little rusty on your brain anatomy, that’s ok! Let me explain what the hypothalamus does:
The hypothalamus plays a significant role in the endocrine system. It is responsible for maintaining your body’s internal balance, which is known as homeostasis. To do this, the hypothalamus helps stimulate or inhibit many of your body’s key processes, including:
- Heart rate and blood pressure
- Body temperature
- Fluid and electrolyte balance, including thirst
- Appetite and body weight
- Glandular secretions of the stomach and intestines
- Production of substances that influence the pituitary gland to release hormones
- Sleep cycles
The hypothalamus is involved in many functions of the autonomic nervous system, as it receives information from nearly all parts of the nervous system. As such, it is considered the link between the nervous system and the endocrine system. The hypothalamus has a pretty important job, wouldn’t you agree?
And guess what the spine has to do with the hypothalamus? The spine is the only direct influence on the hypothalamus in the entire body! A misaligned spine negatively and directly affects all stress hormones in the body. If these stress hormones are left unchecked over long periods of time, the symptoms can manifest as chronic headaches, neck and back pain.
In January of this year, 2017, a study was published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The study was designed to measure neuronal activity in the brain after a chiropractic adjustment. Listen to the conclusions from this study:
“We observed metabolic changes in the brain and skeletal muscles, as well as reductions in subjective pain, muscle tension, and salivary amylase, after [a chiropractic adjustment]. These results may be associated with reduced sympathetic nerve activity, suggesting that [a chiropractic adjustment] induces a kind of relaxation… may reflect the psychophysiological relaxation that accompanies reduced sympathetic nerve activity.”
Let me tell you what this means. This study proves that:
Chiropractic adjusting inhibits sympathetic fight or flight physiology and directly affects the brain after an adjustment! The adjustment balances all autonomic activity between the brain, hypothalamus, and spine! In a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2003, 183 patients with neck pain were randomly allocated to spinal adjustments, physiotherapy (mainly exercise) or general practitioner care (counseling, education and drugs) in a 52 week study. The clinical outcome measures showed that chiropractic adjustments resulted in faster recovery than physiotherapy and general practitioner care. Moreover, total costs of the chiropractic-treated patients were about one-third of the costs of physiotherapy or general practitioner care. Another study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found patients with chronic low-back pain treated by chiropractors showed greater improvement and satisfaction at one month than patients treated by family physicians. Satisfaction scores were higher for chiropractic patients. A higher proportion of chiropractic patients (56 percent vs. 13 percent) reported that their low-back pain was better or much better, whereas nearly one-third of medical patients reported their low-back pain was worse or much worse. Chiropractic is also widely recognized as one of the safest, drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for treatment of back and neck pain. We focus on improving health from the inside-out by honoring and working with the intelligence that already exists within the body.
In 2003 a study was published in the prestigious journal, Spine, that has some compelling data. The randomized clinical trial compared Non-Steroidal Anti- Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS), acupuncture, and spinal adjustments for chronic spinal pain. They found chiropractic to be 5 times more effective at controlling pain than Vioxx or Celebrex! Stop the presses with that one! Celebrex makes more money in one year than every chiropractor in America combined. With all of its toxicities and side effects! What’s wrong with this picture? Vioxx was pulled from the market several years ago due to its harmful cardiovascular effects. But come on —chiropractic is 5 times more effective at relieving pain in chronic spinal patients? Chiropractic is where it’s at for safety, drug- free, non-invasive, and solving the root of the problem, not just covering up mere symptoms like medications would have us do. If you are suffering from chronic headaches, neck, and or back pains, we want to invite you to visit our office. We have a team of experts to guide you through the healing process to get your body in balance. We truly aim to offer a well-rounded approach to help you live a balanced, pain-free lifestyle.
When you visit us, you can expect a thorough examination, including an analysis of stress on your spine, a foot scan analyzing your weight and shock absorption at impact, and a digital posture assessment. We will then put together a comprehensive plan to help you finally find relief. We will assess your spine for misalignment, correct those spinal dysfunctions with a chiropractic adjustment, and we will educate you on lifestyle choices and ergonomics to support your spine’s health. Our holistic care plan may also include traction, stretching, massage, and even supplementation and strengthening. If you are not in the local area, and want to know if chiropractic care can help with your chronic pain, please find a chiropractor near you.
If you have additional questions about chiropractic treatment for headaches, neck, and back pain, please call us at (919) 926-8890 or visit us online to schedule a free consultation. Please share this video with a loved one that needs to hear the chiropractic message for finding long lasting, safe, and drug-free relief!