Chiropractic & the Prefrontal Cortex

In this video, we look at research undertaken that showed how Chiropractic care can positively affect how your brain functions.

A transcript of the video follows.


Chiropractic & the Prefrontal Cortex Video Transcript

The way your spine works actually changes the way your brain works.

In 2015, an amazing new study was conducted in a hospital in Denmark. Notably, a group of people who had never experienced chiropractic care attended two sessions. In the first session, they received real chiropractic care, while the second session involved sham chiropractic care. Importantly, during both sessions, whole-head brainwaves were recorded

The brainwave recordings or electroencephalography, EEG, for short showed some very clear changes in the way the brain functions after the chiropractic session, and no changes happened after the sham session. The study showed a change in brain function of almost 20% on average after the chiropractic session.

This study is particularly significant as it marks the fourth instance of this very same finding being published in reputable research journals. Furthermore, the data for this study was collected and analyzed by non-chiropractic scientists. Consequently, there is no doubt that adjusting your spine changes the way your brain operates. This certainty arises from the fact that Danish scientists recorded brain waves, or EEG, over the entire head using 64 individual electrodes.

They could also work out exactly where the changes and function were happening after the chiropractic session.

They were able to show that the changes were most likely taking place in an area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. Specifically, this part of your brain is a little bit like the conductor of the brain, as it’s responsible for making all the other parts of your brain cooperate together in perfect harmony.

The prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain where executive functions take place. Consequently, it plays a crucial role in our everyday behavior. It encompasses the brain region necessary for various functions, including goal-directed tasks, decision-making, memory, attention, intelligence, processing of pain along with emotional responses. Additionally, it regulates autonomic functions, controls movement, eye movements, and spatial awareness. Therefore, demonstrating that chiropractic care changes the function of the prefrontal cortex could explain many previous research results that have been documented with chiropractic care. Such as improvements in sensory motor function, relevant to fall prevention in the elderly, or better joint position sense in both the upper limb and the lower limb. Also, improved muscle strength in several low limb muscles, better pelvic floor muscle control, and better ability to carry out mental rotations of objects in space.

Being able to accurately perceive where you are and where your arms and legs are is very important.

You need to know where you are to move without having accidents. Moreover, it’s also very important to be able to accurately perceive the world around you.

This is a vital skill we need all day, every day. To recognize some objects you may need to mentally rotate them, for example, to recognize the letter P versus the letter B. If they’re not upright, you would need to mentally rotate them in your mind to figure out which letter it was. We all mentally rotate shapes and objects that we see, but we may not often think about that we do it or how important it is for our daily life.

Chiropractors have long observed a wide variety of changes in people under their care, following adjustments. Along the wide spectrum of claims from those who are under care are those who say they feel better or are able to focus better, and those who notice improvements in movement and coordination.

This study takes us a little further down the path of understanding why this could be so.

Have you seen your chiropractor lately? You may want to have your brains conduct a fine tuned two.


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  2. Holt KR, Haavik H, Lee AC, et al. Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care to Improve Sensorimotor Function Associated With Falls Risk in Older People: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2016.
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  8. Haavik, H., Murphy, B.A. and Kruger, J., 2016. Effect of Spinal Manipulation on Pelvic Floor Functional Changes in Pregnant and Nonpregnant Women: A Preliminary Study. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 39(5), pp.339-347.
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© Haavik Research

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