Heidi Haavik, DC, PhD
Chiropractic, as a profession, has been around for 120 years, but the principles that chiropractic is based on aren’t new. In fact the ancient Greeks and other early civilisations used spinal adjustments as a form of healthcare. Hippocrates, the Father of Western Medicine stated that “physical structure is the basis of medicine” and went into great detail concerning the importance of the spine to good health.
There are now approximately 100,000 chiropractors worldwide with over 40 chiropractic schools in 16 countries!
Interestingly, chiropractors don’t just adjust parts of your spine at random! If you have been to a chiropractor you will have noticed that they touch and feel your spine, move it around, possibly test your muscles to see how strong they are, press on parts of your spine to find out if it is tender at particular points, and so on and so on. In the end they very carefully choose specific spinal segments to adjust. The segments that chiropractors choose to adjust will often have corresponding muscle tightness and tenderness if pushed upon.1,2 And the joint will have abnormal movement.3,4 These abnormalities, among others, indicate the presence of what we chiropractors call a vertebral subluxation.5, 6
When a spinal segment doesn’t move properly, i.e. what chiropractors call a vertebral subluxation, it actually appears to influence how the brain perceives and responds to all other sensory information.7
It is thought that your brain cannot see what is going on in the spine when the bones in the spine don’t move properly; because if the spinal bones (vertebrae) are not moving properly then the small muscles closest to your spine will not be moving as much, and these muscles are your brain’s ‘eyes’ in the spine because these little muscles have loads of movement sensors 8-11
What is really fascinating is that when the spine is not working properly this can influence not just how the brain controls the spine, but also how the brain can ‘see’ what is going on in your arms and legs. So this means that Chiropractic care can make you less clumsy! Several studies have shown that your brain becomes more accurately aware of where your arms and legs are even with your eyes closed!12, 13
So it’s a fact that chiropractic care improves spinal function.14-19 What is really cool is that chiropractic care does not just make your spine work better but it also improves the coordination of your arms and legs!12, 13
References: 1. Degenhardt et al. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2005;105(10):465-473. 2.Schneider et al. JMPT. Jul-Aug 2008;31(6):465-473. 3.Cooperstein et al. J Can Chiropr Assoc. Jun 2013;57(2):156- 164. 4.Cooperstein et al. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2010;9(3):99-106. 5.Henderson. J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2012;22(5):632-642. 6.Owens E. J Can Chiro Assoc. 2002;46(4):215-220. 7.Haavik & Murphy. J Electromyogr Kines. October 2012 2012;22(5):768-776. 8.Boyd-Clark et al. SPINE. 2002;27(7):694-701. 9.Kulkarni et al. Neurol India. 2001;49:355-359. 10.Cooper & Daniel. Brain. 1963;86:563-594. 11.Amonoo-Kuofi. J Anat. 1983;136(3):509-519. 12.Haavik & Murphy. JMPT. 2011;34:88-97. 13.Holt et a. JMPT. 2016; 39(4):267-78. 14.Martinez-Segura et al. JMPT. Sep 2006;29(7):511-517. 15.Nansel et al. JMPT. 1991;14(8):450-456. 16.Nansel et al. JMPT. Feb 1992;15(2):99-105. 17.Schiller. JMPT. 2001;24(6):394-401. 18.Wood et al. JMPT. May 2001;24(4):260- 271. 19.Yeomans. JMPT. Feb 1992;15(2):106-114.