Neurology & Chiropractics

As the science behind chiropractic care advances into the new millennium, its original focus, which was primarily rooted in treating muscles and bones, is shifting. However, even today if a chiropractor is asked what the primary purpose of chiropractic care is, they are likely to answer “treating vertebrae of the spine,” because this is the tradition established by years of chiropractic training.

The common theory since the beginning days of chiropractic care has been that misalignments of the vertebrae create “nerve root compression” which results in neurological disorder. It isn’t well known that research has yet to definitely prove this theory to be true. Moreover, chiropractic treatment that doesn’t move misaligned vertebrae also gets positive results.

This outmoded viewpoint that says “because your spine is misaligned there is a pressure on your nerves causing this pain” is being replaced by a new perspective. Chiropractic treatment has been shown by modern studies to affect the immune response in the body and alter neurological patterns. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is where the cause of the pain is placed. Whereas in the past chiropractic theory pointed towards pinched nerves it now recognizes that stressors in the patient's life, caused by physical, emotional, chemical, and electromagnetic reasons, create trends of disorder over time in the body’s health. 

A new neurological standpoint for chiropractic recognizes three mains systems of the body. First there is the passive system which includes bones and joints. This system does nothing of its own action, it is merely the frame that makes movement possible, and can be measured by x-rays and by studying the posture. Next is the active system including the muscles of the body. These are the primary source of power for all the bodily activities which comprise a host of actions like respiration, cardio vascular, elimination, etc. These can be measured by SEMG ROM. Finally there is the control system, the nerves which are the central organizing authority that send the signals to move the muscles, which are supported by the bones and joints. The nerves can be measured by EEG and autonomic nervous system responses.

The outdated chiropractic perspective focused heavily on the passive system of bones and joints without realizing that this system can't do much to heal the body on its own. Any treatment given to this system is one third removed from the source of the problem.

EEG scans of the brain show that adjustment changes brain wave patterns, and the chiropractic care of the future will likely concentrate on the nervous system, the source of movement.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Army Medicine