Modern Imaging Captures Chiropractic Changes to the Brain
By Chris Brown
Most patients who seek regular chiropractic care do so with the intention of keeping their spine in balance and optimizing the function of their nervous system. However, regular chiropractic care may be benefiting their minds more than they know. With modern imaging technologies, recent studies have found observable changes in brain function following regular spinal manipulation. These brain changes may allow for clearer thinking with better decision-making and memory for those who make visits to the chiropractor a top priority.
Spinal Manipulation Changes the Resting Brain, Study Finds
A recent 2022 study in the academic journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment looked into brain function changes in chronic back pain patients using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The study found that patients with chronic low back pain had "abnormal brain function activity" that may lead to higher occurrences of depression and mental illness. More specifically, the resting brain default in patients with low back pain was disrupted due to functional brain activity being diverted to pain management areas of the brain instead. When the patients attended six sessions of spinal manipulation therapy, the brain scans showed that blood oxygenation levels had regained a more normal distribution for the lower back pain patients. Since the patients' mental abnormalities were theorized to be caused, in part, by the constant pain stimulus, it suggests that any chronic pain condition may experience the same cognitive benefits from chiropractic's ability to optimize the nervous system and rewire the pain response.
Chiropractic's Broader Usage as a Brain Enhancement
Chiropractic's benefits for enhancing the brain may expand beyond its ability to free the intrusive chronic pain signal loop. Another 2011 study found that chiropractic manipulation increased glucose metabolism in the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain responsible for decision making and planning complex behaviors) as well as the cingulated cortex (which processes emotion and behavior regulation) and middle temporal gyrus (involved in memory processing, visual perception, and sensory integration). This would seem to indicate improved decision-making and a greater situational awareness, especially for complex situations. Consequently, questionnaires taken by participants following the study indicated lowered stress and improved quality of life.
With chiropractic's ability to positively influence the brain, another argument can be made for the importance of regular chiropractic adjustments. The Joint Chiropractic offers patients affordable, insurance-free care without the added hassle of scheduling an appointment. Stop by one of The Joint's over 600 locations nationwide to experience the difference today!
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Madison, Ala.