Chiropractic Care Improves Brain Function
Updated: Jun 19, 2019
Adapted from: Lelic et al. “Manipulation of dysfunctional spinal joints affects sensorimotor integration in the pre-frontal cortex: A brain source localization study,”Neural Plasticity, Volume 2016
A brain that’s functioning and conducting its activities better has a positive effect on the body. Research shows when a subluxation is adjusted it changes brain function by 20%.
An adjustment impacts the function of the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that is responsible for behaviour, goal directed tasks, decision making, memory and attention, intelligence, motor control, eye movements and more!
Chiropractors have long observed a wide variety of changes in the people under their care following adjustments. Along the wide spectrum of claims from those under care are those who say they feel better or 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.These are important control mechanisms run by the prefrontal cortex. For example, joint position sense is the brain’s ability to know where the arms and legs are in space. And mental rotation is important, because as Haavik explains:
“Being able to accurately perceive the world around you 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 b if they were not upright you would need to rotate them in your mind to figure out which letter it was. We all do mentally rotate shapes and objects we see, but we may not often think about that we do it, or how important this is in our daily life.”
Haavik and her team are excited about the evidence regarding the location of changes post-adjustment.
“This is solid scientific evidence that adjusting the spine changes the way the prefrontal cortex of the brain is processing information from the arm. It demonstrates we change the way the brain works and shows that spinal function impacts brain function. One of the most interesting things about the changes we observed was that the prefrontal cortex is responsible for behavior, goal directed tasks, decision making, memory and attention, intelligence, processing of pain and emotional response to it, autonomic function, motor control, eye movements and spatial awareness.”
If, as this research suggests, adjusting improves prefrontal cortex activity, a part of the brain that is responsible for just so much higher level function, then what does this mean in terms of chiropractic’s impact on things like behavior, decision making, memory and attention, intelligence, processing of pain and emotional response to it, autonomic function, motor control, eye movements and spatial awareness?We already know that adjustments cause improvements in sensorimotor function relevant to falls-prevention; better joint-position sense in both the upper limb and the lower limb; improve muscle strength in lower limb muscles; better pelvic floor control; and better ability to carry out mental rotation of objects. The picture above and blog was adapted from:
 Lelic, D, Niazi, IK, Holt, K, Jochumsen, M, Dremstrup, K, Yielder, P, Murphy, B, Drewes, A and Haavik, H (2016), “Manipulation of dysfunctional spinal joints affects sensorimotor integration in the pre-frontal cortex: A brain source localization study,” Neural Plasticity, Volume 2016 (2016). Online.
 Haavik, H (2016), correspondence with Spinal Research via Nimrod Weiner