Chiropractic and the Biology of Spinal Adjustments

Biology of Spinal Adjustments

Chiropractic is a kind of alternative treatment that is used to relieve muscle, joint or bone pain. It is known to help increase comfort to the neck, shoulders, arms, back, and legs. According to David Perna, if the musculoskeletal system of the body is properly aligned, the body can heal itself faster without the use of conventional treatments like medications or surgery. Studies have already been conducted to prove its effectiveness. New researches are now being done to explain its biology.

Musculoskeletal conditions like neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, and whiplash decrease the body’s mobility due to muscle and nerve injury. Injuries like these decrease the body’s sensorimotor integration, which is needed to process information to help the body adapt to environmental changes. Without this, the body will not be able to properly react to abrupt changes like catching an object before it falls. Sensorimotor problem is also known as one of the leading causes of chronic pain and immobility. Moreover, any alteration in the spine can ultimately decrease the transfer of neurons from the nerves to the brain, which leads to difficulty in processing information in the central nervous system that causes poor muscle control.

Chiropractors use spinal adjustment, also known as spinal manipulation, to properly align the spine. Its aim is to reduce pain, increase the range of motion, and restore function to the affected joints and muscles. A chiropractor does a high-velocity arm thrust to the vertebra. This creates a sound that signals the release of gas, which is believed to release joint pressure. According to a new study, the use of spinal adjustment alters the negative feedback loop that helps improve the sensory function of the body. Researchers measure the sensory-evoked potential (SEP) of the body through a test where small electrodes are placed on a person’s arms, legs, head, and spine. These will conduct electrical signals that can measure how the nervous system responds to certain stimuli. Three studies have shown that the electrical signals of patients with neck pain have changed after spinal adjustments. Their response to pain has also improved.

Another research has also been conducted to assess the effect of spinal adjustment with proprioception or the body’s ability to perceive the position of arms, legs, and joints. Proper proprioception decreases pain and improves motor control and function. When the body performs an action like catching an object, the central nervous system should be able to activate the correct muscles to complete the action and help the body react with any change. Studies have shown that patients with neck and back pain have decrease muscle reaction time. Chiropractic spinal adjustments were used to help the patients increase muscle reaction time and improve muscle control.

The use of chiropractic spinal adjustment could be one of the biggest breakthroughs in alternative medicine. It can help patients with chronic pain and disability due to different musculoskeletal problems. Although more studies may still be required to explain its biology thoroughly, recent studies have, at least, cracked certain information about its mechanism and effects.

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