The spinal cord is literally an extension of the brain, and therefore spinal health is brain health says the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association, as part of a drive to explain how improved brain-body communication is vital to improving the nation’s well being.
Celebrating International Brain Awareness Week, chiropractor and NZCA spokesman Dr Hayden Thomas explains: `The focus of chiropractic care is on the health and integrity of the nervous system. The health and function of the spine affects the entire nervous system. We already know that the spinal cord is part of the central nervous system (CNS) and processes information just like parts of the brain do and the latest New Zealand research into the effects of chiropractic care suggests that it may have an important role to play in maximising sporting performance and aiding recovery from a range of conditions where muscle function has been compromised.
The New Zealand College of Chiropractic Centre for Chiropractic Research has recently published a study in the journal Experimental Brain Research which suggests that full spine chiropractic adjustments can significantly improve brain-body communication and coordination.
According to Dr Thomas: `Earlier New Zealand research indicated that chiropractic care improves the communication between the brain and body and results in better control of the core muscles during body movements, so that your spine is at less risk of injury. The researchers tell us that just a single session of chiropractic care may improve muscle activation and increase muscle contractions to the same extent as three weeks of gym-based strength training.
New Zealand research indicates that chiropractic care may have a role to play in assisting those who display poor proprioceptive function the ability of the brain to sense the relative position of the body parts in space, and the ability to move accurately and precisely without having to look at what you are doing. Without accurate proprioception you would not be able to drive a car safely as you would need to constantly look at what your arms and legs were doing.
As Dr Thomas explains: â€˜We know that chiropractic care assists brain function in many ways, one of which is proprioceptive function and this improves the accuracy of the internal brain map so your brain accurately knows what is going on all the time.
2 Niazi IK, Türker KS, Flavel S, Kinget M, Duehr J & Haavik H. (2015) Changes in Hreflex and V waves following spinal manipulation. Experimental Brain Research.
In press. DOI: 10.1007/s0022101441935 URL link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s0022101441935