Today, we are looking at a study that evaluates the connection between the body and its sensory input to the brain, and the affects chiropractic adjustments have on this connection. Below are some definitions which may help you better understand what the authors are describing.
Noted Chiropractic researchers, Heidi Haavik Taylor, PhD, BSc, and Bernadette Murphy, PhD, DC, published an important study in 2010 in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, titled "Altered Central Integration Of Dual Somatosensory Input After Cervical Spine Manipulation" investigating changes in the intrinsic inhibitory interactions within the somatosensory system subsequent to a session of chiropractic adjustments on cervical subluxations. They used a dual peripheral nerve stimulation somatosensory evoked potential (SEP) technique to measure the effects an adjustment has on afferent nerve activity, and compared the results to those of a control group that received no intervention. The major finding in the study was that a single session of chiropractic adjustments in subluxated patients resulted in improved suppression of SEP’s at the brain level, and that no changes where noted in the control group.
This is an important finding, because “pain alone, without deafferentation, has been shown to induce increased SEP peak amplitudes and increased somatosensory evoked magnetic fields. Sensorimotor disturbances are known to persist beyond acute episodes of pain, and these disturbances are thought to play a defining role in the clinical picture and chronicity of different chronic neck pain conditions. Therefore [the results of this study] reflect an improvement of plastic changes induced by previous injury and may reflect one mechanism for the improvement of functional ability reported after chiropractic adjustments.”
So, what does this all mean to you? Chiropractic adjustments have the power to affect your nervous system on a global level in the way your brain and body adapt and heal so that you not only FEEL better after an adjustment, more importantly, your nervous system FUNCTIONS better in the way your brain and body communicate with each other!
Taylor HH, Murphy B. Altered central integration of dual somatosensory input after cervical spine manipulation. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2010 Mar-Apr;33(3):178-88. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2010.01.005. PubMed PMID: 20350670.
Intrinsic inhibitory interactions: ability of receptors in the brain to produce a maximum functional response.
Somatosensory: somato = body; sensory = input/information to the brain.
Afferent nerve activity: information (nerve transmissions) from the body to the brain.
Dual peripheral nerve stimulation somatosensory evoked potential technique: A way to measure the strength of a signal sent along a nerve from the body to the brain.
Plastic changes: How learning changes your brain (the brain is not made of plastic). Neuroplasticity, or brain plasticity, refers to the brain's ability to CHANGE throughout life. The human brain has the amazing ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections between brain cells, which are called neurons.