A growing revolution in health care is a shift away from approaches that are not validated by research. Instead, scientists are urging health care professionals to practices what is called evidence based care. Or EBC. This approach involves using care plans that are backed by scientific research.
Dr. Greif has always been an advocate of EBC. To this end, this chiropractic office remains up to date with research, and takes part in yearly continuing education programs.
While most people are aware that scientific research supports the use of chiropractic for conditions related to muscles and bones (musculoskeletal conditions such as neck pain, headache and back pain), many individuals are not aware of research revealing that, because they influence nervous system activity, chiropractic adjustments may help prevent many other conditions. These conditions range from high blood pressure to childhood ear infections.
Research Shows Chiropractic Influences the Nervous System
Dr. Greif wants patients to be aware of a growing body of research documenting that chiropractic adjustments directly influence nervous system activity.
The first such experiment, conducted in 2000, enrolled 40 adults with low back pain. The group was nearly equally divided between men and women.
Of the 40 subjects, 20 underwent chiropractic care. The remaining 20 patients received either no treatment or “pseudo” chiropractic care. Those receiving the pseudo care, who did not receive and adjustment, followed the same pre-procedure steps as those who did.[i]
Before and after receiving chiropractic adjustments or the pseudo variety, subjects were asked to perform a movement that produced maximal contraction in their lower back muscles. During this maneuver, researchers monitored low back muscle activity using a machine called a surface electromyography. As part of this procedure, electrodes are attached to the skin above the muscles surrounding the spine (erector spinae muscles). The electrodes transmit electrical impulses produced by the muscles to a computer that monitors muscle activity.
Any changes in muscular activity would be facilitated by spinal nerves, indicating that chiropractic adjustments influence nerve flow.
Overall, electromyographic results revealed a 21% increase in spinal muscle strength among subjects in the chiropractic group, compared with the 5.8% in subjects who underwent the pseudo chiropractic care and a 3.9 % increase in subjects who went without treatment.
“This research represents the first of several studies to better understand just how chiropractic adjustments change nerves and subsequently help patients feel better, move butter and experience better health naturally. Our research team, consisting of scientists and clinicians in the fields of biomechanics, orthopedic surgery and chiropractic, is testimony to the gaining popularity and respect of chiropractic care.”
In another 2008 analysis, researchers used technology called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to induce changes in nervous system activity known as “motor-evoked potentials” (MEPs). By monitoring this process in 72 volunteers while they received chiropractic care, the scientists determined that chiropractic adjustments alter the effects of corticospinal excitability on moto-neuron activity of the nerves that supply the paraspinal muscles around the spine.[ii]
A previous study, using similar technology, showed that chiropractic adjustments to the spine influence nerves going to structures far away from the spine as well. Specifically, it found that adjustments to the spine influence the activity of nerves supplying the calf muscles.[iii]
Research Shows Chiropractic Adjustments Improve Overall Health
Scientific research indicates that chiropractic care improves the immune response, which may lead to superior health overall. Researchers speculate that this phenomenon is regulated by the nervous system’s response to chiropractic adjustments.
One particular study looked at the effect of chiropractic adjustments on specific white blood cells associated with immune function. Known as polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) and monocytes, these disease-busters help the body destroy unhealthy cells. The study revealed that “…polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) and monocytes were enhanced in adults that had been adjusted by chiropractors.”[iv]
Research Shows Chiropractic May Benefit Structures Away From the Spine
By creating optimal nervous system flow, researchers speculate chiropractic adjustments may influence structures in the body far away from the spine, such as organs. In this way, chiropractic care may prevent a wide array of conditions. The following is a condensed list of conditions that scientific studies have the past two decades indicate may benefit from chiropractic care.
- High Blood Pressure
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Chest pain
- Lung problems
- Hearing problems
- Restless Legs Syndrom
[i] J Manipulative Physiol Ther 200;23(9)
[ii] J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2008;31:258-70.
[iii] J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2002;25:1-9.
[iv] J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1991;7:399-400.