Neurophysiological research that is changing our understanding about the effects of Chiropractic Adjustment
Dr Heidi Haavik is one of the most popular chiropractic speakers in the world today. Director of Research at New Zealand Chiropractic College, Dr Haavik is best known for her ground breaking research on the impact of chiropractic adjustments on the brain and central nervous system. In this lecture she will share the absolute latest of her research findings, their role in chiropractic practice and what the future may hold. Resent scientific studies are revealing a new understanding about how spinal adjustments work. Heidi Haavik, a chiropractor and PhD trained neurophysiologist has spent the past two decades studying the changes that occur in the brain when chiropractors adjust the spine. The original chiropractic theories were based on the idea that dysfunctional spinal segments were ‘out of place’, or misaligned, and that this put pressure on the nerves exiting the spine. We now know that this theory is not really the best way to describe what a chiropractic subluxation is. The original theories were based on the idea that an adjustment relieved pressure off the squashed nerves. We now also know this is not the best way to describe the neurophysiological effects of an adjustment. Today, over a hundred years on from that ‘first’ chiropractic adjustment, we know much more about how the brain and the rest of the central nervous system functions. And it is becoming clear – finally – just how the chiropractic adjustment really works. We have now come to understand that we don’t really put bones back in place when we adjust the spine. A chiropractic subluxation is not so much the condition of a bone being out of place; it is more that a bone is functioning or moving in a less than ideal way – in a manner that is not ‘normal’ for the body. The spine itself has three basic functions; 1) sometimes to move to dissipate forces for example during running, 2) sometimes to stiffen up – also to protect us for example during heavy lifting, and 3) sometimes to automatically activate paraspinal muscles to maintain balance and prevent falls. Thus from a neurophysiological perspective, if vertebral motion segments are not doing one of these three things when it should then we have a Central Segmental Motor Control problem – and from a neurophysiological perspective, this is what a chiropractic subluxation is. What is really interesting is how spinal dysfunction impacts our brain’s function, and how this likely translates into clinical symptomatology (or not). Dr Heidi Haavik will share with you a summary of where we are at today with the neurophysiological understanding of the impact of spinal function on brain function and will discuss what future implications this has for us as a profession.