Ground Breaking Research on the Importance of a Healthy Spine for a Healthy Brain.

Posted on October 13, 2015
in Straighten Up Ireland/World Spine Day 2015, by Dr. Tammy Verlaan-Ross

Our theme for Straighten Up Ireland/World Spine Day is Healthy Spine, Healthy Brain.  We will be highlighting amazing research demonstrating how chiropractic care keeps your spine and brain healthy.  Today we look at Proprioception.
 
What is proprioception?  
 
It is one of those big words that sound very clever but most people don't really know what it is. So what it is and why is it important to you?
 
Proprioception is how your brain knows where the parts of your body are without having to look. It's how you can walk without looking at your feet, or reach out for your tea cup while still reading a book. Without good proprioception our brains can’t get an accurate picture of where our bodies are in relation to objects around us. We may notice this as clumsiness, or falling more frequently.
 
The brain is like a big super computer. It takes all the information that we feed into it through our senses and movements, interprets the information and makes decisions and sends out commands to the muscles to respond to that information. In order to do this acurately, our brains need good quality information. When we have joints in our bodies - particularly our spines - that are not moving normally, the quality of information being fed into our brains is adversely affected. It’s a bit like trying to make plans with someone over the phone with a bad connection. You only get half the information so you end up guessing and hoping for the best!

Chiropractic care improves the movement of the spinal joints, which improves the quality of the information going to the brain, and therefore inproves the brains ability to understand and regulate what is happening in the body.

A recent study from the New Zealand College of Chiropractic wanted to see if 12 weeks of chiropractic care could improve the risk of falling in the elderly. They studied (amongst other things) how quickly and accurately someone could place their foot on a certain spot when prompted. They found some amazing results. Initially, after 4 weeks, there was little change in the study participants ability to step accurately without looking (proprioception). However, after 12 weeks there was significant improvements. What the researchers concluded was that a 12 week period of regular chiropractic care improved joint position sense, and how the brain processes sensory imformation. That is people were better able to interpret and respond to environmental stimulus, and this directly reduced their risk of falling. Not only that, but people involved in the study also reported improvements in quality of life and improvements in many other health issues they had been experiencing. This by no means suggests that Chiropractic treats any medical conditions, simply that when the brain and body are functioning well, people experience better health and better quality of life. It is also interesting to note that the most significant changes took time to acheive, with far better results being recorded after 12 weeks than 4 weeks.

From October 12th to 17th the Chiropractic Associaiton of Ireland will be holding our annual Striaghten Up Ireland promotion in conjunction with World Spine Day. This year our theme is ‘Healthy Brain, Healthy Spine.’ This year we aim to raise awareness of the importance of good spinal function and the connection to spinal health and brain function.

Particiapting Chiropractors around the country will be offering Spine and Nervous system checks for €30.00. To purchase your voucher, visit Fundraiser for Spinal Injuries Ireland. All proceds will be donated to our charity partner Spinal Injuries Ireland.

If you are interested in learning more about your spinal health and how chiropractic can help improve spinal and brain function, go to www.chiropractic.ie to locate your nearest CAI chiropractor.