Quite frequently, you will hear someone speak of traditional chiropractic care as a must. More specifically, certain individuals can attest to experiencing amelioration of seemingly unrelated issues after receiving an adjustment. At the very least, those who partake in routine spinal adjustments describe an overall feeling of wellness when sticking to a maintenance program and being adjusted regularly.
But why is this? How does causing a specific cavitation (the “pop” or “crack”) within a spinal joint lead to far reaching systemic benefits? We know and have discussed some of beneficial consequences an adjustment can have on a neuromusculoskeletal level (https://clarkechiropracticwellness.com/2013/04/30/what-is-an-adjustment/), but how about some concrete research and evidence of the actual chemical consequences somewhat responsible for these unexplained occurrences of healing and well being?
Well, the studies are out there, and it is truly fascinating and empowering stuff if you are interested in the all natural route to enhancing your quality and quantity of life. The follow chemicals (neuropeptides) are just two of the many that have been shown to be effected by a chiropractic adjustment; with levels being measured pre and post adjustment.
Neurotensin is a chemical in our bodies that is shown to be reduced in unmediated schizophrenics. In fact many antipsychotic drugs (oft chalk full of unfavorable side efffects) are designed to elevate neurotensin levels. This elevation in neurotensin, as seen in the blood after a chiropractic adjustment of the cervical (neck) or thoracic (upper torso) spine, acts as a psychostimulant.
Decreased levels of neurotensin has also been linked to:
- Gastrointestinal function
- Cardiac function
- Parkinson’s disease
- Elevated blood pressure
- Eating disorders
- Cancer of the:
Oxytocin is another neuropeptide that increases after a chiropractic adjustment, specifically of the cervical spine, and plays a crucial role as an endorphin (endogenously produced opioid), which adds further explanation to the pain killing effects experienced through an adjustment.
Most are familiar with the role of oxytocin in promoting lactation and uterine contractions, as a synthetic form is often administered to a mother to help facilitate the birthing process. With a spinal manipulation of the cervical spine prompting a natural boost in oxytocin levels, could we soon see those forward thinking and open minded mothers to be receiving a cervical adjustment immediately prior to, our even during the birthing process?
In addition to pain modulation and the birthing process, oxytocin is also know to play an integral role in:
- Behavior (sexual, social, eating, etc.)
- Sugar metabolism
These correlations are by no means being implicated as the primary drivers or causative factors of each of the conditions and traits mentioned. However, an undeniable link between the blood levels of chemicals like neurotensin and oxytocin and these issues does indeed exist, and many times it is the chemical manipulation of this link that pharmaceutical companies target. However, as we know and have stated, these drugs are rarely free of side effects.
We know there is a direct link to a chiropractic adjustment and an increase in these neuropeptides which can help explain why the benefit reaches such a larger scale than simply addressing neck pain or headache. When it comes to certain, powerful neuropeptides, you are intentionally altering your chemical physiology in a beneficial way.
Sounds like an intelligent addition to the natural, holistic approach to piecing together the wellness puzzle, and living the truly good life.