Do you have a back problem or a brain problem?

It is true that many clients initially come to visit us for help with back or neck problems. However the chiropractic approach recognises that the discomfort is not solely due to a local injury or imbalance but also from a breakdown in the perception and communication between the brain and the body.


Our bodies are beautifully complex and wonderfully connected. So many functions and processes within our bodies are ticking over without our conscious awareness and instead rely on the masterful organisation and communication of our brain and nervous system.


As chiropractors we recognise that movement is life, and that to appropriately nurture our brain and nervous systems (and consequently our health) it is important to have appropriate movement – specifically in our spine. So much of our brains awareness of where we are in relation to our environment comes from the information gathered from the millions of tiny receptors in the muscles and joints of our spine. This highlights the need for a well-aligned and well-moving spine.


A common mechanism of injury we hear about is someone has bent over to pick up their bag or child (an activity they have done numerous times before). But that on this particular instance they felt “something go out” or a “sharp twinge”. What we find is more than likely the case is that there has been an underlying imbalance in the structure and movement of the spine for some time that has led to the brain being less aware of what is accurately going on in that part of the body. In chiropractic we have a specific definition for this negative change to structure and movement that is then affecting your brain and nervous system function – it is called a vertebral subluxation. A study carried out by the NZ Centre for Chiropractic Research together with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (that is soon to be published in the Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics) showed that people with poorly functioning (ie: subluxated) necks couldn’t process sensory information as well as those people with properly functioning necks.


Just like with a computer, if the brain is not getting the most accurate input it is unable to create the best output, and the particular area of the body is more susceptible to injury by going past its physiological range of movement and strength. In these cases it is not so helpful to mask the pain which occurs due to the local inflammation involved as part of the natural healing process. But rather identify what imbalances between the brain-body communication may have led to the injury in the first place. This more than likely involves a longer-term approach to helping the brain and body work in a more balanced way, but is helpful to long term health and injury prevention. This is one of the many reasons why lots of our practice members continue to have regular chiropractic visits even after the original injury has healed.

Your chiropractors at Chiropractic Balance understand the intimate relationship between your spine and your brain and nervous system function. Your chiropractors also understand that the key to health and life is helping your body be able to best adapt to your surroundings. By ensuring good input you can improve your output in life. So, next time you or your loved one notices an ache or pain, ask yourself “is this really just a back problem or is it a brain problem”. The popular saying goes “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. So what changes will you make in terms of what you are feeding your brain in order to enhance your life?


As always, your chiropractors and assistants at Chiropractic Balance are on hand to answer any questions you may have. See you soon!