Q & A: Merrillville Chiropractor, Brain plasticity
Merrillville Chiropractor Q & A about brain changes and chiropractic.
Q: Dr. Matt, I keep you hearing you say that chiropractic care promotes positive brain changes. You mention, neurons that fire together wire together. What do you mean by that?
A: First of all, despite popular science. The sound released following a chiropractic adjustment is not just gas released in the joint. Let me reveal what is happening under a microscope.
Chiropractor Answers: The intricate processes within the microscopic spaces between our specialized cells, known as neurons, play a significant role in transmitting nerve impulses and recording experiences. These processes involve complex biochemical reactions that occur in neural pathways. Furthermore, when we engage in movement tasks, especially those involving the spine, specific neurons in our brains are activated.
The brain receives the initial signal from our body’s movements, particularly those of the spine, through the activation of two sensors: proprioceptors (body position sensors) and mechanoreceptors (body load sensors). These sensors stimulate the neurons and facilitate the exchange of synaptic neurotransmitters, allowing nerve cells to send electrical or chemical signals to each other.
Neurons Wire Together
Repeated experiences, such as chiropractic adjustments, strengthen and increase the synaptic connections between neurons. This strengthening occurs through physiological adaptations, like the release of higher concentrations of neurotransmitters, and anatomical adaptations, such as the generation of new neurons or the growth of synaptic terminals on existing axons and dendrites.
Conversely, poor posture, alignment, and immobility resulting from a sedentary lifestyle can weaken synaptic links. These alterations affect the physical inputs that shape our learning and are reflected in ever-changing cellular connections in the brain. Chains of linked neurons form from these physical inputs, and our mental experiences also contribute to the growth and adaptation of vital neural pathways. This phenomenon is described by Hebb’s rule: “neurons that fire together wire together.”
Interestingly, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to brain shrinkage, a phenomenon occurring now for the first time in human history. It is important to note that the evidence supporting our understanding of the human anatomy and physiology may be skewed. Many textbooks in America, which represent only a small portion of the global population, rely on research conducted on rats. These rats are bred and used in specific experiments, making the conclusions drawn from this research incomplete and potentially misleading.
In summary, the intricate processes occurring between neurons influence the transmission of nerve impulses and shape our learning and experiences. The strengthening and weakening of synaptic connections depend on various physiological and anatomical adaptations. Moreover, a sedentary lifestyle can negatively impact these processes, leading to brain shrinkage. It is essential to critically examine scientific evidence and recognize potential biases in the research conducted on animals like rats, which may not accurately reflect the complexities of our own physiological and anatomical systems.
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