Dr. Ben Lerner and Dr. Greg Loman
With technology advancing and the ability to measure brain activity
and health improving each year, studies and theories about the brain-body
connection are finding ever-increasing popularity.
Advancements in brain-body research are incredibly important, as
the brain is responsible for all body function, thought and social
interaction. The more we discover about the functions of the brain
and the pathways in which it communicates with cells and the senses,
the more likely we can expand our mental, emotional and functional
capacities and overcome disease.
The Real Connection
With so much thought going into the brain and how it keeps the
body going, we bet you're wondering what keeps the brain going.
The answer is pretty simple: Your body. While the brain keeps
the body developing and moving along, it is the nutrients that come
from the body through eating, drinking, breathing air and the products
of cellular function that keep the brain developing and moving along.
Important nutrients the brain needs for survival such as oxygen,
glucose and neurotrophins (nutrients that keep neurons strong) get
from the body to the brain through the cerebro-spinal (brain-spine
or spine-brain) fluid (CSF) that flows from inside your spinal canal.
This fluid gets from the spine to brain with the use of a CSF "pump."
This CSF pump doesn't use electricity. The power for the pump is
generated by the movement of the sacrum (the lowest portion of the
spine) and the cervical spine (upper portion of the spine).
For the CSF pump to move effectively, you need a healthy spinal
column. Irregular or reduced motion of the sacrum and/or cervical
spine will lead to an abnormal and reduced flow of oxygen, glucose,
neurotrophins and other important nutrients to the brain. That's
why the spine-brain connection is so important. A bad back or neck
will literally give you a bad brain.
News stories concerning tragedies in which oxygen was cut off to
the brain for too long a period during near-drowning incidents are
very popular. Because of these reports, we all know that the effect
of spending too much time without air causes brain damage. A lack
of normal nutrient support to the brain will lead to damaged brain
tissues and aberrant brain functions resulting in a significant
increase in risk of disease process both in the brain and organ
systems of the body.
Because many people suffer from undetected spinal imbalance and
misalignments called subluxation, they lose the CSF pumping mechanism.
As a result, nutrients are not delivered to the brain in the right
quantity and quality. A poor spine-brain connection has been the
cause of the average brain beginning to atrophy (shrink and deteriorate)
by the age of 25.
Additionally, it's important to recognize that, for the brain to
do any communicating with the body it must send the signals through
the spinal column. Within the spinal column lies the brain stem
and spinal cord. Again, misalignment or poor placement of the spine
would then traction the brain that could lead to poor development,
altered brain function, and potentially reduced output of important
glandular chemical hormones.
Off of the spinal cord emanate the spinal nerves. These nerves
bring brain signals to all of the organ and muscle functions in
the body. If the spinal nerves were to suffer from pressure or damage
from the spinal column, it could affect heart, lung and glandular
functions. This would, in turn, affect the brain due to abnormal
levels of oxygen, blood and chemicals flowing to it.
Good Spine Hygiene
The success of the "brain-body connection" is linked
to the health and function of the spinal column. This new twist,
however, gives us the "spine-brain connection." Damage,
misalignment (subluxation), altered curves and imbalance of the
spine will lead to an ineffective "brain-body connection."
That's why, regardless of symptoms, people who want their brains
to "talk" to their bodies should make sure to establish
proper spinal hygiene, which consists of the following criteria:
Exercises to strengthen the paravertebral (back) musculature,
abdomen and quadriceps (front of legs) which all become weak
or atrophied due to sitting too often.
Proper stretching of anterior musculature including the pectorals
(chest) and anterior deltoids (front of shoulders) as well as
calves and hamstrings.
An evaluation by a chiropractor for proper spinal alignment
and correction of spinal curves.
An unhealthy spine-brain connection can lead to almost any disorder
of the brain or body. Fortunately, the spine-brain connection can
be enhanced by a chiropractor. Certain types of chiropractic can
even improve or even completely restore this important connection.
Ben Lerner and Dr. Greg Loman are the owners of Teach The
World About Chiropractic, a Chiropractic training company. They
have helped build the largest spinal correction clinics in the
history of Chiropractic.