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  • Writer's pictureJohn Stenberg

how chiropractic adjustments impact brain physiology with dr. heidi haavik

Dr. John Stenberg is an upper cervical chiropractor in Colorado Springs, Colorado and recently sat down to interview Dr. Heidi Haavik about her research and it's application to upper cervical chiropractic practice.


Dr. Haavik leads a team of researchers at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic and is actively researching and publishing work exploring the physiology behind the successes of chiropractic care with an emphasis on the effects of chiropractic adjustments on the brain.


Check out the full length interview here:

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Dr. Haavik's path to becoming a chiropractic researcher

  • "The contemporary model of vertebral column joint dysfunction and impact of high-velocity, low-amplitude controlled vertebral thrusts on neuromuscular function" - a recent publication reviewing the literature on brain impacts of adjusting vertebral subluxations (full text link below)

  • Commonly understood and scientifically grounded mechanisms between vertebral column dysfunction, and deleterious nervous system function

  • Local and global tissues change associated with vertebral subluxation

  • The future of scientific research and it's clinical implications

and more.

Key takeaways for Doctors:

  • Vertebral subluxation creates a distorted neurological imprint of spinal movement in the brain

  • Proprioception is negatively impacted by vertebral subluxation. A negative feedback loop is established in which local tissues changes continue to propagate faulty proprioceptive input, perpetuating the breakdown of neurological coordination of movement. Nociceptive consequences of these mechanisms can promote, cause, or drive chronic and acute pain conditions of the spine.

  • Supraspinal neurological consequences of vertebral subluxation include distorted brain maps/schemas of the spine. Local spinal consequences include fatty infiltration and fiber type changes in multifidi muscles local to the subluxated segment.

  • High velocity low amplitude (HVLA) chiropractic adjustments of vertebral subluxations break these negative feedback loops by restoring spinal motion. This restores multifidi tone, proprioceptive input to regions of the somatosensory and motor cortices, and autonomic functions related to postural spinal control.

Key takeaways for patients:

  • Persistent spinal dysfunction, pain, and damage can occur after injury. This is due to the neurological impact of a breakdown in healthy spinal motion in regions of the spine adjacent to the injury.

  • Faulty movement creates unhealthy muscles that support, move, and stabilize the spine. Over time, these muscles further perpetuate faulty movement, creating a negative cycle of spinal degeneration and pain.

  • Upper cervical chiropractors are trained to accurately diagnose and correct these issues with the spine to promote comfort, control, and coordination of spinal movement.

  • The research shows that this is not only effective for pain relief, but for brain health as well.


Click here to access the full text PDF of the study we referenced: The contemporary model of vertebral column joint dysfunction and impact of high-velocity, low-amplitude controlled vertebral thrusts on neuromuscular function Check out the followings links provided by Dr. Haavik to learn more about and support her research.


To help support Heidi and the Future of Chiropractic’s Strategic Plan’s vision

Heidi Haavik’s online classes about the science of chiropractic

Heidi Haavik’s resource library for communicating the science of chiropractic with your community

Heidi Haavik’s book ‘The Reality Check’ is available on Amazon and at www.heidihaavik.com

(Translated books may be sold at www.heidihaavik.eu)


Two recent freely downloadable research articles:

· Heidi Haavik, Nitika Kumari, Kelly Holt, Imran Khan Niazi, Imran Amjad, Amit N. Pujari, Kemal Sitki Türker, Bernadette Murphy. (2021) The contemporary model of vertebral column joint dysfunction and impact of high-velocity, low-amplitude controlled vertebral thrusts on neuromuscular function" Invited Review. European Journal of Applied Physiology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-021-04727-z

· Heidi Haavik, Imran Khan Niazi, Nitika Kumari, Imran Amjad, Jenna Duehr, Kelly Holt. (2021) The potential mechanisms of High-Velocity, Low-Amplitude, Controlled Vertebral Thrusts on Neuroimmune Function: A narrative review. Medicina 2021, 57, 536. https://doi.org10.3390/medicina57060536

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