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Sunday, October 06, 2019

Can You Control What's Not In Your Control? Mastering the Brain

Chiropractic helps us maintain the nervous system's ability to assess and adapt to the changes around you.  We use the spinal joints as our access points to re-calibrate a busy brain.  

It sounds so simple yet it profoundly impacts your health in positive ways.

So much of our brain activity is subconscious.  It happens automatically.  As your body notes changes in your surroundings and inside your body it responds.  For example, if you eat a spoiled food, your brain goes into action by causing your GI tract to reverse course and cause you to vomit, or speed things up and send you running for the toilet.  Your brain doesn't take a vote or mull it over; it does it very efficiently.  But, what if your nerves were already over-stressed or unresponsive for any various reason such as a weakened immune system, infection, or physical damage from a trauma?  Your body may not be able to expel the toxins and you may stay sick and suffer more.  

When you begin to climb a flight of stairs, your brain needs to be in communication with your legs, so your body knows to ramp up your circulation with a faster heart rate.  Anykind of weakness will prohibit your ability to climb the stairs. 

It's not always apparent when your body is about the hit the wall and fail on you.  That's why we utilize chiropractic to maintain brain function and we address stresses that we can modify so they are not as damaging to overall health.  

Chiropractors have their own set of measurable vital signs that let you know how well your body can respond to appropriately to the highs and lows of your life.

Your body is like a dam and the water could be rising without any warning, because the other side of the dam is dry without a drop of wetness.  However, it only takes one minor rise in the water level to break the dam and a powerful flood can occur.  That's one unsuspecting way to ruin your day.  Have you ever had a pipe burst in your house at the most inconvenient time?

As chiropractors we want your care to be meaningful and rewarding.  It all turns back to how you desire to live your life, follow your calling, and make your dreams come true.  Chiropractors want to celebrate your life with you and we want to keep you inspired and proud of your achievements.  We help you do that with a healthy, performing brain. 

This article about the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the nervous system nicely explains how special the brain truly is.  Enjoy this information and ask me how we promote a meaningful brain building routine. 

Why Does Chiropractic Need to Look at Brain Activity?

Chiropractic's primary focus is the nervous system. Insofar as the brain is the central organizing authority, it benefits us to have some objective method of knowing that something is amiss in the Central Nervous System and even more compelling, that our care has improved neurological function. The best researched and simplest method today is via electroencephalograph or EEG studies. 
B.J. Palmer, developer of Chiropractic, taught that the subluxation (or less energy) is found in the nervous impulse, so what better area to examine than the seat of neural activity. Brain waves are created by cortical activity (outer layer of the brain) and are a very accurate method of revealing normal or abnormal brain activity.
Moving from the cortical function, we next need to look at the matured part of the brain - the limbic system. Within this region we find all the life sustaining activities of the nervous system. The limbic system is the center of the Autonomic Nervous System and it is divided into two parts: the sympathetic which is responsible for getting our other systems up and running and our parasympathetic system which is responsible for slowing everything down. 
The activity between these two systems allows us to respond to tasks or threats (sympathetic activity) and then to recover (parasympathetic) from the efforts of these high energy demanding situations. Research shows that Chiropractic adjustments improve Autonomic Nervous System function.
While we think, consciously, that we are in control, 84% of our brain activity is subconscious which is why the majority of time we have no idea that our systems are out of balance. We only become aware of a problem once the relationship between the two become so badly out of balance that symptoms appear.
In order to determine real neurological function we must look at the systems under duress and then recovery to see if they can adapt to a stressor and then recover to normal once the stressor is removed. This is the reason we do dynamic and static testing over time and events.
The Limbic System controls other body systems including: heart rate, hand temperature, skin moisture, respiration rate, general muscle tone, and heart rate variability as well as others.
So, now as a truly neurologically based Chiropractor we can see the importance between cortical activity and limbic system response, but how does that relate to our patients? By understanding what the Neuro Infiniti Screening system is measuring and what we are looking at you will see how important it is we evaluate the connection between the brain and the rest of your body.
Autonomic Neurological Function
Heart rate - Ideal 56 to 66 BPM
Why is heart rate important? As cardiac events are the number one killer, knowing what is going on with heart function is self evident. The Neuro Infiniti provides a great deal of cardiac information including simple heart rate and heart rate variability. 
With the stress/recovery measurements we can objectively see what the heart activity is during emotional stress and physical activity. We can see if the patient has any conscious control on his/her heart rate.
Heart Rate Variability - high bars in the low frequency range
This is a relatively new form of heart function testing and with research now in place, it is important that we use measurement as an evaluation for the effectiveness of Chiropractic care in a clinical setting. 
There are several instruments available in the market today; however, the Neuro Infiniti is unique in its application and combination. The fact that we use HRV findings in conjunction with measured respiration rates and during stress events and recovery, a great deal more information on all three of these procedures is provided.
Respiration Rate - Ideal 6 to 12 BPM
There are several vital sign measurements used in the health field. Brain activity, heart rate, blood pressure and respiration rate are some of the most common. There is more to respiration than just the rate. Upper respiratory breathing is a sympathetic response to a stressor and involves elevating the upper rib cage rather than using the diaphragm to breathe. 
Diaphragmatic breathing involves the Vagus nerve (conveys sensory information about the state of the body's organs) and Phrenic nerve (conveys sensory information about the upper abdomen liver and gall bladder) and the parasympathetic nervous system. This system helps the body stop the stress response. Rapid breathing is very detrimental to the body and can create an imbalance with the body chemistry. Damage to the Phrenic nerve can cause abnormal breathing patterns.
Skin Conductivity - Ideal 0.8 to 1.5Su
The study of Skin Conductivity (SC) or Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) has been ongoing over the last 100 years. While SC measures the conductivity of electrical current, GSR measures the resistance. Both reflect the electro-dermal activity of the skin as affected by the sweat glands. 
There have been many studies over the years which establish the power of the subconscious emotions within the Central Nervous System to control sweat gland activity. With this knowledge and data, we have the opportunity to record the emotional responses to stressors and the ability to neutralize the responses.
Hand Temperature - Ideal 94F to 96F - 34C to 35C
While typical medical practice tends to look at core temperature as a vital sign, there is another area which tells an important story about health response much earlier than at the core. The extremities are very important in reporting on the neurological state of the patient. 
Given any stress of threat, the typical neurological response is to close down the blood flow to the hands and feet and pool the blood into the central core. This is a typical fight/flight response as blood will be required in the heart and lungs to provide oxygen and nutrition to the major muscles. Long term stress patterns keep the patient in this state and cold hands and feet will be a constant.
Muscle tone (sEMG) - ideal 0.5 to 2.5
Over the years, Chiropractic has been associated with musculoskeletal function. In the last 15 years we have seen the development of instrumentation which recorded static para-spinal muscle activity. 
What is important here is to look for the way stressors affect muscle tone. The three areas most reactive are the trapezius (shoulder area), the masseter (jaw area) and the temporalis (eye area) muscles. These muscles provide a window into the effects of stressors on general muscle tone.
As you can see, observing and measuring brain activity is crucial and very important to chiropractic and patients which have a desire to maximize their health. It is our job to assess your nervous system and either jump start it or slow it down by means of the chiropractic adjustment. 
Restoring it to the wonderful and normal state of balance is our intention. In addition, we are able to offer simple retraining methods to augment the power of the chiropractic adjustment.
We welcome your feedback as well as the opportunity to help you and those you care about reach your optimum potential. Ideally, you shouldn't be very off track. Your health is your most valuable asset so please do not wait for symptoms to arise before you take action. 
Always remember to be proactive about your health, not reactive. The shameful trend reveals that most of our society decides to become proactive when health crisis occurs. Individuals spend a large chunk of money trying to regain their health that was lost as opposed to cherishing it along the course of life. 
It makes better sense to spend money on ways to enhance your health so you can be enjoying your life throughout your prime years on this planet.
We encourage being aware at the earliest signs possible. The Neuro Infiniti technology provides that opportunity from a neurological systems point of view. Problems can be revealed much earlier and by doing so, the road to recovery is much shorter. 
Bottom line: determining early what your systems are doing and where we are starting from can save you years and dollars in the future.
Dr. Irma Leon Palmer is available at Chiropractic Today in Inverness. Schedule your Stress Response Evaluation today by calling (205)991-3511 or visit to learn more.
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