This week I want to draw your attention to a study that explains why adjustments in your neck can affect your whole body, and why Dr. Peter and I take a full-body approach to assessing your spine and nervous system.
Perhaps you decided to start chiropractic care because of a lower back, hip or leg issue, or a condition known as sciatica (pain into the buttock and down the back of the leg). You may have also noticed that we don't always adjust the area where it hurts, or we adjust other parts of the spine that seem to be asymptomatic or pain-free. You may wonder how an adjustment in one part of your spine where there is no pain can affect another part of your spine where you are struggling.
The study I want to summarize for you this week compared the effectiveness of an upper neck adjustment compared to a pelvic adjustment to assess which one was better at increasing range of motion in the hip. Now logic would suggest that adjusting the pelvis would have a greater effect on increasing range of motion in the hip, as the hip joint is part of the pelvic girdle. Dr. Peter and I can adjust the pelvis lying face-down with a drop piece, or sometimes we will adjust you lying on your side with your knee flexed upward.
In the study, 52 participants were divided into groups that either had an upper neck adjustment only, or a sacroiliac (pelvic) adjustment only. Range of motion in the hip joints of these participants was tested immediately before the adjustments and then again immediately afterwards. What the researchers found was that the range of motion in the hip improved in both groups, however, only the upper neck adjustment group increased the range of motion significantly.
To clarify, neck adjustments caused the greatest improvement in the mobility in the hip joint. Even more so than adjustments to the hip joint itself.
So what is the significance of this study? It means that your body heals from the top-down. When you have a subluxation at the top of your spine it will affect the spinal cord and all the nerves below. Your whole spine is important but the hierarchy of importance is highest in the neck and descends the lower down you go.
This emphasizes the importance of addressing subluxations in your neck if you want to get the best results with conditions that appear to be coming from your lower back and hips. It also emphasizes that the best way to help you is not always to adjust you where it hurts. Sometimes the best way to get your body to heal is to address a subluxation in a different region of your body.
So the next time you are experiencing hip pain, lower back pain or sciatica and your chiropractor suggests adjusting your neck, you will understand clearly why addressing subluxations at the top is important.
If you are interested in seeing the link to this important study, please click on the following link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9868632/
Have an amazing week!
Yours in Health,
Reference: The Effect of Upper Cervical or Sacroiliac Manipulation on Hip Flexion and Range of Motion. Pollard, DC, MS, Ward, PhD. JMPT 1998; 21(9);611-616