Chiropractic Adjustments Change Brain Function

Updated: Feb 18

brain function chiropractic

The Australian Spinal Research Foundation has announced the publication of what could be the most important research study of the decade.

Many of my patients who have sought chiropractic care for themselves, know that the adjustment does a lot more than relieve pain. They know it changes the way they think, perceive and process information, and now we know why.

Doctors Heidi Haavik, Kelly Holt and Bernadette Murphy have paved the way for neuroplasticity in the chiropractic world. Their recent study, carried out in Denmark, shows us that a chiropractic adjustment significantly changes the activity in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain by almost 20%. (1.)

This study opens the gateway to an endless amount of research in chiropractic and how it affects our neurology.

The prefrontal cortex is responsible for higher learning and cognition, and in particular:

  • Planning,

  • Decision-making,

  • Attention,

  • Memory,

  • Motivation,

  • Behaviour,

  • Speech, and

  • Vision

“Chiropractic care, by treating the joint dysfunction, appears to change processing by the prefrontal cortex. This suggests that chiropractic care may as well have benefits that exceed simply reducing pain or improving muscle function and may explain some claims regarding this made by chiropractors.” (2.)

This research demonstrates to us, that every time we get adjusted, it is having a big impact on not only our spinal health and general wellbeing, but also on the way our brain processes information.

The importance of this study though, is the endless possibilities that are now open for chiropractors and further research into the effect we have on neuroplasticity. Now that we know spinal function is directly linked to brain function, and in particular the pre-frontal cortex, to what degree are chiropractic adjustments really affecting us?

Could chiropractic adjustments help us plan and carry out our daily goals more effectively?

Could chiropractic adjustments have an effect on a child’s behaviour?

Further research into these fields is needed.

Click here to read more about this study.


  1. Haavik H, Holt K, Murphy B et al. Manipulation of Dysfunctional Spinal Joints Affects Sensorimotor Integration in the Prefrontal Cortex: A Brain Source Localization Study. Neural Plasticity Journal, Apr 2016. Doi:

  2. Blumenfeld H 2010. Neuroanatomy through Clinical Cases. 2nd edn, Sinauer Associates, Massachusetts.

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