Neurological impact of acupuncture studied

Acupunture benefits - Terry A. Rondberg, DCIn recent years, chiropractors have once more turned their attention to the neurological component of the subluxation. After decades of concentrating on musculoskeletal aspects, it’s a move that is as timely as it is important. In the years to come, our understanding of how we impact the brain will be the key to becoming the leader in the wellness revolution.

It’s a trend we’re seeing in other non-medical fields as well. In fact, a British research study published earlier this year in the journal Brain Research revealed that acupuncture has a significant effect on specific neural structures.

The researchers explained that when a patient receives acupuncture, it triggers a sensation called deqi (literally, the arrival of chi, pronounced duh-chi). Scientific analysis shows that this energy impulse deactivates areas within the brain that are associated with the processing of pain.

Dr. Hugh MacPherson, of the Complementary Medicine Research Group in the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences, noted: “These results provide objective scientific evidence that acupuncture has specific effects within the brain which hopefully will lead to a better understanding of how acupuncture works.”

Neuroscientist Dr. Aziz Asghar, of the York Neuroimaging Centre and the Hull York Medical School, added: “The results are fascinating. Whether such brain deactivations constitute a mechanism which underlies or contributes to the therapeutic effect of acupuncture is an intriguing possibility which requires further research.”

Last summer, following research conducted in York, acupuncture was recommended for the first time by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as a treatment option for NHS patients with lower back pain. NICE guidelines now state that GPs should “consider offering a course of acupuncture comprising a maximum of 10 sessions over a period of up to 12 weeks” for patients with this common condition.

Current clinical trials at the University of York are investigating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of acupuncture for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and for depression. Recent studies in the US have also shown that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for migraines and osteoarthritis of the knee.

The York team believes that the new research could help to clear the way for acupuncture to be more broadly accepted as a treatment option on the NHS for a number of medical conditions. “Our results show the importance of collecting and accounting for needle sensation data in neuroimaging studies of acupuncture,” researchers concluded.

There’s an equally important need to collect information on the neurological impact of chiropractic adjustments, such as that being collected by doctors who use the NeuroInfiniti equipment.

ABSTRACT:  “Acupuncture needling sensation: The neural correlates of deqi using fMRI.” Brain Research, Vol. 1315, 22 February 2010, Pages 111-118.

AUDIO: Dr. Hugh Macpherson, from the University of York, discusses new research into the effects of acupuncture on the brain published in Brain Research.

Chiropractic Neurology – Q & A

by Terry A. Rondberg, DC

Chiropractic Neurology - by Terry A. RondbergBased on my previous articles on the subject, it’s clear there is a lot of interest about chiropractic neurology. What’s it all about? I’m posting this blog in frequently asked question (FAQ) format to ensure you can quickly find the answers you need.

Q. What’s chiropractic neurology?

A. According to the American Chiropractic Neurology Board (ACNB), chiropractic neurology is defined as “the field of functional neurology that engages the internal and external environment of the individual in a structured and targeted approach to affect positive changes in the neuraxis and consequent physiology and behavior.”

Q. So what does that mean in plain English?

A. It means that a chiropractic neurologist examines how the nervous system is functioning (or malfunctioning). If the system is out of balance, chiropractic treatment focuses on repairing the imbalance, such as vertigo, Autism, attention deficit disorder (ADD), to restore the patient to health.

Q. What others types of disorders can chiropractic neurology address?

A. Chiropractic neurologists may treat the above conditions, as well as dizziness, disequilibrium and imbalance, dystonia, tremors, chronic pain syndromes, back pain and movement disorders. They may also treat behavioral disorders such as Tourette’s Syndrome, as well as changes in personality or motor, sensory or cognitive impairments resulting from head traumas, accident injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and mild TBI.

Q. So what’s the difference between a chiropractic neurologist and a medical neurologist?

A. According to the ACNB, the chiropractic neurologist provides the same manner of consultation as a medical neurologist, with the major difference being that the therapies and applications are performed without the use of drugs or surgery. So, a medical neurologist or neurosurgeon will prescribe medications, injections or brain surgery to correct a disorder or condition. On the other hand, the chiropractic approach is to therapeutically change brain and nervous-system function.

Q. How is a chiropractic neurologist different than a “traditional” chiropractor?

A. Most chiropractors are trained in the detection and correction of spinal dysfunction. But spinal function is just one of many influences on the nervous system. A neurologist not only has completed the doctor of chiropractic program, but must receive three years of additional training and testing to become a board-certified neurologist in the chiropractic profession. The extra training is specific to the field of neurology and includes the study of neurophysiology and clinical and diagnostic techniques.

Q. What are the benefits of chiropractic neurology?

A. Simply put, many conditions of the brain and nervous system do not respond well to aggressive interventions such as drug therapy or surgery. Both drugs and surgery are often associated with increased risks for serious complications or dangerous side effects. Thus, the approach taken by chiropractic neurologists can be highly beneficial in treating brain and nervous system disorders using safe and effective methods with lasting health benefits.

Chiropractic Instrumentation – Terry A. Rondberg, DC

Dr. Terry Rondberg
Terry Rondberg

Chiropractic Instrumentation

Not long ago, the only “instrumentation” chiropractors needed was their own hands. We palpated for subluxations, conducted relatively simple range-of-motion or leg length exams, and detected subluxations and corrected them.  Later, we obtained X-Ray machines that helped verify our visual and manual findings, although we never relied solely on this machine and still remained confident in our sense of touch and sight. That, however, was before outcome measurements, evidence-based practices, reliance on third-party payers, and an appreciation for the science as well as the art and philosophy of chiropractic.

Over the years there have been several developments in instrumentation for chiropractic use: weight scales, postural measuring, galvanic skin response measurements, para-spinal thermal devises etc. Although much of the instrumentation has provided valuable information for Chiropractic, it has been rated as scientifically unacceptable and has given non-reproducible results.

Earlier chiropractic instrumentation was bulky, awkward, and hard to use. I often wonder how many doctors and staff members gave up trying to learn about their new equipment and how much of that equipment is now sitting in a corner. I have seen some classified ads on popular Internet websites.  Here are some of the actual descriptions for sEMG machines on sale:

  • “Brand-new condition; rarely used.”
  • “Unit is like brand new, Less than 2 years old and used only about a dozen times.”
  • “All in great condition, dynamic SEMG never used.”
  • “Great condition — rarely used.”

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“Today, in order to deliver the safest and most effective chiropractic care to our patients, and satisfy the more stringent requirements of the insurance industry, the government, and the courts, we must go beyond just feeling for subluxations.” – Terry A. Rondberg, DC

Thanks to computerized techniques, we now gather a wide range of data for neurological activity, leading to a better understanding of normal/ideal functional levels.  Surface electromyography (sEMG) and para-spinal thermal scans made a huge contribution about 12 to 15 years ago. While these seemed to support the chiropractic position of spinal care and joint mechanics, one must question if this deals with cause?  Furthermore, X-Rays, sEMG and thermal scans offer a static view of a dynamic being.  To base any care on a single static view is questionable. These instruments have served their purpose, which demonstrates the value of objective measurements in replacing the anecdotal foundations of chiropractic. It is better to move towards objective evidence than just sharing our philosophy and telling the chiropractic story.

In addition to sEMG, inclinometry and infrared temperature evaluations, instrumentation provides the ability to perform stress assessments and neurofeedback.  Much of this was developed by doctors of chiropractic Richard Barwell and Ken Vinton; it translates all data into detailed neurological reports that validate and document all clinical findings and guide health care decisions. This equates to the survival of modern chiropractic practice and plays an important role in case of a lawsuit or board complaint. Another reason to choose the NeuroInfiniti Instrumentation is that it is currently the only reliable system that allows field doctors to participate in a global research project that will prove the effects of how correcting vertebral subluxation impacts the autonomic nervous system while proving the real value of chiropractic care. The ultimate goal is to accumulate and analyze objective data from all the doctors who use the NeuroInfiniti to demonstrate the efficacy of chiropractic, to elevate our professions acceptance insure our rightful place in the health care professions.

We need powerful instrumentation that not only aids us in detecting subluxations, but provides an accurate outcome assessment system which correlates the value of what we do. Since chiropractic is the largest natural health care system in the world, we need the highest quality instrumentation. Let’s not settle for less.

We are working with state-of-the-art instrumentation developed for chiropractic that will transform chiropractic offices into the most effective, health care resources ever offered to the public.  A scientific evidence based practice will act as a patient magnet, drawing families into your office so you can provide the finest chiropractic care.

We do not often have the opportunity to revolutionize our offices, dramatically increase our patient volume and revenue, help more people lead healthier lives, and contribute to research validating what DD and BJ represented.  Chiropractic is a fast-moving profession.  Physicians can either join the frontrunners or be left in the dust.  They can either create the practice and the profession of their dreams today or they can continue to do nothing.

About the Author – Terry A. Rondberg, DC.
As CEO of the World Chiropractic Alliance, Dr. Terry Rondberg is the author of myriad, thought-provoking articles in the wellness field. He is the author of several best-selling books on the subject of chiropractic, and is a sought-after speaker at medical events worldwide.