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The Benefits Of Spinal Manipulation

The Benefits Of Spinal Manipulation

Every day there are people who suffer with pain on a daily basis without hope of relief. GPs can’t do anything about it except control it with medications or try to stop it with expensive and often even more painful surgeries.

Spinal manipulation can often offer patients an alternative for treatment of back, neck, shoulder and even head pain when traditional therapies have failed.

What is Spinal Manipulation

Spinal Manipulation, also called spinal manipulative therapy, combines the moving and jolting of joints with massage, exercise and physical therapy. The goal of the therapy is to relieve pressure on your joints and muscles to improve nerve function, and reduce pain and inflammation.

Spinal manipulation is usually conducted in a licensed physician’s or a chiropractor’s office and is used to treat back, neck, shoulder and even headache pain. Some chiropractors also believe it can help other disorders such as menstrual pain and sinus problems.

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Does It Work?

There are two camps of people that appear when you discuss the success of spinal manipulation. There are those that swear by it and believe it works and then there are those that believe it is ineffective and dangerous. There are very few studies on spinal manipulation.

In 2007, one study found that spinal manipulation was moderately effective in easing chronic pain in the lower back lasting four or more weeks. Other studies have also shown it effective in treating pain in the neck as well. Still other studies have shown that spinal manipulation may result in mild to moderate adverse effects, though the incidences of these are unknown due to poor reporting.

In the end, your experience will dictate what you think about the treatment should you choose to try it to help relieve your pain.

Is Spinal Manipulation Safe?

When spinal manipulation is performed by a physician that is both trained and licensed to perform the procedures, it is considered safe. But like any treatment, there are risks and the potential for serious complications.

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Some of the most serious complications are herniated disks, compressed nerves, and in some cases it can cause a stroke or even death.

Spinal manipulation is not for everyone. People who have severe osteoporosis, are at risk for stroke, suffer from spinal cancer or have an unstable spine should not undergo spinal manipulative therapy as they are at an even great risk of experiencing potentially dangerous complications.

Because of the dangers associated with the therapy and the lack of proven long term benefits, it remains a controversial therapy today.

The Benefits of Spinal Manipulation

There are many benefits to spinal manipulation that can make it worth a trip to your local chiropractor.

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Pain Relief

The most obvious benefit is relief of pain. Spinal manipulation can almost instantly relieve some or all of your pain you are experiencing in your lower back, back, neck, head and shoulders. Some patients have even reported being pain free in as little as one visit to the chiropractor.

Improve Flexibility

Spinal manipulation can also help you improve your flexibility. If used along with exercise, you can strengthen your core muscles and improve your movement in your back, shoulders and neck. This will give you better flexibility and help you feel better at the same time.

Prevent Surgery

If you have explored all your options to stop your pain and your only alternative is surgery, then you may want to consider spinal manipulation as an alternative before you set foot into an operating room. In some cases, the therapy can reduce or eliminate your symptoms preventing you from having to go under the knife.

Reduce Dependence on Drugs

Finally, using spinal manipulation can help you reduce your dependence on prescription and over the counter pain medication. These medications often dull your mind, harm your internal organs and can even leave you hopelessly addicted to them in the process. All because you were in pain. Spinal manipulation can help you reduce your pain symptoms thereby reducing your need to take those prescription pain pills in the first place. Once you stop taking those pain pills, you will begin to feel better as you wont be in pain or in a fog because of the medication.

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Spinal manipulation is still a controversial treatment but for those of you that are in chronic pain and don’t want to undergo surgery that may or may not even work, it could be the answer to your pain problem. Before undergoing the therapy, however, be sure you talk with your doctor and chiropractor to see if it is right for you in order to minimize the risks associated with the treatment.

Featured photo credit: Alisha Vargas via flickr.com

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on June 20, 2019

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

Conclusion

While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

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