April 5, 2014 by
Filed under: Case of the month, Cases, Spinewave Bulletin, Symptoms 

sickness chiropractic immuneResolution of life-long chronic illness in a 48-year old male following 1 year of chiropractic care.

Patient presented with frequent illness, vertigo, nausea, dry left eye, atrial fibrillation, gravelly voice, wheezing, anxiety, stomach cramps and reflux for ±15 years.

He is now training for marathons.

There is nothing more rewarding than science applied to real life and miracles becoming expected clinical outcomes.

Neuroimmunology studies the interaction between the nervous system and the immune system. Traditionally, it has been thought that the immune system is only controlled by hormones and cell proteins called cytokines.

A new understanding is that the brain directly influences the immune system by sending messages down nerve cells.

Networks of nerve fibres connect to the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes and bone marrow. Experiments show that immunity can be altered by changes in brain function.

neuroimmune neurotransmitters dendritic cells

Signals from the brain, called neurotransmitters, communicate to dendritic cells to recruit the best T cell for a foreign invader. Neurotransmitters come from other sources too, like the gut, which is why gut problems compound illness. The brain can also influence the immune system through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (stress) axis, suppressing immunity. Disruption of these complex interactions between the nervous system and immune system, altering release of neurotransmitters, contributes to inflammation and sickness1.

Lymph organs responsible for protecting us, such as bone marrow, thymus, spleen and lymph nodes are supplied with nerves from the autonomic nervous system (the automatic part). Stress can change the way the autonomic nervous system works, suppressing the immune system and disrupting lymphocyte function2.

nerve-driven immunity autonomic

heart rate variability immune function chiropracticThe effects of regular chiropractic care on the autonomic nervous system are measured by heart rate variability, the balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic activity. Over time, specific adjustments to the spine change the way the nervous system works, improving the body’s resilience to stress. This translates into more coherent heart rate rhythms (click image to enlarge) and a healthier immune system. Health cannot be achieved through chemical manipulation alone; the body requires well-working, nerve-driven immunity

After deciding to pull the plug on my full time job 12 years ago and start up my own business from home, one thought crossed my mind as I left the office for the last time: great, I’ll be free from all those flu’s and colds that forever haunted our busy open plan office environment. But no. Turns out I was very wrong.

Over the years my immune system seemed to continually deteriorate.

The sore throats, runny nose, high temperatures, always feeling cold and waking with regular headaches were becoming commonplace. If a bug was going around it always seemed to latch onto me.

It even came to the point where, on occasion, a simple supermarket shop or an evening at the movies would result in coming down with the flu. My digestive system and gut would simultaneously play up, which turned my eating patterns upside down. Sometimes the stomach pains were so bad that during a work day I would have to down tools and lie on the bed for a while in order for the pains to die down.

These symptoms were becoming a constant pain in my life, and the most annoying thing was that after several doctor visits each year the problems would always return after a short while. One doctor even said that “it’s to be expected to experience an annual virus and there’s nothing much I can do for you”.

So after much thought and recommendations from friends and family I thought I’d give Spinewave a try. After the initial consultation with Neil, he came up with a plan over several months. As well as chiropractic care, Neil gave advice on lifestyle and specific supplements to assist in the overall treatment.

As a result I’ve been the best, and felt the best, in years.

I now feel perkier and have confidence being around large gatherings of people and staying well. Best of all, while in the company of my partner and daughter who caught a bad virus this winter, and many business consultants who have either been ill or feeling under the weather, I haven’t contracted their illness. I also found that my digestion and gut problems have improved immensely from the bad state that they were in this time last year. Fantastic! This all equates to more unobstructed time for me to get out exercising and concentrate on my business. I am now running and cycling regularly.

Overall my experience at Spinewave has been interesting, enjoyable, warm and rewarding. Keep up the good work Neil and Pip.


© Spinewave 2014


  1. Franco, R. et al. The emergence of neurotransmitters as immune modulators. Trends in Immunology. 2007. 28(9): 400-407.
  2. Mignini, F. et al. Autonomic innervation of immune organs and neuroimmune modulation. Autonomic and Autacoid Pharmacology. 2003. 23(1): 1-25.
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