What is Heart Rate Variability?
Heart rate variability
HRV is simply a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat. When at rest, a healthy heart speeds up as you inhale, and slows down as you exhale. These moment-to-moment changes between heart beats are a telling measurement of nervous system health in terms of physical, emotional and mental function. This is controlled by our autonomic nervous system (ANS), located in the brain stem. The upper cervical spine surrounds the lower portion of the brain stem. The ANS regulates our heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and digestion. Analysing HRV offers us a view into how the ANS is being regulated. If an individual's system is more stressed/sympathetic, then the HRV tends to be lower whereas in a more relaxed state HRV may be higher. Studies show high HRV is associated with better recovery following exertion, higher resilience to psychophysiological disorders, as well as positive feelings and outlook on life. Stress, especially when prolonged, decreases heart rate variability.
Signs of low heart rate variability:
- Heart problems: Conditions such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, ventricular arrhythmia and heart failure. Low HRV has been associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, and even sudden cardiac death following a heart attack.
- Psychological problems: Changes in ANS function have been observed in a variety of psychological disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is also common in depression and anxiety disorders and HRV is now being used as a biomarker in the clinical setting as an objective measuring tool.
- Nutrition: Alcohol has been shown to potentially decrease HRV for up to five days. Poor diet and nutrition have also been shown to decrease HRV, as does eating at irregular times.
When Chiropractic was first founded, the primary focus was on the function of the nervous system. Using modern advancements in technology and objective measures is the only way to demonstrate that specific chiropractic care has an effect on neurophysiology.
If there is pressure on the nervous system because of a misalignment in the upper cervical spine, it reduces our body's ability to adapt to stress and can eventually lead to the development of neurological symptoms if left unchecked and lead to a decrease in HRV. Low HRV can and will compromise health.
- HRV and Symptoms improve with Chiropractic Care -https://www.naturalwaychiro.org/heart-rate-variability-and-symptoms-improved-with-chiropractic/
At Top Chiropractic, as part of our specific neurological analysis, we are now using NeuroInfiniti, a state of the art neurophysiological instrument to measure people's HRV as an objective outcome measure to monitor the effects upper cervical are on HRV. The instrumentation measures, at the highest level, your brain's ability to adapt to and recover from physical or mental stress. We can therefore use the NeuroInfiniti HRV monitor to augment the power of the adjustment to facilitate improved neurological function in the body, improve the body's ability to adapt to stress, both physical and mental and increase peak performance.
As this is a new instrument that will be implemented in the clinic, more information will be released to demonstrate its function and effectiveness.
We express our lives through our nervous system so it is of utmost importance to ensure it is working optimally, free from any interference. If this is something that may be a concern or would like to have an edge over the competition, please contact the team at Top Chiropractic to discuss your case further.