This is the third and final installment by Continuum Chiropractic in Greenville detailing the more specialized components of our neurostructural chiropractic examination. We started with parts one and two respectively discussing thermography and the autonomic nervous system then sEMG and the somatic nervous system. This post once again discusses the autonomic nervous system, but in a different manner. As previously mentioned, the autonomic nervous system is responsible for everything your body does without you having to think about it. The pulse wave profiler primarily checks your autonomic health by measuring heart rate variability (HRV).
HRV is the regularity of the amount of time between heartbeats. Many people don't realize this, but your heartbeat is not perfectly steady. For instance, if your resting heart rate is 60 bpm, then in one minute, your heart will beat a total of 60 times. However, the exact amount of time between each beat still increases and decreases throughout that entire minute, which is what a HRV test measures. You might expect that a regular heartbeat is better, but in fact the opposite it true-the higher the variability, the better. An individual with a more variable heart rate is better equipped to deal with stresses and internal or external environment changes.
As we stated at the beginning of this post, the Pulse Wave Profiler (PWP) is a test for the autonomic nervous system. This system is often divided into two parts: sympathetic (aka fight or flight) and parasympathetic (aka rest and digest). Not only does a PWP measure HRV, but it also examines the balance between these two components of the autonomic nervous system to see if you are shifted too far in either direction. This test completes the foundation of our initial exam and provides the patient with a baseline COREscore, combining these three tests to give you an overall picture of the current health of your nervous system.
The following images show what a scan of a stressed nervous system could look like. The white dot on the left image shows a patient's PWP. Ideally, that dot would fall in the green circle, indicating both a sufficiently high HRV and a good balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic components of the autonomic nervous system. The image on the right shows instantaneous heart rate (red line) compared to the level of autonomic activity (blue line).
If you have any questions, feel free to contact our Greenville office at (864) 640-4096 or fill out our contact form.