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Spinal Fluid Flow

MRI Videos of Spinal Fluid Flow that is impacted with Neck Postures


When learning about the spine and how the body functions at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto I didn’t understand from the text books how quickly the fluid in the spinal cord (Cerebral Spinal Fluid – CSF) moves.

I understood that the CSF was important for supplying nutrients/removing toxins from the brain and spinal cord and for protecting the cord from mechanical as well as chemical forces.  But I was missing a visual to understand its full functional impact on the health of the brain.

What I was missing was a visual:

Visual: The following two videos show standing functional MRI studies of a normal neck and a neck with a “blockage” created by poor posturalstrain on the neck and spinal cord.

(The front of the face is on the left. The back of the head is on the right. The brain is in the center with the spinal cord going down. The CSF is the black on the screen that is moving. The static is just background noise. )

Normal Neck with good flow of CSFNormal Neck with good flow of CSF. The fluid moves up and down smoothly in this case.
Blockage in neck with poor CSF flowBlockage in neck with poor CSF flow. The CSF fluid doesn’t make it past the mechanical blockage in the neck highlighted with the black arrow and “pounds” in the back of the head.


What did I learn as a Chiropractor from these MRI videos of the spinal cord, brain, and neck?

When I saw these functional MRI “videos”, a lot of clinical experiences made so much more sense to me. The experience that comes to mind is a pounding headache or migraine. Most people don’t make the connection of their headache or migraine pain to their neck and postures. But take one look at these videos and you can see the impact that a blockage in the neck has on the brain.  Constant physical pressure on the flow of the cerebral spinal fluid will greatly impact the health of the brain!

Through Chiropractic care, adjustments can be specifically given to the spine in order to unblock the neck. In doing so the pressure comes off the spinal cord and allows the CSF fluid to flow fluidly!

An analogy to show how the flow of fluid impacts the function of the brain and spinal cord


An early way to describe how Chiropractic treatment was helping a body was to use a garden hose as an analogy. When the hose is pinched, the water coming through it is slowed. The same goes for the spine with respect to the flow of CSF.

Also realize that I mention postural blockage in my description of the second video. These postural blockages, which in Chiropractic are called vertebral subluxations, can be induced by injuries, bad habits, sitting postures, and more.

A complete Chiropractic exam will help you identify any postural blockages that may be occurring in your spine. If any blockages are found, it is a good idea to correct them and keep them from returning!

Will I have pain in my neck if I have a postural blockage like the one seen in the video?

Sometimes, but not always.

Pain in the neck or pain in the back CAN be a warning sign that a blockage is occurring. Many people try to ignore or numb the pain associated with the spinal cord pressure by taking pain killers. The drug may make it hurt less, but it won’t move the bones.

But with today’s life we are so busy and focused that we usually don’t realize a health problem building up before it is too late.  A good example is a person who has a heart attack.  They usually feel okay before the heart attack – but they were in bad shape leading up to it.  The same goes for these postural blockages in your neck and spine.

That’s why it is imperative to have a complete Chiropractic checkup.

Where are these neck and spine videos from?

The videos are from a website that also discusses further implications of the long term consequences of a decrease in CSF flow and mechanical pressure on the spinal cord in the neck. Just imagine what would happen if the garden hose you were trusting to water your garden was pinched / twisted… your garden would not flourish without the proper water supply regardless of how often you fertilized the plants with chemicals. Now realize that a similar problem can be happening to your body and brain with the mechanical pressure occurring in your spine.

I hope this has helped you visualize the flow and blockage of the cerebral spinal fluid throughout the spine and how it can impact headaches and your health.  Read more about this topic just below!

If you want to stop having headaches and to grow your brain by positively impacting your spinal fluid flow – connect with a chiropractor and read more about postures here.


Dr. Callum Peever – Caledonia Chiropractor

Lymphatic Drainage of the Brain: Implications for Chiropractic

This is a 2017 research hypothesis paper by Dr. Amy Haas that is quite interesting and connects to very exciting research.  Read my favourite excerpts from the paper and ask questions.
-Dr. Callum Peever – Chiropractor in Caledonia

The paper is titled:

Lymphatic Drainage of the Brain: Implications for Chiropractic

“Recently, researchers at the University of Virginia offered evidence that overturned the long-held assumption that the brain lacks a direct connection to the lymphatic system. In their 2015 Nature publication “Structural and Functional Features of Central Nervous System Lymphatic Vessels“”

“These lymphatic channels appear to link the also recently characterized glymphatic system, which conducts cerebrospinal fluid through deep brain tissue and removes cellular waste products, to the body’s venous circulation.”

“This is a groundbreaking finding, because for so many years scientists maintained that the brain was isolated from the lymphatic and/or immune system. Louveau’s new discovery may serve to reminds us that even after centuries of studying the body, fresh knowledge continues to come forth that both supports chiropractic ideas and causes us to re-write anatomy textbooks.”

“The identification of a new lymphatic drainage system changes our understanding of how the brain clears out metabolic waste products, and also opens new doors for our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases.”

“Louveau’s discovery of a lymphatic drainage pathway within the cranial vault suggests a new plausible biological mechanism by which the chiropractic adjustment yields the results that many chiropractors have observed during the birth and development of our profession. If subluxation of the upper cervical spine impedes intracranial fluid dynamics, varying degrees of congestion of the brain’s lymphatic system may result. In turn, effective clearance of metabolic waste products from deep brain tissue may not proceed at a normal rate (via both decreased physical fluid movement, and by decreased migration or activity of cellular debris-clearing lymphocytes within the lymphatic channels). Over a longer course of time, this may result in alteration of the neurochemical environment within the brain, disturbing the clarity, coherence, or quality of nervous system information transfer. To give a concrete example of this hypothesis, consider that recent FONAR MRI evidence suggests that abnormal CSF dynamics and abnormal configuration of the upper cervical spine may be involved in the genesis of multiple sclerosis (MS).  Consistent with this possibility, chiropractic care has been shown to reduce symptoms and progression of MS and Parkinson’s Disease in more than 90% of a patients under IUCCA care for subluxations in the upper cervical spine.”