A Specific Spinal Adjustment is the Latest Development in the Science of Treating Drug Addiction

Triple board certified neurologist Dr. Russell Surasky is pioneering this procedure at a New York Based Treatment Center.

A chiropractic college and a long-established outpatient addiction treatment program have entered a unique partnership to offer spinal adjustments for reducing pain and improving brain/nervous system function in patients recovering from drug and alcohol dependency – an approach some experts are calling a “major leap forward” in the science of addictive care, says neurologist and addiction medicine specialist Dr. Russell Surasky, FAAN ABAM ABPM.

The pioneering agreement between New York Chiropractic College and the multi-center, New York-based Bridge Back to Life will provide a specific form of spinal adjustments in addition to cutting edge medications to help their patients heal from addiction. “Clinical research findings have shown that patients in treatment from addiction who receive certain types of spinal adjustments have higher rates of recovery than those who undergo only standard addiction therapies” says Dr. Russell Surasky, who serves as medical director of Bridge Back to Life.

Additionally, Dr. Surasky has his own private practice, Surasky Neurological Center for Addiction, in Great Neck, New York. He is triple board-certified in neurology, addiction medicine and preventive medicine – the only physician in the nation with this combination of credentials.

“I truly believe that this agreement with the College will serve as a national model for drug rehabilitation centers throughout the country,” Dr. Surasky concludes. “Not only can spinal adjustments reduce the chronic pain issues that may have led patients into drug addiction in the first place, but now we also have evidence that spinal adjustments actually accelerates the healing of the brain from addiction.”

Dr. Surasky refers specifically to a study, published in the prestigious journal Nature, which shows that chemically dependent patients who received specific spinal adjustments as part of their treatment in recovery reported “less drug cravings and fewer mental health symptoms,” Dr. Surasky notes. “Most significantly, 100 percent of the study patients who received chiropractic care completed the inpatient program, while about half of those who did not receive spinal adjustments dropped out prior to completion.”

One of the most important indicators for a patient’s success in recovery is the ability to remain in treatment, Dr. Surasky emphasizes. “A 100% retention rate in an addiction treatment program is, frankly, unprecedented.”

The neurological pathways involved in addiction are complex and still not completely understood, but research and clinical experience indicate that it is the brains limbic system which becomes hijacked by drugs such as opiates and alcohol. The limbic system is an area of the brain that is located near the brainstem but also extends into the upper cervical spine. “The limbic system has widespread connections throughout the brain and is the most powerful driver of human behavior. The limbic system of the brain is precisely the region that gets hijacked by drugs of abuse, thereby perpetuating patients’ cravings to keep using these drugs,” Dr. Surasky explains.


The atlas bone (C1) at the top of the neck is what protects the limbic system and brain stem. When this Atlas bone of the neck is out of alignment it can have far reaching effects on the function of the brain and its limbic system. Safe, painless adjustments to the upper cervical spinal bones can help normalize the brain’s limbic system.

According to Dr. Surasky “Cutting Edge Research done by Dr. Raymond Damadian (inventor of the MRI machine) has show that misalignments at the top of the neck cause disruptions in the flow of cerebrospinal fluid.” The brain is bathed in cerebrospinal fluid (csf) and the brain depends on CSF to carry away the iron deposition that builds up from normal brain metabolism. If a misalignment exists at the junction between the Atlas bone (C1) and the skull this could hinder the drainage of CSF. Researchers have hypothesized that not only can an upper spinal adjustment help patients suffering with addiction but that it may also help prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease”.

Mounting evidence that “gentle specific spinal adjustments of the upper cervical spine” can help reset and restore normal function to the brain is what prompted Dr. Surasky and his Bridge Back to Life team to seek a partnership with New York Chiropractic College. Dr. Surasky also credits Bridge Back to Life owner Gary Butchen LCSW for “his vision in helping make this collaboration with the college happen. Thanks to Mr. Butchen’s willingness to move forward with the agreement, countless more patients will be helped.”

Under terms of the partnership, New York Chiropractic College doctors and students in clinical training will evaluate and treat Bridge Back to Life patients undergoing addiction therapy.

Bio: Dr. Russell Surasky is triple board certified in neurology, addiction medicine and preventative Medicine and the founder of the Surasky Neurological Center for Addiction in Great Neck New York. He is the medical director for Bride Back to Life and a national speaker for Alkermes, the manufacturer of Vivitrol. Additionally, he educates physicians and the New York criminal justice system about addiction and these new advancements in treatment. Dr. Surasky is currently the only neurologist in the U.S. who is trained to perform upper cervical spinal adjustments. http://www.drsurasky.com

Dr. Russell Surasky

Spinal adjustments for reducing pain and improving brain/nervous system function in patients recovering from drug and alcohol dependency.