The New Zealand College of Chiropractic’s Centre for Chiropractic Research has recently published a study in the Journal of Experimental Brain Research which demonstrates that following a full spine chiropractic adjustment session there was an increase in the subjects’ ability to contract one of their leg muscles.
The study shows an increase in muscle electrical activity readings of almost 60% and a 16% increase in absolute force measures. There was also a 45% increase in the ‘drive’ from the brain to the muscle (the degree to which the brain can activate that particular muscle) and a small, but significant, shift in the H reflex curve (a neurophysiological measure of spinal cord excitability).
Dr Heidi Haavik, chiropractor and Director of Research at the NZCC says: `This study is the first to indicate that chiropractic adjustments of the spine can actually induce significant changes in the net excitability for the low-threshold motor units. The results of the study also indicate that spinal adjustments can prevent fatigue, so we recommend chiropractic care to be a part of medical treatment for patients that have lost tonus of their muscles or are recovering from muscle degrading dysfunction such as with stroke or orthopaedic operations.
`The results suggest that the improvements in maximum voluntary contractions following the chiropractic adjustment session are likely attributed to the increased descending drive (i.e. from the brain) and/or modulation in afferent input. These results may also be of interest to sports performers and we have recommended a similar study be conducted in a sports population.’
This work provides further evidence of the capacity of chiropractic care to address aspects of sensorimotor integration. The New Zealand College of Chiropractic’s Centre for Chiropractic Research is at the forefront of this ground-breaking neurophysiological research and is achieving these results faster due to the new Spinal Research Partnership Scheme.
The study was funded by a recent grant partnership between Spinal Research (formerly Australian Spinal Research Foundation), The New Zealand Hamblin Trust and the New Zealand College of Chiropractic. The study involved a collaboration between the Centre for Chiropractic Research and a world-renowned neurophysiologist, Professor Kemal Türker, from the School of Medicine at Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey.
What this means to me
I get to see the powerful effects of chiropractic adjustments on a daily basis in practice. I am continually amazed with the results. It is great that research is coming out that backs up what we have seen for years. It is even better that this research is coming out of NZ. We are the front runners for chiropractic research.
A 16% increase in force measurements in a muscle after an adjustment is massive. What sportsman wouldn’t want a possible 16% increase in force? I imagine in a lot of sports, a 1-2% change could be the difference between winning and losing! Also if you are recovering from an injury or surgery and have muscle weakness, this increase in force could definitely help your recovery.
The new research shows that chiropractic care is more than just freeing up a stuck joint, chiropractic care can change the whole body! I look forward to reading the new research that will come out further showing the benefits of chiropractic care.
Niazi IK, Türker KS, Flavel S, Kinget M, Duehr J & Haavik H. (2015) Changes in H-reflex and V waves following spinal manipulation. Experimental Brain Research. In press. DOI: 10.1007/s00221-014-4193-5