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Cervical spine manipulation alters sensorimotor integration: A somatosensory evoked potential study
Haavik and Murphy
Research Reviewed by Dr. Travis Downs
Summarized Review Conclusions
In the office we teach and preach Hilton’s Law. This research re-iterates that we need to get adjusted for our bodies to be healthy. When you get adjusted it will not only keep the joints healthy, but it helps keep the connection between your brain and your body working at optimal levels. The better the connection from our brain to our body, the greater increase in function and we will see and less symptoms. This research was done on patients that didn’t have any pain which means that once we get out of pain from getting adjusted, we need to maintain getting adjusted or the pain will eventually come back. Make sure you get adjusted and keep getting adjusted not just to get out of pain, but to keep your body and brain healthy. Below you will find direct quotes of the referenced article along with my synopses of the research query, methodology and findings including references used by the research authors.
“This study suggests that cervical spine manipulation may alter cortical somatosensory processing and sensorimotor integration. These findings may help to elucidate the mechanisms responsible for the effective relief of pain and restoration of functional ability documented following spinal manipulation treatment.”
“The observations in the present study suggest that spinal manipulation of dysfunctional joints may modify transmission in neuronal circuitries not only at a spinal level as indicated by previous research, but at a cortical level, and possibly also deeper brain structures such as the basal ganglia.”
“Spinal manipulation of dysfunctional cervical joints can lead to transient cortical plastic changes, as demonstrated by attenuation of cortical somatosensory evoked responses.”
“The high velocity [thrust] type of manipulation was chosen specifically since previous research has shown that reflex EMG activation observed following manipulation only occurred following high-velocity low amplitude [thrust] manipulations (as compared to lower velocity mobilizations) and would therefore be more likely to alter afferent input to the CNS and lead to measurable SEP changes.”
Introduction to the Research
This is another research article that proves that chiropractic is the gold standard when it comes to spinal care. When we have a joint that isn’t moving properly it doesn’t communicate to the brain correctly. With miscommunication the brain can’t control the joint, ligaments, muscles, blood flow, and nerve flow properly. This leads to compensation and eventually pain. So, the more motion we have through our spinal joints the stronger the connection and the healthier we will be.
This research was not only done on asymptomatic patients, but it also compares the chiropractic adjustment to mobilization (this is moving a joint in a slower more passive motion). When we receive a chiropractic adjustment, it creates a high velocity and low amplitude thrust through the joint to create proprioception (a positive signal to the brain). When this happens, we decrease pain, inflammation, and restore sensorimotor cortex function that does not happen with mobilizations. This is important because it shows/proves that we need to maintain getting our chiropractic adjustments to stay healthy and stay out of pain.
Twelve subjects with a history of reoccurring neck stiffness and/or neck pain, but no acute symptoms at the time of the study were invited to participate in the study. An additional twelve subjects participated in a passive head movement control experiment. Spinal (N11, N13) brainstem (P14) and cortical (N20, N30) SEPs to median nerve stimulation were recorded before and for 30min after a single session of cervical spine manipulation, or passive head movement.
There was a significant decrease in the amplitude of parietal N20 and frontal N30 SEP components following the single session of cervical spine manipulation compared to pre-manipulation baseline values. These changes lasted on average 20min following the manipulation intervention. No changes were observed in the passive head movement control condition.
Spinal manipulation of dysfunctional cervical joints can lead to transient cortical plastic changes, as demonstrated by attenuation of cortical somatosensory evoked responses.
As always with these reviews, these are my takeaways from the article and I encourage you to read the article in its entirety. The references used in this article by the authors of this article are listed here.