Previous work demonstrates that spinal manipulation leads to neural plastic changes in subjects with spinal dysfunction and subclinical neck pain (SCNP). The definition of SCNP is recurring neck dysfunction such as stiffness and pain for which the patients have not yet sought treatment. A limitation of previous studies is that they applied simple repetitive movement sequences, measuring the effects of repetitive motor movements rather than motor skill acquisition. If the presence of SCNP affects the way the central nervous system (CNS) responds when learning upper limb motor tasks it could have important implications for the relationship between SCNP and the development of overuse injuries. This study sought to investigate the immediate effects of spinal manipulation on CNS processing in a group with SCNP following a motor skill acquisition task.

Methods: Peripheral (N9), spinal (N13), brainstem (P14, N18) and cortical (N20 and N30) somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP) were recorded following median nerve stimulation before and after passive head movement (PHM), or cervical spinal manipulation (SM). The study was a between-group experimental design, where SEPS were collected before SM or PHM, following SM or PHM, and following a complex motor task. Twenty one individuals participated in the study, eleven (mean age 22.2) in the PHM group and twelve (mean age 22.4) in the SM group. All participants consented to treatment by a licensed chiropractor and the study received approval by the ethical committee at the University of Ontario, Institute of Technology. Data was analyzed in SPSS as a mixed design split-plot repeated measures ANOVA with 3 levels; pre-intervention, post-intervention and post-motor training, and 2 groups; PHM and SM. Post hoc comparisons were done with paired 2 samples t tests were also performed as needed. Results: There was a significant main effect of the repeated measures ANOVA [F2,38 = 12.87, P b .001] as well as an interaction between group and repeated measure [F2,38 = 4.38, P = .02] for the N30 SEP peak. Post hoc analysis revealed a significant 12.1% increase (P = .05) in the N30 SEP peak amplitude post SM and an 18.01% increase (P = .02) for the same peak following the subsequent motor training. There was a 47.63% increase in the N30 peak following motor training in the PHM group (P = .04). There were no other significant findings for any of the other SEP peaks.

Conclusion: These preliminary results have shown an increase in cortical SEP amplitudes following a cervical spine manipulation intervention in subclinical neck pain participants. The changes occurred for a SEP peak known to be involved in early sensorimotor integration. The results also suggest that a complex motor training task induces changes in neural processing, supporting previous work. That the N30 SEP peak amplitude increase was attenuated following motor learning when preceded by spinal manipulation (compared to what occurred after PHM) provides evidence that SM has the potential to normalise the afferent processing that takes place during early motor learning in a SCNP population.

Grant Value: $45,550
Chief Investigator: Dr Heidi Haavik – New Zealand College of Chiropractic
Status: Completed

Posters:

 Presentations:

  • Swedish Chiropractic Association’s Annual General Meeting October 2012. Stockholm, Sweden
    Haavik H. The Science of Adjusting Subluxations. Keynote speaker
  • New Zealand College of Chiropractic Lyceum September 2012. Auckland, New Zealand
    Haavik H. Communicating the Science of Chiropractic. Invited speaker
  • Chiropractic Association of Australia August 2012. South Australia, Australia
    Haavik H. The science of adjusting subluxations. Keynote speaker
  • World Congress of Chiropractic Students inaugural United States regional congress May 2012. San Francisco, USA
    Haavik H. The neurophysiology of chiropractic. Invited speaker
  • ‘Spring for Life’ Life West Chiropractic College May 2012. San Francisco, USA
    Haavik H. Zap into life with real Chiropractic science. Invited speaker
  • Scottish Chiropractic Association April 2012. Edinburgh, Scotland
    Haavik H. The Science of Adjusting Subluxations. Keynote speaker
  • Norwegian Chiropractors Association April 2012. Oslo, Norway
    Haavik H. Forsknings oppdatering fra New Zealand (Research update from New Zealand). Invited speaker
  • Chiropractic Association of Australia’s National Development Forum October 2011. Hobart, Australia
    Haavik H. How to effectively include science in your chiropractic toolbox (four 1 ½ hour sessions). The keynote speaker
  • Chiropractic Association of Australia’s National Development Forum October 2011. Hobart, Australia
    Haavik H. Research update from NZ!
  • LifeSource Octagon Conference Event April 2011. Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Haavik H. Understanding research efforts and Subluxation. Invited speaker Contemporary Scientific Paradigms; A new model for Subluxation.
  • Chiropractic Association of Australia Victoria April 2011. Melbourne, Australia
    Haavik H. Inspiring Change. Keynote speaker Inspiring Change Conference.
  • World Congress of Chiropractic Students Conference April 2011. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Haavik H. The science of chiropractic.
  • Chiropractic Association of Australia’s National Development Forum October 2010. Cairns, Australia
    Haavik, H. Exploring the Neuromodulatory Effects of the Vertebral Subluxation and Chiropractic Care. Keynote speaker
  • Chiropractic Association of Australia’s National Development Forum October 2010. Cairns, Australia
    Haavik, H. Effects of manipulation on cortical function. Invited Research Presentation
  • Macquarie University Chiropractic Alumni annual research seminar August 2010. Sydney, Australia
    Haavik Taylor, H. Current & Future Directions for Chiropractic Research in Australasia. Invited speaker.
  • Chiropractic Association of Australia – South Australia Annual General Meeting August 2010. Adelaide, Australia
    Haavik, H. Believe it or not…….Chiropractic changes brain function. Keynote Speaker