The chiropractic vertebral subluxation hypothesis proposes that a vertebral subluxation results in alterations in nerve activity in respect of that occurring during typical physiological movements or displacements of the vertebral column. We propose to examine the role of the vertebral displacement component of the vertebral subluxation by investigating the influence that displacement of an individual vertebra (C2) has on nerve activity and contrast this with the effects of regional (upper cervical) movement on the same nerves.           •

Experiments will be performed in anaesthetised or decerebrate adult rats.

Electrical recordings will be made from the splanchnic and/or adrenal nerves while simultaneously moving the intact upper cervical region of the vertebral column. These data will be compared with data recorded from the splanchnic and/or adrenal nerves while simultaneously moving or displacing the intact C2 vertebra. During this study we will investigate the relative role of the skin, muscles and intervertebral joints in modulating splachnic and/or adrenal nerve activity during the upper cervical or C2 vertebral movement/displacements. The role of muscle spindle afferents and the effects of the presence of noxious stimuli in the skin, muscles or joints of the upper cervical region will also be examined.

This study will provide original data concerning the role of upper cervical vertebral movement and displacement in the nervous system regulation of visceral organs. Importantly, it will examine if the vertebral displacement component of the chiropractic vertebral subluxation modulates activity in nerves innervating the intestine and adrenal gland. This study may also provide clues as to why some patients presenting to chiropractors with dysfunctions associated with the regulation of visceral organs are occasionally reported to respond well to particular chiropractic strategies used to resolve vertebral subluxations in the neck but not to others.

Grant Value: $8,800
Chief Investigator: Dr Philip Bolton – University of Newcastle
Status: Complete