The Bottom Line: Chiropractic care relaxes muscles and reduces pain thresholds.
At Ascent Chiropractic we frequently use chiropractic manipulation to treat patients’ lumbar spine conditions. Many studies have shown that lumbar spine adjustments are one of the most effective treatment options for those suffering with pain in their low back. But how do chiropractic adjustments create these effects?
Recently a research team provided a better understanding of how chiropractic adjustments decrease lumbar pain by looking at symptom-free subjects. The researchers measured chiropractic’s effect on the low back by specifically investigating changes in basal electromyographic activity (abbreviated as BEA) and pressure pain thresholds (PPTs) in study participants who didn’t suffer from back pain symptoms. Many have hypothesized that chiropractic adjustments help decrease lumbalgia by improving muscle tone at rest (monitored via electromyography) and reducing pressure pain levels.
The study, published in the May 2011 edition of JMPT, involved thirty healthy participants without symptoms. Each patient was given either a chiropractic adjustment or a control (sham) treatment. The researchers measured the participants’ BEA and PPT levels both pre and post treatment.
Results showed that patients receiving chiropractic treatments experienced significantly better results in their measured PPT levels compared to the non-treatment group, as well as a significant reduction in BEA (indicative of better muscle relaxation). The researchers stated that the pain-relieving effects experienced after chiropractic care may be due to these mechanisms.
Source: Yu X, Zhang J. Changes in Pressure Pain Thresholds and Basal Electromyographic Activity After Instrument-Assisted Spinal Manipulative Therapy in Asymptomatic Participants: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. JMPT 2012; 35 (6).