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Glucose Metabolic Changes in the Brain and Muscles of Patients with Nonspecific Neck Pain Treated by Spinal Manipulation Therapy:

A [18F] FDG PET Study {a radioactive glucose PET scan study}. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2017

The study has four important findings:

• The brain is affected by chiropractic adjusting

• Chiropractic adjusting inhibits pain

• Chiropractic adjusting inhibits muscle tone, improving ranges of motion

• Chiropractic adjusting inhibits sympathetic tone, a key influence on immunity and other factors in systemic wellness

 

PET (positron emission tomography) scan is a powerful neuroimaging technique to investigate neuronal activity in the human brain and muscles.

18F-labeled fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is a radioactive analogue of glucose, and is an excellent imaging marker of brain glucose consumption (brain metabolic activity).

A PET scan can visualize brain metabolic changes induced by spinal manipulative therapy (SMT). The aim of this study was to investigate changes in brain and muscle glucose metabolism using positron emission tomography with fluorodeoxyglucose.

Twenty-one male volunteers were recruited for the present study. Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) was applied using an Activator in accordance with the Activator Methods protocols. The Activator applied impulses to specific vertebrae or joints. “SMT was performed on the subject in a prone position without movements such as cervical rotation, lateral flexion, and extension, in order to prevent the muscular FDG uptake due to muscle contractions during the therapeutic procedure. SMT was carried out on the whole spine, the scapulae, the ilium, and the sacrum, as necessary for each subject. The mean number of SMT adjusted sites was 8 per subject.”

Glucose metabolism of the brain and skeletal muscles was measured. Also measured was salivary amylase levels as an index of autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity, muscle tension, and subjective pain intensity. “Other measurements indicated relaxation of cervical muscle tension, decrease in salivary amylase level (suppression of sympathetic nerve activity), and pain relief after SMT.” “SMT on all subjects was performed by the same Chiropractor, who was an advanced practitioner of Activator Methods.”

KEY POINTS FROM THIS STUDY

1) Spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) has “been applied mainly to musculoskeletal problems such as neck pain or low back pain.”

2) Previous studies have shown that “SMT has beneficial clinical effects, including pain relief and reduction of blood pressure.”

3) “The intensity of subjective pain was evaluated using a 0–10 visual analog scale (VAS) before and after SMT in the treatment condition.”

4) “Cervical muscle tension was measured bilaterally at the superior part of the trapezius muscle using a tissue hardness meter.”

5) “Salivary amylase levels were measured for each subject using an amylase monitor to evaluate changes in autonomic nervous system (ANS) function.”

6) “Salivary 

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