Research of the Day – Nov 10, 2012 – Chiropractic, Performance-enhancing ______

Hey Folks!

So, due to popular demand, I’m back to calling it the Research of the Day. It’s a little late as I was in a seminar from 9-6 today, so I apologize, but I’m not really very sorry at all. Also… I couldnt’ think of a snappier title for todays’ research.

Todays article:

Effect of cervical spine manipulative therapy on judo athletes’ grip strength.

What they did:

  • 18 national level Judo athletes in Brazil who had never had chiropractic care before volunteered to get either actual adjustments or sham adjustments for a minimum of 3 visits, with a minimum of a day and a half between visits.
  • They received either a real adjustment (diversified, better known as manual chiropractic adjustments… the ones where we use our hands and you sometimes hear the “popping” or “cracking”) of sham adjustment (set up on a drop table that the chiropractor directed their thrust into – this table moves and makes a semi-loud noise, which could “trick” an athlete into believing they received an actual adjustment)
  • Then, they assumed a typical judo stance – elbows at their side with 90º of elboy flexion and slight forearm internal rotation and they tested their maximal grip strength using a fancy apparatus you squeeze as hard as you can.
  • They did it 3 times per hand and averaged it over all of the visits.

What happened:

  • Those athletes who received real adjustments had significantly stronger grip strength readings than those who received the sham adjustments
  • The real adjustments group also improved their grip strength progressively (with each visit it improved over the last)

What does it mean:

  • It means a lot of things. I means these athletes didn’t have neck pain and so had their necks adjusted – They were part of a study. I’m sure they weren’t upset that their grip strength improved though!
  • It reveals there is a lot more going on during an adjustment than reciprocal inhibition of muscle spasm and therefore a decrease in the perception of pain.
  • Their spines were moving better. The proprioception signals coming from their spines were no longer limited, which means inappropriate nociception was decreased to the brain. Meaning more accurate information available for the hand and its’ ability to squeeze something as hard as possible.

My comments:

  • It isn’t always easy to find articles dealing with Chiropractic and its’ effects on performance enhancement. Finding areas of the spine that could be moving better, then making them move better with the ultimate goal of improving FUNCTION and not PAIN or other SYMPTOMS is a much better paradigm to treat from. Besides… who JUST wants to be out of pain… I’d much rather improve performance.

Stay healthy my friends!

Dr. Adam Ball