A new study published in the journal Experiment Brain Research has shown that a full­spine chiropractic adjustment can increase the test subjects' ability to increase electrical activity in their contracting leg muscles by almost 60%. In the study, this translated to a 16% in absolute force generated. Also shown was a 45% increase in the ability of the brain to activate the particular muscle being tested.

A collaboration between the New Zealand College of Chiropractic's Centre for Chiropractic Research and neurophysiologist Professor Kemal Turker, “this study is the first to indicate that chiropractic adjustments of the spine can actually induce significant changes in the net excitability for the low­threshold motor units. The results of the study also indicate that spinal adjustments can prevent fatigue”, according to Dr. Haavik, Director of Research at the NZCC.

So what does this mean for us? This study has initially shown fascinating results that could have huge ramifications to various populations in society. Who needs their muscles firing more efficiently and powerfully? Athletes, for starters. The ability to gain a 16% increase in absolute force from a muscle cannot be achieved with most training regimens in less than several weeks, at best. At the higher end of the athletic spectrum, marginal gains are frequently sought after to give any edge over their competitors. A marginal gain is typically considered 1%. Imagine 16 times that in one chiropractic session!!

Another population to consider are those individuals who are either injured and forced to rehabilitate, or suffer from a muscle degrading dysfunction, such as a stroke. By increasing the ability of the brain to activate targeted muscles, you increase the efficiency of the rehabilitative
efforts. This study has shown a 45% increase in that area, so that should translate to decreased time at the physical therapists' office, and more time living an active lifestyle.

Cautions: While this research study is very exciting, it must be mentioned that it is newly completed, and has not had time to be subjected to follow­up studies. However, where there is smoke, there is typically fire. Even if some of the numbers do not hold up to repeat studies over time, there is certainly compelling evidence that chiropractic adjustments can benefit muscle function. It goes with the idea I've used as the basis of my practice for over ten years: The body works better when it is working the way it is supposed to.

I will keep my attention focused on future studies of this subject, and am excited for the possibilities of what they might reveal. In the meantime, there are other performance and healing benefits that are associated with chiropractic care. Do not hesitate to contact ESSM to learn more about the benefits, and to take advantage for yourself!!

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