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  • Writer's pictureKristen

Chiropractic and Muscle function

The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published the results of a study on March 23, 2020, documenting improvement of motor muscular function as measured in grip strength of patients receiving chiropractic adjustments. Muscular function is essential for mobility and a good quality of life. We know based on other research that when a nerve cannot communicate proper operations to the muscle then the muscle is going to start to tighten up, not move properly and eventually reach constant irritability with spasms. This is why some nerve damages that are relieved by realignment still take time through a muscular focus (massage/stretching) to get back to normal function.

The study begins by noting why most people seek chiropractic care. "Most people who visit a chiropractor complain of some form of discomfort, very commonly in the neck and lower back. Chiropractic adjustments have long been known to be a popular choice in helping to alleviate these discomforts. To date, numerous studies have suggested that other than symptomatic relief, chiropractic care can improve muscular strength."

One way of testing a specific aspect of muscular strength is by testing grip strength measured using a hand dynamometer. To use this instrument, the patient grasps the unit and squeezes it as hard as they can with one hand. The amount of pressure is recorded on the instrument thus showing the grip strength.

In this study, 100 volunteer chiropractic patients had their grip strength tested for both hands immediately prior to, and again after, specific chiropractic adjustments. The adjustments were given to correct subluxations that had been detected in the patients' spines with the purpose of reducing or removing nerve system interference. Any recorded differences in grip strength before the adjustment, and then immediately after the chiropractic adjustment would show how the adjustment affected nerve function and muscular strength.

The results of the study showed that all but two patients had some degree of grip strength increase with 95% of the 100 patients having at least a 5% increase. The results showed that most of the patients had a far higher increase in grip strength. Of the 100 patients tested, 19 patients showed a 6-10% increase, 31 showed an 11-15% increase, 13 showed a 21-25% increase and 7 patients showed an increased grip strength greater than 40%.

In the discussion section, the author noted that "Chiropractic has been considered to be an effective and safe therapy for musculoskeletal disorders with significant results in both short and long term. It is comparatively safe when performed on patients without contraindications." Correction of subluxations has been shown to have a positive effect on nerve system function and resulting muscular function and strength. In the study's conclusion the author explained, "The correction of the vertebral subluxation can stimulate the corresponding spinal nerve roots responsible for grip strength."

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