Chiropractic and Reaction Time
This headline comes from a March 13, 2019, article published by the Australian Spinal Research Foundation. The article reviews recent research showing that reaction times are improved for healthy individuals under chiropractic care. The article also reviewed previous research that also supports quicker reaction time with chiropractic.
The article begins by reporting on the latest research: "A 2019 study is the latest to add to the evidence in the field of chiropractic care and human performance. The study, a randomized controlled trial conducted at an Army Hospital, looked at the effect of ‘chiropractic manipulative therapy’ on reaction times in special operations forces military personnel."
The research reported on in this article was published in the BioMed Central journal Trials, on January 3, 2019. In this research, the authors of the study describe the background of the study by saying, "Chiropractic manipulative therapy (CMT) has been shown to improve reaction time in some clinical studies. Slight changes in reaction time can be critical for military personnel, such as special operation forces (SOF). This trial was conducted to test whether CMT could lead to improved reaction and response time in combat-ready SOF-qualified personnel reporting little or no pain."
The study was performed at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, Fort Campbell, KY. Subjects in the research included 77 United States special operations forces (SOF) male personnel over the age of 19. These servicemen were divided into two groups. One group received four chiropractic adjustments, described in the study as CMT (chiropractic manipulative therapy), over a four-week period while the control group did not. On each visit, reaction times using three specific tests were performed before and after each adjustment for the chiropractic group. The control group had reaction times measured for each visit both initially, and then re-measured after a five-minute waiting period.
The results showed that for each of the tests, the group that received a chiropractic adjustment showed faster reaction times when compared to the control group. In their conclusion the researchers noted, "A single session of CMT was shown to have an immediate effect of reducing the time required for asymptomatic SOF qualified personnel to complete a complex whole-body motor response task."
The implications of these findings were explained by the researchers when they stated, "United States military special operation forces (SOF) personnel are required to maintain high levels of physical fitness and the ability to perform activities requiring quick reactions to diverse situations, including those that can be life-threatening. Therefore, a high level of neurological function is one necessary component of maintaining the combat readiness of SOF personnel."
In the study, the adjustments given would have been focused toward the correction of subluxations. Since subluxations cause interference that can affect nerve function, correction of subluxations should lead to improved nervous system function, and in this study, quicker reaction times. In the Australian Spinal Research Foundation article conclusion, the author broadens the implication of the study findings by stating, "It is exciting to see yet more research indicate that a well-tuned nervous system is one that can assess, adapt and respond to the world around it more quickly than a nervous system in which subluxations may still exist."