Study Finds Spinal Manipulation Improves Cardiac Autonomic Control

A randomized placebo-controlled trial published in Spine by researchers in Brazil compared supine upper thoracic spine manipulation to myofascial release and placebo in 59 patients with musculoskeletal pain. Only those receiving manipulation had improvement in heart rate variability, indicative of positive change in resting cardiac autonomic control, but with no change in blood pressure. The change was immediate after one session of manipulation. Interestingly, myofascial release and placebo did not change HRV.

Doctors of chiropractic have long argued that chiropractic adjustments not only relieve pain but also improve function of the nervous system. Other studies, including those by my colleague, Dr. Hart, have found that chiropractic adjustments may lead to improvement in heart rate variability and lower resting pulse rate, which are associated with improved health and longevity. The old saying is, “Chiropractic adds years to life and life to years”.


Reference: Rodrigues, Corrêa, Reis et al. One Session of Spinal Manipulation Improves the Cardiac Autonomic Control in Patients with Musculoskeletal Pain, SPINE: July 15, 2021 – Volume 46 – Issue 14 – p 915-922

The abstract is available at:


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Dr. Luke Henry

Dr. Luke Henry graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. in Computer Engineering and minor in Mathematical Science. He decided to become a chiropractic physician after chiropractic care helped him recover from an injury. Dr. Henry graduated summa cum laude, at the top of his class, from Sherman College. He has postgraduate education in Physiotherapy through New York Chiropractic College, advanced training in the care of whiplash injuries through the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, and spinal decompression at Parker University. Dr. Henry is the author of peer-reviewed research and is a reviewer for scientific journals. Dr. Henry is a member of the International Medical Advisory Board on Spinal Decompression, the International Dose-Response Society and the South Carolina Chiropractic Association. He is a postgraduate guest lecturer and has presented on low-level laser therapy, spinal decompression, compliance, and the management of difficult and unusual cases. Dr. Henry is recognized as an expert in the field of chiropractic.