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: