Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the short-term effects of spinal manipulation applied to a hypomobile segment of the upper thoracic spine (T1-T6), on plasma concentrations of norepinephrine (NE) and epinephrine (E) in asymptomatic subjects, under strictly controlled conditions.
Methods: Fifty-six asymptomatic subjects were randomly assigned to receive either a chiropractic manipulative intervention or a sham intervention in the upper thoracic spine. A 20-gauge catheter fitted with a saline lock was used to sample blood before, immediately after, and 15 minutes after intervention. Plasma NE and E concentrations were determined using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Changes in plasma catecholamine concentrations were analyzed within and between groups using 1- and 2-sample t tests, respectively.
Results: The plasma samples of 36 subjects (18 treatment, 18 control) were used in the analysis. Mean plasma concentrations of NE and E did not significantly differ between the 2 groups at any time point and did not change significantly after either the manipulative or sham intervention.
Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that a manipulative thrust directed to a hypomobile segment in the upper thoracic spine of asymptomatic subjects does not have a measurable effect on the plasma concentrations of NE or E. These results provide a baseline measure of the sympathetic response to spinal manipulation.
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