Background: The founder of chiropractic, Daniel David Palmer, constructed a model of causation of disease based on his seminal experience with a patient, Harvey Lillard, who lost his hearing at the instant of injuring his upper back, but had his hearing restored suddenly 17 years later after receiving spinal manipulation. Palmer’s model of disease causation, that of displaced vertebrae impinging on spinal nerves and thereby disrupting the innervation of dependent organs, was in fact incongruent with what was known at the time about human neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. The current study proposes and tests an alternative hypothesis: that increased afferent input from paraspinal muscles attenuates the central transmission of auditory information.
Methods: Between September 13 and November 13, 2013, forty healthy young adults were recruited and randomly divided into two cohorts: one receiving successive trials of sham TENS, and the second receiving sham and then authentic TENS. During the administration of sham and authentic TENS to the upper thoracic spine, hearing acuity was measured to determine perception thresholds at the frequencies normally tested clinically.
Results: In the first cohort, there were no differences in perception thresholds in the first and second trials of sham TENS, speaking to the reliability of the testing process. In the second cohort, there were no significant differences in perception thresholds during sham and authentic TENS.
Conclusions: Within the constraints of the current study design, including demographic characteristics and TENS parameters, there was no evidence that innocuous afferent input to upper thoracic paraspinal muscles modulated thresholds of audibility.
This abstract is reproduced with permission of the publisher. Click on the above link for free full text.