OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this research was to determine the extent of reflex responses after spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) of the cervical and upper thoracic spine.
METHODS: Eleven asymptomatic participants received 6 commonly used SMTs to the cervical and upper thoracic spine. Bipolar surface electromyography electrodes were used to measure reflex responses of 16 neck, back, and proximal limb muscles bilaterally. The percentage of occurrence and the extent of reflex responses of these muscles were determined.
RESULTS: Reflex responses after cervical SMT were typically present in all neck and most back muscles, whereas responses in the outlets to the arm and leg were less frequent. This trend was similar, although decreased in magnitude, after thoracic SMT.
CONCLUSION: Reflex responses were greatest after upper cervical SMT and lowest with thoracic SMT.
Author keywords: Manipulation, Chiropractic, Electromyography
Author affiliations: LMG, WH: Human Performance Laboratory, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada; PJC: Private Practice, Calgary, AB, Canada
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