There is some evidence that high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) controlled vertebral thrusts have the potential to influence immune mediators. However, the mechanisms of the link between chiropractic adjustments and neuroimmune function is unclear.
A recent study completed April 2021 included Twenty-three published papers which explored the impact of chiropractic adjustments on neuroimmune markers, of which eighteen found a significant effect. These basic science studies show that adjustments influence the levels of immune mediators in the body, including neuropeptides, inflammatory markers, and endocrine markers.
This narrative review discusses the mechanisms of adjustments on immune markers are most likely due to the known changes in proprioceptive processing that occur within the central nervous system (CNS), in particular within the prefrontal cortex, following a chiropractic adjustment. The prefrontal cortex is involved in the regulation of the autonomic nervous system, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (our stress response) and the immune system.
There is also substantial evidence supporting the close link between the hormonal system and the immune system which is vital for the body’s ability to protect itself and includes a variety of immune mediators. Stress indues sympathetic nervous system activity which also alters muscle activation patterns which then can cause dysfunctional vertebral motor control.
There are biologically plausible direct and indirect mechanisms that link adjustments to the immune system, suggesting they have the potential to modulate immune function. However, further research is needed to explore the clinical impact of chiropractic adjustments on immune function and possible benefits.
1. Haavik H, Niazi IK, Kumari N, Amjad I, Duehr J, Holt K. The Potential Mechanisms of High-Velocity, Low-Amplitude, Controlled Vertebral Thrusts on Neuroimmune Function: A Narrative Review. Medicina (Kaunas). 2021;57(6).
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