Chiropractic & The Nervous System: Reaction Times

Chiropractic & The Nervous System: Reaction Times

Most of the time people who initially seek care from our team of Chiropractors at Perth Allied Health Clinic, seek care in order to manage or resolve pain. And that is completely to be expected as neck pain, mid back pain, and low back pain can be frustrating and debilitating complaints. However, many people put up with persistent pain for years on end without seeking care.

So why is it that many people make the decision to finally do something about it? In my experience it is not necessarily because their pain is not going away, or even because there pain is getting worse, it is when pain gets in the way of allowing us to do the things we like to do on a daily basis. We seek care when our complaint affects our ability to function as we once could or as we want to be able to!

That is why pain & symptom management is not the sole focus of our Chiropractors. Obviously, pain is significant and we do everything in our power to minimise the pain our patients experience. However, our focus is actually to improve your function, your ability to move the way you should, & address your limitations, so that by functioning better we limit the effect of pain on people’s lives.

This is a good Segway into the topic of this blog discussing some new research investigating the effect of Chiropractic on reaction times (both mental & physical) which highlights just one of the ways that Chiropractic care can aid in improving function not just reducing symptoms.

It has been shown the past that subclinical neck pain (less than 4/10 pain) impairs the ability for people to perform mental tasks such as mental rotation tasks (1) . This is thought to be due to affects that dysfunction in the cervical spine has on the cerebellum by affecting processing in this area of the brain and affecting spatial awareness.

However very little study has been done on the affect of pain and spinal dysfunction on physical reaction times, until a recent study from 2019. This study was a randomised control trial looking at the effects of chiropractic manipulative therapy (adjustments) on reaction times in military personnel (3), specifically those in special forces where delayed reaction times could mean the difference between life and death! And importantly these people had to be less than 4 on the pain scale.

The Key finding of the study was a single session of CMT (Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy) had an immediate effect on reducing the time for asymptomatic SOF (special operations forces) qualified personnel to complete a whole-body motor response task

However even though the study did involve 120 subjects, it did not investigate the long-term effect and is an exciting area to be studied further in the future.

In summary this study highlighted that Chiropractic care can be beneficial for people who sit low to very low on the pain scale, asymptomatic people, and those who work in jobs or even sports which require faster reaction times.

It is exciting to see high quality evidence showing the benefits of a well-tuned nervous system which can rapidly assess, adapt, and respond to the world around it.

So even if you are not in pain but are interested in getting assessed by one of our Chiropractors at Perth Allied Health Clinic, to see what other benefits other than pain relief Chiropractic care can give, do not hesitate to book in online or call 0476 252 599 for more information.

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