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The efficacy of manual and manipulative therapy for low back pain in military active duty personnel: A feasibility study.
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research conducts research at the William and Jo Harris Building on the Davenport Campus, left, as well as on the West Campus and the Florida Campus.
Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research sign

CO-PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS: Christine Goertz-Choate, D.C., Ph.D.; and Keith P. Myers, M.D., D.C.

CO-INVESTIGATORS: Maria Hondras, D.C., M.P.H.; and Cynthia R. Long, Ph.D.

The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research is collaborating with the William Beaumont Army Medical Center at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, to collect data on 100 active-duty military personnel with acute low back pain. The specific aims of this project are to 1) determine the feasibility of, and the comparative treatment effect size for, conducting a larger clinical trial of chiropractic treatment in restoring peak performance in military personnel in operational environments; and 2) evaluate the ability of the addition of chiropractic care to standard care to decrease pain and increase function for patients with low back pain. This project will provide information about the challenges and opportunities involved in conducting clinical research of chiropractic in a military setting. Its long-term goal is to use this information to conduct additional studies on chiropractic at a wider number of bases throughout the U.S. This study was funded by the Samueli Institute for Information Biology in Alexandria, Va.

Time course for the development of muscle history in lumbar paraspinal muscle spindles arising from changes in vertebral position.

AUTHORS: Weiqing Ge, Ph.D.; and Joel Pickar, D.C.

Proprioceptive feedback from muscle spindles is considered important for muscle control. Because muscle spindles are thixotropic, their length history changes their responsiveness. We explored a mechanism that could affect paraspinal muscle spindle responsiveness in the lumbar spine. METHODS: Neural recordings from lumbar paraspinal muscle spindle afferents were obtained during changes in position of the L6 vertebra. Position was controlled using a displacement-controlled feedback motor. L6 was held in each of 3 different conditioning positions for durations of 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 4, 6 and 8 seconds. Two conditioning positions stretched (hold-long) or shortened (hold-short) the spindles and one position conditioned the spindle in an intermediate position (hold-intermediate). Hold-long and hold-short ranged between 0.9-2.0 mm of vertebral movement relative to the intermediate position. Following conditioning, the vertebra was returned to the intermediate position and muscle spindle discharge determined at rest and during vertebral movement that stretched the spindle. Conditioning was thought to simulate a motion segment’s position that might be passively maintained due to fixation, external load, a prolonged posture, or structural change. RESULTS: Both resting discharge and discharge during movement were affected differently by the specific type of conditioning. Hold-long decreased spindle discharge and hold-short increased spindle discharge compared to hold-intermediate. The effects developed with a time course following a first order exponential reaching a maximal value after approximately 4 seconds of history. The time constant for hold-short history was 2.6 seconds and for hold-long history was approximately half of that at 1.1 seconds. DISCUSSION: These findings are consistent with a mechanism that involves the rapid, spontaneous formation of stable crossbridges between the intrafusal muscle fibers of the spindle. These history-dependent effects on spindle responsiveness would evoke proprioceptive input not necessarily representative of the current state of intersegmental positioning. This could constitute a source of inaccurate proprioceptive feedback.

The full abstract of this study was published in The Spine Journal, Volume 8, Issue 2, March-April 2008, pages 320-328.

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