Can Chiropractic Make Me Stronger?

Athlete Chiropractic

New research into the effects of chiropractic care suggests that it may have an important role to play in maximizing sport performance and aid recovery from a range of conditions where muscle function has been compromised. 

The New Zealand College of Chiropractic’s Centre for Chiropractic has recently published a study in the Journal of Experimental Brain Research which demonstrates that following a full spine chiropractic adjustment session there was an increase in the subjects’ ability to contract one of their leg muscles. 

The study shows an increase in muscle electrical activity readings of almost 60% and a 16% increase in absolute force measures. There was also a 45% increase in the ‘drive’ from the brain to the muscle (the degree to which the brain can activate that particular muscle) and a small, but significant, shift in the H reflex curve (a neurophysiological measure of spinal cord excitability).

Dr Heidi Haavik, chiropractor and director of research at the NZCC says, “This study is the first to indicate that chiropractic adjustments of the spine can actually induce significant changes in the net excitability for the low-threshold motor units. 

The results of the study also indicate that spinal adjustments can prevent fatigue, so we recommend chiropractic care to be a part of medical treatment for patients that have lost tons of their muscles or are recovering from muscle degrading dysfunction such as with stroke or orthopaedic operations. 

“The results suggest that the improvements in maximum voluntary contractions following the chiropractic adjustment session are likely attributed to the increased descending drive (ie. from the brain) and/or modulation in afferent input. These results may also be of interest to sports performers and we have recommended a similar study be conducted in a sports population.”

This work provides further evidence of the capacity of chiropractic care to address the aspects of sensorimotor integration. The NZCC is at the forefront of this groundbreaking neurophysiological research and is achieving these results faster due to the new Spinal Research Partnership Scheme. 



Niazi IK, Turker KS, Flavel S, Kinget M, Duehr J & Haavik. (2015) Changes in H-reflex and V waves following spinal manipulation. Experimental Brain Research. In press. DOI: 10.1007/s00221-014-4193-5