Effects of Cervical Manipulation on Cardiac Autonomic Control




Giles, Paul David


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Giles, Paul David, Effects of Cervical Manipulation on Cardiac Autonomic Control. Master of Science (Clinical Research and Education – OMM), May 2006, pp, 1 table, 8 figures, references. Objective: Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine treatment (OMT) regimes often focus on treating the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) in addition to biomechanics. Techniques focused on the upper cervical spine are theorized to affect the function of the vagus nerve and thereby influence the parasympathetic branch of the ANS. This study was conducted to observe the effect of upper cervical spine manipulation on cardiac autonomic control as measured by heart rate variability (HRV). Methods: Nineteen healthy, young adult subjects were randomly assigned an order in which they would undergo three different experimental protocols: OMT, Sham, and a time control. Six minutes of electrocardiographic data was collected before and after each intervention to be analyzed by power spectral analysis. Results: All baseline data for each protocol and all parameters studied were the same. The OMT protocol and all parameters studied were the same. The OMT protocol caused a change in the standard deviation of the normal-to-normal (SDNN) intervals (0.121 +/- 0.0822 sec, p=0.005) and the change in the high frequency HRV was different from the changes caused by other interventions (p=0.038). Conclusions: This preliminary data supports the hypothesis that under cervical spine manipulation affects the parasympathetic nervous system; however, more data on more subjects needs to be collected in order to clarify some points, and to reach statistical significance in certain measures.