Monday, June 22, 2020

Spinal Manipulation Helps With Hip/ Knee Weakness In Otherwise Healthy People

Wow, this article definitely caught my eye as a single manipulation on the spine in healthy subjects increased the lower limb strength, at least in the short term.

The subjects were found to have lower limb musculoskeletal dysfunction along with muscle weakness. Those with knee and hip weakness who are otherwise healthy had large strength gains.

Strength training will hypertrophy muscle and increase strength over a period of six weeks though the authors suggested that weakness can persist despite muscle hypertrophy. They suggested this occurs in the early stages of joint pathology or when there is limb or spinal joint immobility which may then inhibit muscle activation.

The authors also presented evidence of three randomized controlled trials (these are Level 1b evidence of moderate quality) that showed immediate small to large effect size muscle strength gains immediately after spinal manipulation.

The authors suggested that spinal manipulation to particular spinal segments after screening for specific muscle weakness can increase short term strength. This will present a chance for efficient intervention as patients benefit by starting an exercise program to train the new muscle function gained. This provides extra incentives and more motivation for the patients to keep training.

What remains unclear though are the neuro muscular mechanisms through which the spinal manipulations increases strength.

Hmmmm, as you can read, I'm intrigued by the possibilities of increasing strength with a simple manipulation of the spine, but not convinced yet.

I would still suggest that those with true hip and knee weakness (and no other condition) engage in a strength training program.


Wong CF, Conway L et al (2020). Immediate Effects Of A Single Spinal Manipulation On Lower-Limb Strength In Healthy Individuals: A Critically Appraised Topic. J Sp Rehabil. June 2020: 1-5. DOI: 10.1123/jsr.2019-0372.

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