After sitting through a lecture for 3 hours of Dr Heidi Haavik on Saturday, who is not only a chiropractor but also a neurophysiologist (so yes, Dr Haavik is one smart lady!!) I want to share with you one study that Dr Haavil talked about, which may give you a reason as to why you would be checked by a chiropractor even if you are not feeling any back pain.

How manipulation can affect the activation of deep abdominal muscles?

Anyone who plays cricket, golf, weight lifting, or simply lifts their child and swings them around in the air may want to read on.

Basically this study looks at a group of 90 healthy young males who were assessed for the ability of their deep abdominal muscles to switch-on when they lifted their arms rapidly.

Within this group they found that 17 had a delayed response. The delayed response group were then asked to come back 6 months later, and it was found that their response was still delayed. These subjects then underwent sacroiliac joint manipulation on the side that had reduced movement.

body 1

What they found was significant improvement (38.4%) of the activation of the deep abdominal muscles immediately after the sacroiliac joint manipulation.

body 2
What does this mean? It means that this group of healthy young males may have been setting themselves up for developing low back pain, due to the abdominal muscles not firing when their arms are lifted rapidly. This causes the low back to become overloaded i in effect giving their low back mild whiplash each time they lift their arms rapidly.

People that lift their arms rapidly regularly may include; cricketers, golfers, weight lifters, or simply parents lifting their child and swinging them around in the air.

What are the limitations? This study doesn’t explore delayed activation of the deep abdominal muscles as a marker for those at risk of developing low back pain. Also the size of the study is a limitation.

The Effect of Sacroiliac Joint Manipulation on Feed-Forward Activation Times of the Deep Abdominal Musculature Volume 29, Issue 3, March–April 2006, Pages 196–202.