The Effects of 4 Weeks of Chiropractic Spinal Adjustments on Motor Function in People With Stroke: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Holt, K; Niazi, IK; Amjad, I; Kumari, N; Rashid, U; Duehr, J; Navid, MS; Shafique, M; Haavik, H
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Chiropractic spinal adjustments have been shown to result in short-term increases in muscle strength in chronic stroke patients, however, the effect of longer-term chiropractic spinal adjustments on people with chronic stroke is unknown. This exploratory study assessed whether 4 weeks of chiropractic spinal adjustments, combined with physical therapy (chiro + PT), had a greater impact than sham chiropractic with physical therapy (sham + PT) did on motor function (Fugl Meyer Assessment, FMA) in 63 subacute or chronic stroke patients. Secondary outcomes included health-related quality of life and other measures of functional mobility and disability. Outcomes were assessed at baseline, 4 weeks (post-intervention), and 8 weeks (follow-up). Data were analyzed using linear mixed-effects models or generalized linear mixed models. A post-hoc responder analysis was performed to investigate the clinical significance of findings. At 4 weeks, there was a larger effect of chiro + PT, compared with sham + PT, on the FMA (difference = 6.1, p = 0.04). The responder analysis suggested the improvements in motor function seen following chiropractic spinal adjustments may have been clinically significant. There was also a robust improvement in both groups in most measures from baseline to the 4- and 8-week assessments, but between-group differences were no longer significant at the 8-week assessment. Four weeks of chiro + PT resulted in statistically significant improvements in motor function, compared with sham + PT, in people with subacute or chronic stroke. These improvements appear to be clinically important. Further trials, involving larger group sizes and longer follow-up and intervention periods, are required to corroborate these findings and further investigate the impacts of chiropractic spinal adjustments on motor function in post-stroke survivors. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT03849794.