Neck Pain, Antioxidants, and Chiropractic

Antioxidants are a hot topic in healthcare, but what do they have to do with Chiropractic?

In order to understand antioxidants and a potential role related to Chiropractic, it’s important to understand what antioxidants do. Oxygen radicals (also known as free radicals) are normal by products of cellular digestion and respiration, but too many oxide radicals can be problematic in our bodies. Oxygen radicals have been correlated with aging processes, diseases, inflammation, and a lesser understood link to chronic pain. There is a lot that scientists are still trying to unpack in regards to free radicals and their potential roles in chronic diseases, but they seem to be involved in many deleterious processes.

Antioxidants are enzymes that serve to break down oxidative radicals like hydrogen peroxide and other super oxide radicals to limit the amount of damage that superoxide radicals are capable of causing.

A recent study done by Carolina Kolberg DC PhD et al looked at catalase activity in a population of 38 men with neck pain while they were undergoing Chiropractic care.

What did they do in the study?

The men in the study received Chiropractic care three times per week for 2 weeks for a total of 6 Chiropractic adjustments. Researchers took blood samples on the first, third, and sixth visit to evaluate levels of catalase and lipid peroxidase.

What did the study find?

The researchers found no change in lipid peroxidation activity, but marked increases in catalase activity on the third and sixth visits. Along with the increase in catalase activity the participants of the study had a notable decrease in pain and disability as a result of the care they were receiving.

What is significant about this study?

Years of clinical experience and more recent research has demonstrated the positive effects Chiropractic has in regards to neck pain, but we are seeing more studies in recent years that look at other mechanisms related to pain reduction outside of strictly neuromuscular biomechanics. The interesting aspect of this study is that it shows a molecular effect that is possibly related to the reduction of pain as a result of Chiropractic care that goes beyond bones, joints, and muscles. This paper showed a possible correlation between the Chiropractic adjustment, pain reduction, AND enzymatic activity that is rarely studied.

In recent years, more and more papers have been published showing positive effects related to the Chiropractic adjustment that go far beyond simple neck and back pain!

-Kolberg C, Horst A, Kolberg A, Belló-Klein A, Partata WA. Effects of high-velocity, low-amplitude manipulation on catalase activity in men with neck pain. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2010;33(4):300-307. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2010.03.002

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