This study was conducted in collaboration with Riphah International University in Pakistan and with one of our researchers, Muhammad Samran Navid, who is doing his PhD at Aalborg University in Denmark.

This study builds on our previous research that looked into the effects of a single session of chiropractic care on strength in chronic stroke patients.1[in1] [JS2] In that first study, the results indicated that the changes in strength we saw after chiropractic care, came from the way the stroke patients brains were driving their muscles. This current study helped us to gain a greater understanding of the impact of chiropractic care on brain function in stroke patients.
In this study, 17 chronic stroke patients participated in a randomised crossover trial and received chiropractic adjustments or a control intervention, in two different study sessions, in random order 2. We recorded brain activity using electroencephalography (EEG) and we looked at something called N30 somatosensory evoked potential (SEP) peaks as a way of gauging how chiropractic care impacts sensorimotor integration (the way your brain creates a motor response based on sensory information it receives).

The results from our study showed that there was a significant increase of 39% in the N30 SEP peak amplitude following the chiropractic intervention, but there was no change following the control intervention. This was a really interesting finding because previous studies have shown cortical SEP peaks are reduced in stroke patients, so an increase in the N30 SEP peak amplitude for this group is promising. Further to this, stroke patients often have smaller changes due to the damage inflicted on the brain from the stroke, so it is also very promising to find that even after only one adjustment session there was an increase in the N30 SEP peak amplitude. This new finding may help explain why we have previously shown an increase in strength in stroke victims and may represent a difference in the way the brains of stroke patients respond to chiropractic care compared to a person who has had no damage to their brain. Follow this link to read the full study

This study supports the growing body of research that shows that chiropractic care affects brain function and helps us to better understand how chiropractic care specifically affects brain function in chronic stroke patients. Look out for more of our exciting research to come in this field!

The Centre for Chiropractic Research would like to thank and acknowledge our collaborators at Riphah International University in Pakistan and Aalborg University in Denmark. We would also like to thank the organisations that helped make this study possible through funding- the United Chiropractic Association (whose funding was facilitated by the Australian Spinal Research Foundation), the Hamblin Trust which is largely funded by the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association, The Rubicon Group, the Scottish Chiropractic Association, Halsa Chiropractic and Physiotherapy and through donations to the Centre for Chiropractic Research Supporters Programme at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic.

  1. Holt K, Niazi IK, Nedergaard RW, et al. The effects of a single session of chiropractic care on strength, cortical drive, and spinal excitability in stroke patients. Scientific Reports. 2019/02/25 2019;9(1):2673.
  2. Navid MS, Niazi IK, Lelic D, Nedergaard RB, Holt K, Amjad I, Drewes AM, Haavik H. Investigating the Effects of Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation on EEG in Stroke Patients. Brain Sciences. 2020; 10(5):253.