Our investigations into the interaction of altered input from the spine on the processing of input from the limbs has already contributed to our understanding of neural plasticity and sensorimotor integration. It has applications in motor learning and ergonomics and will help us to understand mechanisms which enhance motor learning versus those that interfere with motor learning. Our continued research will contribute to our understanding of how spinal function affects processing of input from the limbs which may affect manual task performance. It has the potential to make contributions to the health and well-being of a vast number of people as well as workplace productivity and injury prevention by applying the resultant basic science knowledge to improved strategies for injury prevention and enhancement of health and well-being.
The impact of this work has the potential to stretch further into our understanding of human adaptation and homeostasis. Researchers from many diverse fields have recently suggested that sensorimotor integration involves multiple layers of processing that display emergent properties which cannot be explained by individual neurons and pathways. This suggests that emergent signals from optimal sensorimotor integration may underlie appropriate adaptation of respiratory patterns and homeostasis. By increasing our knowledge of the effects of chiropractic care on sensorimotor integration we can enhance our understanding of the ways that chiropractic care benefits human performance, and overall health, wellness and quality of life.