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Trial registered on ANZCTR

Registration number
Ethics application status
Date submitted
Date registered
Date last updated
Type of registration
Prospectively registered

Titles & IDs
Public title
Chiropractic and brain activation
Scientific title
The effects of a single session of chiropractic care compared to passive movement on brain activity in people in pain and people not in pain.
Secondary ID [1] 285790 0
Universal Trial Number (UTN)
Trial acronym
Linked study record

Health condition
Health condition(s) or problem(s) studied:
Pain 293680 0
Condition category
Condition code
Musculoskeletal 293978 293978 0 0
Other muscular and skeletal disorders
Neurological 294033 294033 0 0
Studies of the normal brain and nervous system
Physical Medicine / Rehabilitation 294034 294034 0 0
Other physical medicine / rehabilitation

Study type
Description of intervention(s) / exposure
The participants will attend two intervention sessions in random order. The experimental intervention will be a single session of chiropractic care. Full spine adjustments will be carried out during the experimental session. The entire spine and sacroiliac joints will be assessed for vertebral subluxations and adjusted where deemed necessary by a registered chiropractor. The intervention will take approximately 10 minutes to carry out. There will be a 1 week washout period between the 2 interventions.
Intervention code [1] 290753 0
Treatment: Other
Comparator / control treatment
The control intervention will consist of passive and active movements of the subject’s head, spine and body that will be carried out by the same chiropractor who pre-checks the participants for vertebral subluxations and who performs the adjustments in the experimental intervention session. This control intervention will involve the participants being moved into the adjustment setup positions where the chiropractor would normally apply a thrust to the spine to achieve the adjustments. However, the experimenter will be particularly careful not to put pressure on any individual spinal segments. Loading a joint, as is done prior to spinal adjustments has been shown to alter paraspinal proprioceptive firing in anesthetised cats (Pickar & Wheeler, 2001), and will therefore be carefully avoided by ending the movement prior to end range- of-motion when passively moving the participants. No spinal adjustments will be performed during any control intervention. This control intervention is not intended to act as a sham adjustment but to
act as a physiological control for possible changes occurring due to the cutaneous, muscular or vestibular input that will occur with the type of passive and active movements involved in preparing a patient for an adjustment. It also acts as a control for the effects of the stimulation necessary to collect the dependent measures of the study, and acts as a control for the time required to carry out the adjustment intervention. The control intervention will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.
Control group

Primary outcome [1] 293753 0
Electroencephalographic recording of activity in and between different regions of the brain.
Timepoint [1] 293753 0
Immediately post-intervention
Secondary outcome [1] 311757 0
Timepoint [1] 311757 0

Key inclusion criteria
Sixty participants will be recruited from the New Zealand College of Chiropractic community to participate in this study. Twenty will be pain free, 20 will be experiencing back or neck pain at the time of the study, and 20 subclinical spinal pain subjects will be recruited.

Participants may include students, staff, faculty, and previous patients of the College’s chiropractic centre. Subjects will be eligible for inclusion if they are English speaking, aged 18-50, and have previously sought chiropractic care. The pain group will be experiencing back or neck pain at the time that they participate in the trial. The subclinical pain group will have some history of recurring spinal dysfunction such as mild pain, ache, and/or stiffness with or without a history of known trauma.
Minimum age
18 Years
Maximum age
50 Years
Both males and females
Can healthy volunteers participate?
Key exclusion criteria
Subjects will be ineligible to participate if they exhibit no evidence of vertebral subluxations, have absolute contraindications to spinal adjustments, have experienced previous significant adverse reactions to chiropractic care, or they are suffering from a current upper or lower limb disorder/dysfunction that would make them unable to carry out data recording sessions (e.g. sprain/strain/fracture).

Study design
Purpose of the study
Allocation to intervention
Randomised controlled trial
Procedure for enrolling a subject and allocating the treatment (allocation concealment procedures)
Methods used to generate the sequence in which subjects will be randomised (sequence generation)
Masking / blinding
Who is / are masked / blinded?

Intervention assignment
Other design features
Type of endpoint(s)
Statistical methods / analysis

Recruitment status
Not yet recruiting
Date of first participant enrolment
Date of last participant enrolment
Date of last data collection
Sample size
Accrual to date
Recruitment outside Australia
Country [1] 6508 0
New Zealand
State/province [1] 6508 0

Funding & Sponsors
Funding source category [1] 290350 0
Name [1] 290350 0
Australian Spinal Research Foundation
Address [1] 290350 0
PO Box 1047. Springwood QLD 4127
Country [1] 290350 0
Funding source category [2] 290351 0
Name [2] 290351 0
Hamblin Chiropractic Research Fund Trust
Address [2] 290351 0
PO Box 46127
Herne Bay
Country [2] 290351 0
New Zealand
Primary sponsor type
New Zealand College of Chiropractic
6 Harrison Road
Auckland 1060
New Zealand
Secondary sponsor category [1] 289073 0
Name [1] 289073 0
Address [1] 289073 0
Country [1] 289073 0

Ethics approval
Ethics application status
Ethics committee name [1] 292053 0
Northern A Health and Disability Ethics Committee
Ethics committee address [1] 292053 0
Health and Disability Ethics Committees
Ministry of Health
C/- MEDSAFE, Level 6, Deloitte House
10 Brandon Street
PO Box 5013
Ethics committee country [1] 292053 0
New Zealand
Date submitted for ethics approval [1] 292053 0
Approval date [1] 292053 0
Ethics approval number [1] 292053 0

Brief summary
Over the past decade there has been growing evidence to suggest that chiropractic care influences brain function. The researchers that have done this work have used sophisticated brain research methods such as measuring brain waves using electroencephalography (EEG). These studies have shown that adjusting subluxations in the spine alters function in various brain structures. However, the evidence for the involvement of these brain structures is indirect. Although EEG measures brain activity very accurately time-wise, it has poor spatial resolution, which means it’s hard to tell exactly where in the brain the activity occurs.

Recently efforts have been made to improve the spatial resolution of EEG using a new EEG technique, known as multichannel matching pursuit technique. With this technique it is possible to determine with greater clarity where in the brain activity occurs. We intend to use this new technique to explore which structures in the brain are talking to each other prior to, and after, chiropractic adjustments.

We believe that we will be able to identify differences in the way the brains of a group of 20 individuals who are developing spinal symptoms, function compare with a group of 20 healthy people with no history of symptoms and a group of 20 people in pain. We also believe that a single session of chiropractic care will change the way parts of the brain are talking to each other. We aim to reveal the brain areas involved in subclinical pain processing, then study the communication between these brain areas and how the communication changes following a single session of spinal adjustments.

By completing this study the researchers hope to gain a much better understanding about how vertebral subluxations and adjustments affect nervous system function.
Trial website
Trial related presentations / publications
Public notes

Principal investigator
Name 53278 0
Dr Imran Niazi
Address 53278 0
New Zealand College of Chiropractic
6 Harrison Road Ellerslie
Country 53278 0
New Zealand
Phone 53278 0
Fax 53278 0
Email 53278 0
Contact person for public queries
Name 53279 0
Dr Imran Niazi
Address 53279 0
New Zealand College of Chiropractic
6 Harrison Road Ellerslie
Country 53279 0
New Zealand
Phone 53279 0
Fax 53279 0
Email 53279 0
Contact person for scientific queries
Name 53280 0
Dr Imran Niazi
Address 53280 0
New Zealand College of Chiropractic
6 Harrison Road Ellerslie
Country 53280 0
New Zealand
Phone 53280 0
Fax 53280 0
Email 53280 0

No information has been provided regarding IPD availability
Summary results
No Results