People suffer from low back pain. They look to their practitioner to help. According to a report from the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, instrument assisted spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) has proven beneficial. It may help reduce the effect of pain by influencing certain neurophysiological mechanisms.
Why pain at all?
Pain is essentially a protective mechanism and everyone pretty much feels it differently. Certain neurophysiological and biological factors are kind of the “culprit” in this respect. They work in correspondence with somatic structures, which, of course, are also made to deal with pain; nociceptive receptors are the sites that typically react to nerve injury in the joints, muscles and bones. Mitochondria may help or inhibit nerve receptors and subsequently a patient’s ability to endure pain, as well. Particularly intense pain in the lower back, for example, may happen as a result of somatic dysfunction when nerve endings feel damage. Signals to the brain become impaired and tissue inflammation may result. Instrument assisted SMT is a way to influence certain pain thresholds that send signals to the brain. In this, a patient may experience significant relief.
Evidence suggests instrument assisted SMT works best when applied in conjunction with the Activator method protocol. According to the USF report, a group of participants, each of varying health history, attended a randomized study to test the efficacy of the methodology. Each received a sham manipulation and instrument assisted SMT session. Group members who received SMT reported significant relief in the “descending pain inhibitory pathways.” Those who received sham treatment felt no measurable effects at all. Researchers, in an effort to more fully document the study results, gauged the patient reports with basal electromyographic activity measurements. They found that both asymptomatic and symptomatic patients all experienced systemic changes from SMT; the most notable physiological changes occurring at lumbar segments, zygapophyseal joints and even in the hands.