The Effects of Spinal Manipulation on the Intensity of Emotional Arousal in Phobic Subjects Exposed to a Threat Stimulus: A Randomized, Controlled, Double-Blind Clinical Trial

Kristopher B. Peterson, D.C.
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1997; 20: 602-6


Objective: To determine the effect of spinal manipulation upon the intensity of emotional arousal in phobic subjects exposed to threat stimulus.

Design: Randomized, controlled, double-blind clinical trial.

Setting: Community college campus.

Subjects: Eighteen phobic community college student volunteers randomized into treatment and control groups.

Intervention: Visual analog scale (VAS) and pulse rates were obtained in response to the subjects’ viewing their phobogenic stimulus. Spinal manipulation was performed while the subjects experienced emotional responses. Manual muscle testing was utilized to ascertain the associated spinal segments and involved emotion.

Results: Data were analyzed using analysis of variance for a repeated measures experimental design and Least Significant Differences (LSDs) for mean comparisons. Baseline, preintervention and postintervention pulse rates were not statistically different for the control and treatment groups (p =. 0807). VAS postintervention mean for the spinal manipulation group was significantly lower than the control means (p = .05) and from its corresponding preintervention mean (p= .001).

Conclusion: Spinal manipulation significantly decreased the intensity of emotional arousal reported by phobic subjects. The mechanism for this effect is not known. (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1997; 20: 602-6).

Key Indexing Terms: Phobia; Chiropractic Manipuation; Randomized Controlled Trials.

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