Reflex effects of vertebral subluxations: the peripheral nervous system. An update

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2000 Feb;23(2):101-3. doi: 10.1016/s0161-4754(00)90075-7.


Background: The traditional chiropractic vertebral subluxation hypothesis proposes that vertebral misalignment cause illness, disease, or both. This hypothesis remains controversial.

Objective: To briefly review and update experimental evidence concerning reflex effects of vertebral subluxations, particularly concerning peripheral nervous system responses to vertebral subluxations.

Data source: Information was obtained from chiropractic or scientific peer-reviewed literature concerning human or animal studies of neural responses to vertebral subluxation, vertebral displacement or movement, or both.

Conclusion: Animal models suggest that vertebral displacements and putative vertebral subluxations may modulate activity in group I to IV afferent nerves. However, it is not clear whether these afferent nerves are modulated during normal day-to-day activities of living and, if so, what segmental or whole-body reflex effects they may have.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Joint Dislocations / rehabilitation*
  • Manipulation, Spinal / methods*
  • Peripheral Nervous System / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Reflex / physiology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spinal Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Spine / physiology