The effect of chiropractic adjustments on movement time: a pilot study using Fitts Law

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2006 May;29(4):257-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2006.03.009.


Objective: To investigate the effect of chiropractic adjustments on movement time using Fitts Law.

Methods: This was a prospective, randomized controlled trial. Ten patients from a private chiropractic practice participated. Participants in the treatment group received high-velocity, low-amplitude chiropractic adjustments to areas of joint dysfunction (chiropractic subluxation). A nonintervention group was used to control for improvement resulting from time and practice effects. Movement time was measured as participants moved a cursor onto a target appearing on a computer screen. A range of target widths and target distances were used to vary the index of difficulty.

Results: All participants in the experimental group had significantly improved movement times following spinal adjustments compared with only 1 participant in the control group. The average improvement in movement time for the experimental group was 183 ms, a 9.2% improvement, whereas the average improvement in movement time for the control group was 29 ms, a 1.7% improvement. The difference (improvement) scores after the intervention were significantly greater for the chiropractic group compared with the control group as measured by a 2-tailed independent samples t test (P < .05).

Conclusion: The results of this study demonstrated a significant improvement in movement time with chiropractic care. These results suggest that spinal adjustments may influence motor behavior.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Male
  • Manipulation, Chiropractic / methods*
  • Mathematics
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors