The Immediate Effect of Spinal Manipulation on Ball Velocity and Neuromuscular Function During an Instep Kick in Former Varsity Soccer Players: A Feasibility Study

J Strength Cond Res. 2020 Aug 18. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003720. Online ahead of print.


Corso, M, Liang, L, Tran, S, Howitt, S, Srbely, J, and Mior, SA. The immediate effect of spinal manipulation on ball velocity and neuromuscular function during an instep kick in former Varsity soccer players: a feasibility study. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2020-Spinal manipulation (SM) has been shown to increase ball velocity (BV) in soccer players. Evidence suggests that SM modulates responses at spinal or cortical levels to enhance force production in asymptomatic populations. No studies have explored the underlying neuromuscular mechanisms contributing to changes in BV post-SM in soccer players. We assessed the feasibility of measuring change in BV and neuromuscular function after SM in former Varsity level soccer players with a pre-post study design. Three to 5 maximal instep kicks were performed before and after SM at the L3-5 level. Ball velocity was measured using high-speed camera. Activation of lower limb and trunk musculature was recorded with electromyography. Outcomes included ease of recruitment, scheduling and data capture, as well as expectation and perception of SM effect and adverse events (AE). Fifteen potential subjects were recruited over 1.5 months. Eleven were scheduled (24-31 years; 8 females, 3 males). Two subjects reported mild AE after maximal voluntary isometric contraction testing. A significant increase in BV (mean change: 1.75 m·s [95% confidence interval: 0.5-3.0]) and a trend to increased peak-activation of knee extensors (90.7%) were observed post-SM. Findings suggest that our recruitment strategy and methodology are feasible in a larger trial with some modifications. Our preliminary findings support previous research by suggesting that increased BV may be mediated through increased activation of knee extensors during the kick. Our findings may offer additional insight into the underlying neuromuscular mechanisms contributing to immediate change in BV post-SM.