Digitized infrared segmental thermometry (DIST) is a tool used for measuring cutaneous temperature (CT). This project ascertains the effect of a manually assisted mechanical force producing a chiropractic adjustment in the lumbar spine after the Activator Methods Chiropractic Technique on CT during 2 different time recording periods (TRPs).
Sixty-six healthy subjects (36 women and 30 men) without acute low back conditions or symptoms were recruited. Subjects were randomly divided into 2 groups based on the length of the acclimatization period (8 or 30 minutes; TRP(8) and TRP(30), respectively). In turn, each recording period group was divided into 3 subgroups (n = 11 per subgroup): treatment, sham, and control subgroups. Bilateral DIST was conducted at L-4 (TRP(30)) and L-5 (TRP(8)) using infrared cameras (Subluxation Station Insight 7000; Chiropractic Leadership Alliance, Mahwah, NJ).
Before treatment (t(-0.5)), the TRP(8) CT was significantly different between the ipsilateral and the contralateral sides for all subgroups. At 10 minutes (t(10)) after intervention, CT increased significantly (P < .05) for the treatment group but not for the sham and control groups. In contrast, there were no significant differences in the TRP(30) CT before treatment between the ipsilateral and the contralateral sides; but at t(10), CT was significantly (P < .05) greater for all 3 subgroups compared with preintervention CT.
Contacting the skin with the instrument with (treatment group TRP(30)) or without (sham group TRP(30)) a thrust with a sustained pressure stronger than the loading principle taught in the Activator Methods Chiropractic Technique protocol or a thrust respecting the standard loading principle (treatment group TRP(8)) of the instrument produced a CT cooling immediately after the adjustment. Furthermore, we observed that when contacting the skin with the instrument with a thrust respecting the standard loading principle (treatment group TRP(8)) of the instrument, it produced a secondary cooling at t(5) followed by a rewarming at t(10). Finally, contacting the skin with the instrument without a thrust and respecting the standard loading principle (sham TRP(8)) of the instrument did not produce a CT change.
Author information: Roy RA, Boucher JP, Comtois AS. Private Practice, LaSalle, Québec, Canada.