Wilson & Allen
Health and Chiropractic Literature
Chiropractic for Nonmusculoskeletal Conditions?

Since the dawn of chiropractic, a great deal has been written pertaining to spinal manipulative therapy (SMT)
and somatovisceral conditions. However, scientific evidence supporting a rationale for this proposed
connection remains lacking.

The goal of this study was to "find out how frequently patients report nonmusculoskeletal symptomatic
improvements and to find out more about the types of such reactions that patients believe to be associated
with chiropractic treatment." Twenty consecutive patients from each of 87 Swedish chiropractors answered
questionnaires on return visits within two weeks of previous treatment, with a total of 1,504 questionnaires
completed and returned.

Results: Patients reported numerous positive improvements in nonmusculoskeletal symptoms, including:

* easier to breathe (98 patients);
* improved digestive function (92 patients);
* clearer/better/sharper vision (49 patients);
* improved circulation (34 patients);
* less ringing in the ears (10 patients);
* acne/eczema better (8 patients);
* dysmenorrhoea better (7 patients); and
* asthma/allergies better (6 patients).

The number of spinal areas treated was also related to the number of reactions: 15% reported experiencing
positive reactions having a single area adjusted, as compared to 35% of patients having four areas adjusted.
Overall, 23% of chiropractic patients reported experiencing changes in symptoms that were not
musculoskeletal in nature.

Take Note: The authors are quick to note that these findings do not assert any sort of causal relation
between treatment and reaction. However, they conclude that a minority of chiropractic patients do report
having positive nonmusculoskeletal reactions following SMT, and that "such reports cluster predominantly
around specific symptoms."

Leboeuf-Yde C, Axen I, Ahlefeldt G, et al. The types and frequencies of improved nonmusculoskeletal
symptoms reported after chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological
Therapeutics, Nov./Dec. 1999:22(9), pp559-64.
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