Figure 3: Regional activation (left) and deactivation (right) after spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) using an activator adjusting instrument. Glucose metabolism is increased in regions including the anterior cingulate cortex and cerebellar vermis but is relatively reduced in many sites, including the prefrontal cortex, after SMT. The voxel height threshold is p<0.05, corrected for multiple comparisons; the extent threshold is 10 voxels minimum



The aim of this study was to investigate changes in brain and muscle glucose metabolism that are not yet known, using positron emission tomography with [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose ([18F]FDG PET).


Twenty-one male volunteers were recruited for the present study. [18F]FDG PET scanning was performed twice on each subject: once after the spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) intervention (treatment condition) and once after resting (control condition). We performed the SMT intervention using an adjustment device. Glucose metabolism of the brain and skeletal muscles was measured and compared between the two conditions. In addition, we measured salivary amylase level as an index of autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity, as well as muscle tension and subjective pain intensity in each subject.


Changes in brain activity after SMT included activation of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, cerebellar vermis, and somatosensory association cortex and deactivation of the prefrontal cortex and temporal sites. Glucose uptake in skeletal muscles showed a trend toward decreased metabolism after SMT, although the difference was not significant. Other measurements indicated relaxation of cervical muscle tension, decrease in salivary amylase level (suppression of sympathetic nerve activity), and pain relief after SMT.


The findings of the present study demonstrate how stimuli to the mechanoreceptors of the joints and skin during SMT are processed in the brain. Brain processing after SMT may lead to physiological relaxation via a decrease in sympathetic nerve activity.

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2017 (2017)

Author information: Akie Inami, Takeshi Ogura, Shoichi Watanuki, Md. Mehedi Masud, Katsuhiko Shibuya, Masayasu Miyake, Rin Matsuda, Kotaro Hiraoka, Masatoshi Itoh, Arlan W. Fuhr, Kazuhiko Yanai, and Manabu Tashiro. Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.

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