With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, claims that spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) can improve immune function have increased. Such claims have long been part of the chiropractic profession, with proponents declaring support for their position in the scientific literature. The validity of claims of a link between SMT and a meaningful immune response, however, has been strongly questioned by others.
The guidance from regulatory bodies and licensing boards on SMT as a treatment option for infectious disease in both the USA and Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic has been limited and heterogenous. As part of an effort to examine the evidence in support of claims linking SMT and immune response, the College of Chiropractors of British Columbia requested that these authors conduct an independent rapid review of the available scientific literature.
This resultant paper is a systematic review of the literature, examining whether SMT is associated with efficacy and effectiveness for: 1) preventing the development of infectious disease; and 2) improving disease-specific health outcomes among patients with infectious disease. The authors also synthesized data from laboratory experiments to investigate the association between SMT and immunological, endocrine, and other physiological biomarkers.
THIS WEEK'S RESEARCH REVIEW: “Impact of SMT on Infectious Disease & Immune System Outcomes”
This paper was published in JAMA Network Open (2021) and this Review is posted in Recent Reviews, Spinal Manipulation - Mechanisms of Action and the 2021 Archive.