This animated video describes research studies that show that your reaction time depends on how efficiently your brain and nervous system are working & that Chiropractic Care can improve response & reaction times in students, the elderly & military personnel.
A transcript of the video follows.
Reaction Times Video Transcript
How quickly do you react when someone pulls in front of you when you’re driving? When a ball comes your way on a sporting field? Or when you have a slip and you need to catch yourself before you fall?
We all react to these day-to-day challenges at different speeds. Some of us react slowly and maybe we think we’re accident prone. And some of us react really quickly and perhaps we think we’re more of a ninja warrior. How quickly you react to a situation can actually be really important in many, many ways. From helping to prevent accidents on the road through, to reaching your optimal potential on the sporting field.
How quickly we react to a situation or a stimulus is called our reaction time. It depends on how fast our brains can sense what’s going on around us. Then process that information, come up with a reaction plan, and then perform the appropriate response. As you can see from this description, your reaction time depends on how efficiently your brain and nervous system are working.
So what can you do to help improve the efficiency of your nervous system? This is a really interesting question that chiropractic researchers have been trying to help answer. The reason that chiropractors are interested in reaction times is that chiropractic aims to improve the communication between your brain and your body. So you are better able to react and respond to your environment.
When your brain can accurately perceive what is going on inside and out. It can better control your body for the situation at hand and move your muscles in the right order and at the right speed at the right time.
Researchers have published a number of studies that have shown that chiropractic care can actually make a difference in your reaction time.
One of the first really good studies that looked at how chiropractic care affects reaction times was published back in 2000. In this study, the researchers asked a group of students to look at a computer screen that would flash up the letter R on it. They were instructed to press one key on the keyboard if they believed the letter R was oriented correctly. Or a different key on the keyboard if they thought it was back to front.
To make it tricky, the researchers rotated the letter R in lots of different angles. In this manner, the tested students needed to mentally rotate it back to its original position. This was done to ascertain whether the aisle was correctly oriented or not. The researchers then got a chiropractor to either adjust the person or have them lie down on a chiropractic table without doing an adjustment as a control intervention.
What the researchers found was that after an adjustment, the study subjects were able to fast and mentally rotate the letter R compared to the control group. It meant that their brains were faster able to assess and respond to this task. This study shows that a chiropractic adjustment can actually affect how quickly our brains respond to sensory information and make sense of them.
This is a really interesting finding as it shows that the way our spines work influences the way our brains work.
In 2016, a different group of researchers published a study. They examined the speed at which a group of older adults could step on a platform with four panels that could illuminate when activated.
The researchers asked these older adults to move their feet as quickly as possible to stand over the light. Being able to take a fast step is really important. This is because scientists have shown that people who are quicker at taking a step are less likely to fall. In this study they tested the older people before, during, and after receiving 12 weeks of chiropractic care or receiving their usual medical care.
What they found was that after 12 weeks of chiropractic care, there was a dramatic and significant improvement in the chiropractic group’s step time. They were able to take a faster step after chiropractic care. The improvement in the older adults’ ability to take faster steps in this study was indeed remarkable. It exceeded what was found in a large clinical trial that investigated the effects of a six-month exercise regimen on the same stepping task by two and a half times.
This might be really important when it comes to someone stopping themselves from having a fall if they’re tripping or slipping.
Again, it shows us that the way your spine works actually influences the way your brain senses what’s going on. And the way your brain can respond to your environment. The way your spine works, helps your brain function better and respond faster.
In another study that was published recently, researchers tested a group of special operations forces military personnel. They wanted to investigate whether chiropractic adjustments could enhance their reaction time. Additionally, they aimed to determine if these adjustments would improve their ability to touch a set of panels on the wall in front of them that would randomly light up. In this study, they discovered that when these elite soldiers were adjusted, their reaction and response times to the lit-up panels were faster than when they were not adjusted.
This is a really significant finding because just imagine how important response times would be for a soldier. You can see that researchers are discovering that chiropractic care really does seem to have an impact on how efficiently your brain can accurately perceive what’s going on around you. And how fast your brain can react and respond appropriately.
So maybe it can help you move from being accident-prone to being a ninja warrior. If you want to unleash your inner ninja warrior, why not have your spine checked by your family chiropractor?
- Haavik H, Murphy B. The role of spinal manipulation in addressing disordered sensorimotor integration and altered motor control. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2012;22(5):768-76. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2012.02.012 [published Online First: 2012/04/10]
- Haavik H, Murphy B. Subclinical neck pain and the effects of cervical manipulation on elbow joint position sense. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2011;34(2):88-97. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2010.12.009 [published Online First: 2011/02/22]
- Holt KR, Haavik H, Lee AC, et al. Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care to Improve Sensorimotor Function Associated With Falls Risk in Older People: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2016 doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2016.02.003 [published Online First: 2016/04/07]
- Kelly DD, Murphy BA, Backhouse DP. Use of a mental rotation reaction-time paradigm to measure the effects of upper cervical adjustments on cortical processing: a pilot study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2000;23(4):246-51. doi: 10.1067/mmt.2000.106099 [published Online First: 2000/05/23]
- Lord SR, Menz HB, Tiedemann A. A Physiological Profile Approach to Falls Risk Assessment and Prevention. Phys Ther 2003;83(3):237-52.
- Lord SR, Fitzpatrick RC. Choice stepping reaction time: a composite measure of falls risk in older people. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2001;56(10):M627-32.
- Lord SR, Castell S, Corcoran J, et al. The effect of group exercise on physical functioning and falls in frail older people living in retirement villages: a randomized, controlled trial. J Am Geriatr Soc 2003;51(12):1685-92.
- DeVocht JW, Vining R, Smith DL, et al. Effect of chiropractic manipulative therapy on reaction time in special operations forces military personnel: a randomized controlled trial. Trials 2019;20(1):5-5. doi: 10.1186/s13063-018-3133-2
© Haavik Research