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Does a Blood Test Show a Chiropractic Adjustment Heals Beyond Correcting the Subluxation?

A new article in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy shows that spinal manipulation causes an increase in neurotensin, oxytocin, and cortisol immediately after the adjustment. The study took 30 asymptomatic volunteers and put them into lumber, thoracic, and cervical manipulation groups. Each group had blood drawn before, immediately after, and then 2 hour after a spinal adjustment. The neurotensin and oxytocin were increased in all three groups, and the cortisol was increased with cervical manipulation.

What are the Effects of Neurotensin, Oxytocin, and Cortisol?

  • Has analgesic effects helping to reduce pain
  • Produces a spectrum of pharmacological effects resembling those of anti-psychotic drugs
  • Modulates the activity in the small intestine
  • Blocks production of stomach acid


  • A primary neuromodulator in the brain
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves wound healing
  • Increases trust and reduces fear in social interactions


  • Activates anti-stress pathways
  • Activates anti-inflammatory pathways

The effects of a spinal adjustment go beyond just correcting a subluxation, restoring motion, improving function, and reducing hypertonicity of a spinal segment and surrounding muscles and tissues. There are positive body wide effects that have immediate and long lasting health changes and benefits. The immediate and long term health benefits that a spinal adjustment provides, especially with pain relief and reducing inflammation, are amazing and truly shows the power of chiropractic.

Reference Plaza-Manzano, G., et al. Changes in biochemical markers of pain perception and stress response after spinal manipulation. Journal Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 2014;44(4):231-9. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2014.4996.

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