Immune Responses to Spinal Manipulation
The Chiro.Org Blog
SOURCE: Dynamic Chiropractic ~ May 6, 2011
By Malik Slosberg, DC, MS
For many years, chiropractors have observed in their own practices that their patients sometimes demonstrate improvements of complaints related to immune problems: the disappearance or lessening of allergy symptoms, quicker recovery from or less frequent and severe colds and other respiratory infections, and so on.
In the scientific literature, there have been occasional case reports that corroborate such findings, but no sound evidence to really document their veracity. These clinical observations remain suspended in that grey area unsubstantiated by scientific data to confirm their validity. Significant limitations of changes attributed to spinal manipulation in individual patients include1) there is never a control group;
2) there is no blinding;
3) the improvement may simply be due to time;
4) they may be a nonspecific effect of care and attention;
5) it may be a regression to the mean; or
6) the result may be due to something other than spinal manipulation.
In some large studies, it has been found that chiropractic care for nonmusculoskeletal conditions is only weakly to moderately successful, but rarely harmful. [1-2] The most recent and thorough systematic literature review found that the evidence for effectiveness of spinal manipulation was inconclusive for nonmusculoskeletal conditions. 
Despite the lack of evidence of clinical effectiveness for nonmusculoskeletal conditions, a series of recent studies from several international research groups is systematically building the case that spinal manipulation appears to reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increase the blood levels of immunoregulatory cytokines. Cytokines are small cell-signaling protein molecules that are secreted by numerous cells of the immune system and are a category of signaling molecules used extensively in intercellular communication.
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