For those in the world of academia, if you are interested in sports and concussion-related studies, please see the work I performed in 2005 which looked at chiropractic manipulation and spinal motion in previously concussed individuals. The results of the study showed an increase in cervicothoracic motion (neck/upper back) after cervical manipulation. Although the study only measured biomechanical factors (ie. neck/back motion), I would like to perform follow up studies on blood work which could include any type of hormonal stressors including cortisol, as well as neurotransmitters including serotonin. Cortisol has been found to increase blood sugar, suppress the immune system, and decrease bone formation – all “bad” things. Cortisol, when you are under any type of stress (physical, psychological, emotional, etc.), inhibits serotonin. Serotonin has been thought to be a contributor of feelings of well-being and happiness in humans – “good” things. I would hypothesize that after spinal manipulation, there would be a decrease in cortisol and an increase in serotonin production in the body. This means that there would be a decrease in the “bad” (cortisol) and an increase in the “good” (serotonin), which would assist the body in any type of recovery process including physical rehabilitation.
Please take a look at the following link where my close friend and colleague, Dr. John Minardi, briefly discusses how a spinal adjustment can affect the body in more than a biomechanical way.
If you have any questions, please feel free to comment, I would be happy to answer!