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J Chiropr Med. 2013 Sep;12(3):153-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2013.10.008.

Immediate effects of lower cervical spine manipulation on handgrip strength and free-throw accuracy of asymptomatic basketball players: a pilot study.

Author information

Graduate Student, Texas Chiropractic College, Pasadena, TX.
Associate Professor/Research Fellow, Department of Physiology and Chemistry, Texas Chiropractic College, Pasadena, TX.
Professor, Chairman, Department of Clinical Specialties, Texas Chiropractic College, Pasadena, TX.
Assistant Professor, Department of Fitness and Human Performance, University of Houston-Clear Lake, Clear Lake, TX.
Assistant Professor, Division of Clinics Texas Chiropractic College, Pasadena, TX.



The purpose of this pilot study was to collect preliminary information for a study to determine the immediate effects of a single unilateral chiropractic manipulation to the lower cervical spine on handgrip strength and free-throw accuracy in asymptomatic male recreational basketball players.


For this study, 24 asymptomatic male recreational right-handed basketball players (age = 26.3 ± 9.2 years, height = 1.81 ± 0.07 m, body mass = 82.6 ± 10.4 kg [mean ± SD]) underwent baseline dominant handgrip isometric strength and free-throw accuracy testing in an indoor basketball court. They were then equally randomized to receive either (1) diversified left lower cervical spine chiropractic manipulative therapy (CMT) at C5/C6 or (2) placebo CMT at C5/C6 using an Activator adjusting instrument on zero force setting. Participants then underwent posttesting of isometric handgrip strength and free-throw accuracy. A paired-samples t test was used to make within-group pre to post comparisons and between-group pre to post comparisons.


No statistically significant difference was shown between either of the 2 basketball performance variables measured in either group. Isometric handgrip strength marginally improved by 0.7 kg (mean) in the CMT group (P = .710). Free-throw accuracy increased by 13.2% in the CMT group (P = .058). The placebo CMT group performed the same or more poorly during their second test session.


The results of this preliminary study showed that a single lower cervical spine manipulation did not significantly impact basketball performance for this group of healthy asymptomatic participants. A slight increase in free-throw percentage was seen, which deserves further investigation. This pilot study demonstrates that a larger study to evaluate if CMT affects handgrip strength and free-throw accuracy is feasible.


Chiropractic; Exercise; Manipulation, spinal

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