Antinociceptive Effects of Spinal Manipulative Therapy on Nociceptive Behavior of Adult Rats during the Formalin Test

Academic Article


  • Optimizing pain relief resulting from spinal manipulative therapies, including low velocity variable amplitude spinal manipulation (LVVA-SM), requires determining their mechanisms. Pain models that incorporate simulated spinal manipulative therapy treatments are needed for these studies. The antinociceptive effects of a single LVVA-SM treatment on rat nociceptive behavior during the commonly used formalin test were investigated. Dilute formalin was injected subcutaneously into a plantar hindpaw. Licking behavior was video-recorded for 5 minutes. Ten minutes of LVVA-SM at 20° flexion was administered with a custom-made device at the lumbar (L5) vertebra of isoflurane-anesthetized experimental rats (n = 12) beginning 10 minutes after formalin injection. Hindpaw licking was video-recorded for 60 minutes beginning 5 minutes after LVVA-SM. Control rats (n = 12) underwent the same methods except for LVVA-SM. The mean times spent licking the formalin-injected hindpaw of both groups 1-5 minutes after injection were not different. The mean licking time during the first 20 minutes post-LVVA-SM of experimental rats was significantly less than that of control rats (P < 0.001). The mean licking times of both groups during the second and third 20 minutes post-LVVA-SM were not different. Administration of LVVA-SM had a short-term, remote antinociceptive effect similar to clinical findings. Therefore, mechanistic investigations using this experimental approach are warranted.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Onifer SM; Reed WR; Sozio RS; Long CR
  • Volume

  • 2015