The immediate effect of low back manipulation on serum cortisol levels in adult males with mechanical low back pain
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Objectives: To determine if serum cortisol levels are increased following Spinal Manipulation Therapy (SMT) to the low back region and to determine the effect of a short rest interval on the cortisol levels. Project Design: The research project was in the form of a randomised, clinical trial using human subjects. Setting: Patients presenting with low back pain to the Chiropractic Day Clinic at the Durban Institute of Technology and the Community Health and Indigent Programme Services clinic. Subjects: Adult, male patients, aged between 18 and 35 years of age, diagnosed with mechanical low back pain. Outcome measure: Daytime, serum cortisol levels. Results: A decrease in serum cortisol levels following SMT. Serum cortisol levels decreased significantly following a short rest interval. Conclusions: The results of this study support the previous finding that a neuroendocrine effect can be stimulated by SMT, albeit, a decrease in serum cortisol levels. A short-term rest period also influenced the serum cortisol levels. However, the mechanism of these effects is not established and requires further investigation as this was not within the scope of the present study.