Palmer Research, U of KY scientists and students to study spinal manipulative therapy mechanisms
Scientists at the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR) and the University of Kentucky have been awarded a $451,522 grant by the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. The grant will fund a three-year research project to learn more about spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), a treatment commonly used by doctors of chiropractic to relieve pain.
“We still know very little about how SMT alleviates pain,” said principal investigator Stephen Onifer, Ph.D., associate professor at the PCCR. “This study addresses that knowledge gap by investigating the underlying factors of pain relief following SMT.”
The project also includes a student research training component, the first of its kind at a chiropractic college. Doctor of chiropractic students on Palmer’s Davenport campus will have an opportunity to obtain hands-on laboratory experience by working with scientists.
The PCCR is partnering with co-principal investigator Bradley K. Taylor, Ph.D., at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Ky. Dr. Taylor is a university research professor in the Department of Physiology and serves as director of the Center for Analgesia Research Excellence. “After a traumatic injury, our bodies release natural chemicals called neurotransmitters that attach to receptors in the spinal cord and brain and block pain. This study tests the idea that SMT provides pain relief upon the activation of one important class of these neurotransmitters.”
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, headquartered on Palmer College of Chiropractic’s campus in Davenport, Iowa, is the most highly funded chiropractic research center in the U.S. Within the past 10 years, the PCCR has been awarded grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and the Department of Defense, in addition to private foundation grants. Since 2000, these grants have totaled more than $35 million.