2. Adjunct Faculty, Purdue University Global, USA.
Background: Different clinicians use heart rate tests to answer different questions. The medical doctor for example might use heart rate to diagnose a medical condition. One approach in chiropractic practice is to use heart rate information to assess the health of the autonomic nervous system. This retrospective case study uses outlier analysis for resting heart rate (HR) and resting heart rate variability (HRV) to assess the neurological efficacy of a single spinal adjustment for an individual patient.The purpose of the study is to show how basic statistical analysis can be used to assess neurological efficacy of a chiropractic adjustment on an individual patient basis.
Methods: HR and HRV were measured twice before the spinal adjustment, then once immediately following the adjustment and another measurement 2 weeks later. The four readings for each measure (HR and HRV) were analyzed using the inter-quartile method of outlier detection.
Results: The immediate post-adjustment findings for both measures remained essentially unchanged compared to the two pre-adjustment readings. However, the follow-up visit showed substantial improvement for both measures to the extent that they were shown to be statistical outliers.
Conclusion: This patient experienced statistically unusual autonomic improvement following a spinal adjustment according to HR and HRV, though the improvement was not measurable until 2 weeks later. Further study in other patients is planned.
Keywords: Chiropractic adjustment, resting heart rate, heart rate variability, biostatistics