Spinal Manipulation and Infectious Disease

A recently published JAMA Network Open “Original Investigation” systematic review examined the available evidence related to the impact of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) on infectious disease and immune function.  This is particularly timely during the current pandemic where evidence-based information is beneficial to guide treatment recommendations from a public health and individual clinical decision making perspective.

The article underscores that the basic science research provides a mechanism for SMT to influence the immune system; however, studies thus far have not detected the clinical effect in terms of preventing infection or improving immune function. Further studies that specifically investigate “efficacy”, meaning the clinical effect of SMT on preventing and treating infectious diseases, and “effectiveness”, meaning the applicability of those efficacy studies to the wider population, need to be proven before clinical recommendations can be stated about SMT and infectious diseases.