Date of Award


Document Type

Access Controlled Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Peter McGinnis, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Larissa True, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Erik Lind, Ph.D.


Purpose – To study the effects of spinal manipulation on running economy, running efficiency and psychological measures associated with a running effort. Methods – Twelve healthy adults, five women and seven men, (ages 18-40 years) participated in the cross-over design study where over a three-week period they were asked to attend two test sessions: a Control session and an Experimental session. During each test session, a participant performed a 3-minute Queens College Step Test (QCST) to determine an estimate of VO2 max followed by two 5-minute bouts of treadmill running at an estimated 80% VO2 max pace during which expired gas was collected and analyzed at 30 second intervals. During the first test session, each participant was randomly assigned to the Experimental (spinal manipulation) group or the Control group. In the second test session they were assigned to the other group. Participants assigned to the Experimental group during a test session received a spinal manipulation at the 15-minute mark of the 20-minute rest period between the first and second treadmill run. Participants assigned to the Control group test session did not experience a spinal manipulation during the rest period. Additionally, during each test session four psychological questionnaires were completed (two subjective, two perceptual) to document participant reactions to the QCST and reactions to the running efforts in the Experimental and Control phases of the study.

Measures – Two sets of measures were recorded in this study, physiological and psychological. The physiological measures were VO2 consumption, respiratory exchange ratio (RER) and running economy (RE). The psychological measures were relative perceived exertion (RPE), the Feelings Scale (FS), Attentional Thoughts Scale (ATS) and the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES).

Analysis – Statistical analyses were conducted to compare pre-/post- changes in the variables between the Control and Experimental conditions. Statistical significance was set at p

Conclusion – Changes from pre- to post-treatment trials for two of the seven measures were statistically significantly different between the Control and Experimental phases and supported the thesis hypotheses. Desirable changes of practical importance were noted in six of the seven measures. The implications both physiologically and psychologically trend towards concluding that spinal manipulation of a trained running population can have a performance enhancing effect.