Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology and Health

First Advisor

Mark D. Geil

Second Advisor

Jianhua Wu



Many chiropractic articles and textbooks discuss gait, but there actually has been little research into the effects of chiropractic adjustment on gait. This pilot study used a quantitative method of gait evaluation before and after a series of chiropractic visits. Hypotheses: (1) adults with chronic low back pain (CLBP) would show increased variability in vertical ground reaction forces (VGRF) while walking, as compared to healthy control subjects, and (2) that, following chiropractic care, will show decreased variability.


VGRF data were collected for 6 controls and compared to 9 CLBP participants, who were also evaluated before and after the first visit of care and over 7 visits. Data were analyzed by Mean Standard Deviation (MSD), Mean Coefficient of Variation (MCV), and the Coefficient of Variation of loading rate. Chiropractic care consisted of “high velocity low amplitude” thrust type procedures, flexion-distraction, pelvic wedges, light mobilization, and stretching.


CLBP participants had somewhat greater variability and became slightly less variable post-care; differences were not significant. Limitations: Some participants had no impairment of walking at baseline; MSD is an uncommon measure, and more research is needed; these results (small group seen by a single doctor) may not be generalizable.


Participants with CLBP had slightly more variability and had slight decreases in variability following chiropractic care. Differences were not statistically significant. With this small pilot study as a guide, more research should be done with larger groups and improved participant selection.


Included in

Kinesiology Commons