Motor training and cervical spine manipulation: effects on sensorimotor integration
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Altered afferent input resulting from neck joint dysfunction has become a growing area of study. Cervical spine manipulation, specifically in individuals with subclinical neck pain (SNCP); induces neurological changes, suggesting it has a positive neuromodulatory effect on brain processing. The effects of manipulation on motor learning in individuals with SCNP have not been investigated until now. Studies in this thesis sought to develop and investigate a novel motor training task to be coupled with cervical spine manipulation to investigate its effects on individual’s ability to process new task information. The studies revealed significant changes in neural activity specific to the cerebellum and sensorimotor integration following a complex motor training task as compared to a simple repetitive task, suggesting that those specific regions are involved in processing of more complex motor skill learning tasks. This novel task was then coupled with manipulation which revealed significant activation increases in cortical and decreases in subcortical brain regions following manipulation. Regions specific to sensorimotor integration (SMI) showed increased activation in both the manipulation and passive head movement control groups, corroborating with the results from the first study. The use of a complex motor training task is a useful tool for determining intervention effects on neural processing in individuals with SCNP.