My background is as a chiropractic clinician of 15 years who left a successful private practice to pursue a full time research career investigating biological mechanisms underlying spinal manual therapy (SMT; spinal manipulation/mobilization) approaches to musculoskeletal pain. I received an NIH Career Development Award that focused on the investigating the effects of spinal joint dysfunction on lumbar muscle spindle afferent discharge during spinal manipulation. This work has led to investigating the muscle spindle response to commercially available manipulation-assisted clinical devices that deliver rapid thrusts (<3ms) in animal models. Recently, it has become increasingly recognized that SMT results in immediate and widespread clinical hypoalgesia via central mechanisms. Therefore, to begin investigating supraspinal effects of SMT, my laboratory conducted several electrophysiology studies investigating thalamic neuron responses to simulated SMT in asymptomatic rodents. Currently we are studying the analgesic effects of SMT in a rodent low back pain model. We hope to identify sensory neuron mechanisms responsible for musculoskeletal pain relief resulting from SMT intervention. This new knowledge will provide much needed insights into mechanisms of SMT, which will ultimately translate into optimization and greater utilization of this nonpharamcological therapeutic approach to acute and chronic pain conditions in humans.