Friday, December 19, 2008

Audible crack of manipulation

Clinicians routinely consider the success of a thrust manipulation technique based on the presence or absence of an audible pop despite the lack of evidence suggesting that this pop is associated with improved outcomes. Cleland JA et al determined the relationship between the number of audible pops with thoracic spinal manipulation and improvement in pain and function in patients with mechanical neck pain.
The study:
78 patients referred to physical therapy with mechanical neck pain underwent a standardized examination and thoracic spine manipulation treatment protocol. All patients were treated with a total of 6 thrust manipulation techniques directed to the thoracic spine followed by a basic cervical range of motion exercise. The treating clinician recorded the presence or absence of a pop during each manipulation.
The result & conclusion:
The results of this analysis provide preliminary evidence for the hypothesis that there is no relationship between the number of audible pops during thoracic spine thrust manipulation and clinically meaningful improvements in pain, disability, or CROM in patients with mechanical neck pain. Additionally, a greater number of audible pops experienced was not associated with a dramatic improvement with manipulation treatment.

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