Methods: A prospective, blinded, randomized placebo-controlled pilot trial was conducted with 20 symptomatic and 10 asymptomatic participants recruited from a chiropractic teaching clinic. The treatment group received SMT, and the control group received placebo detuned ultrasound. Responsiveness was evaluated as the etiologic fraction (% of cases with EFI attributable to SMT) and as the sensitivity and specificity of change.
Results: For the entire sample, the etiologic fraction was 63% (P = .002), sensitivity was 93%, and specificity was 67%. For symptomatic participants, a strong relationship appeared to exist between receiving SMT and EFI (etiologic fraction = 78%, P = .006; sensitivity = 90%; specificity = 80%). A strong relationship was not found for asymptomatic participants (etiologic fraction = 40%, P = .444; sensitivity = 100%; specificity = 40%), where EFI was recorded frequently, whether participants received SMT or detuned ultrasound.
The findings of this study showed that motion palpation of end-feel assessment appears to be a responsive postmanipulation assessment tool in the cervical spine for determining whether perceived motion restriction found before treatment improves after SMT. This observation may be limited to symptomatic participants.
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