Methods: A single-blind randomized clinical trial was completed with 18 participants with LE. Each subject attended 1 experimental session. Participants were randomized to receive either a cervical or thoracic spine manipulation. Pressure pain threshold over the lateral epicondyle of both elbows pain-free grip strength on the affected arm and maximum grip force on the unaffected side were assessed preintervention and 5 minutes postintervention by an examiner blind to group assignment. A 3-way analysis of variance with time and side as within-subject variable and intervention as between-subject variable was used to evaluate changes in PPT and pain-free grip.
Results: The analysis of variance detected a significant interaction between group and time (F = 31.7, P < .000) for PPT levels. Post hoc testing revealed that the cervical spine manipulation produced a greater increase of PPT in both sides compared with thoracic spine manipulation (P < .001). For pain-free grip strength, no interaction between group and time (F = .66, P = .42) existed.
Conclusions: Cervical spine manipulation produced greater changes in PPT than thoracic spine manipulation in patients with LE. No differences between groups were identified for pain-free grip. Future studies with larger sample sizes are required to further examine the effects of manipulation on mechanisms of pain and motor control in upper extremity conditions.
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