Objective: We developed an adjusting bench with a force plate supporting the lumbar portion to measure loads transmitted during lumbar manual adjustment. It will be used to provide force-feedback to enhance student learning in technique labs. The study goal is to define the learning target loads and speeds, with instructors as expert models.
Methods: A total of 11 faculty members experienced in teaching Gonstead technique methods performed 81 simulated adjustments on a mannequin on the force plate. Adjustments were along 9 lumbopelvic “listings” at 3 load levels: light, normal, and heavy. We analyzed the thrusts to find preload, peak load, duration, and thrust rate.
Results: Analysis of 891 thrusts showed wide variations between doctors. Peak loads ranged from 100 to 1400 N. All doctors showed clear distinctions between peak load levels, but there was overlap between high and low loads. Thrust rates were more uniform across doctors, averaging 3 N/ms.
Conclusion: These faculty members delivered a range of thrusts, not unlike those seen in the literature for high velocity, low amplitude manipulation. We have established at least minimum force and speed targets for student performance, but more work must be done to create a normative adjustment to guide refinement of student learning.
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