Objectives: The purpose of this preliminary study is to determine muscle spindle response characteristics related to the use of 2 solenoid powered clinical mechanically assisted manipulation (MAM) devices.
Methods: L6 muscle spindle afferents with receptive fields in paraspinal muscles were isolated in 6 cats. Neural recordings were made during L7 MAM thrusts using the Activator V (Activator Methods Int. Ltd., Phoenix, AZ) and/or Pulstar (Sense Technology Inc., Pittsburgh, PA) devices at their 3 lowest force settings. Mechanically assisted manipulation response measures included (a) the time required post-thrust until the first action potential, (b) differences in mean frequency (MF) and mean instantaneous frequency (MIF) 2 seconds before and after MAM, and (c) the time required for muscle spindle discharge (MF and MIF) to return to 95% of baseline after MAM.
Results: Depending on device setting, between 44% to 80% (Pulstar) and 11% to 63% (Activator V) of spindle afferents required >6 seconds to return to within 95% of baseline MF values; whereas 66% to 89% (Pulstar) and 75% to 100% (Activator V) of spindle responses returned to within 95% of baseline MIF in <6 seconds after MAM. Nonparametric comparisons between the 22 N and 44 N settings of the Pulstar yielded significant differences for the time required to return to baseline MF and MIF.
Conclusion: Short duration (<10 ms) MAM thrusts decrease muscle spindle discharge with a majority of afferents requiring prolonged periods (>6 seconds) to return to baseline MF activity. Physiological consequences and clinical relevance of described MAM mechanoreceptor responses will require additional investigation.
Author keywords: Spinal Manipulation, Muscle Spindles, Afferent Neurons, Spine
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