Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine whether cerebral activation in response to noxious mechanical stimuli varies with thrust manipulation (TM) when compared with sham manipulation (SM) as measured by blood oxygenation level–dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Methods: Twenty-four volunteers (67% female) with complaints of acute or subacute mechanical (nontraumatic) neck pain satisfied eligibility requirements and agreed to participate. Participants were randomized to receive TM to the thoracic spine or SM, and then underwent functional magnetic resonance scanning while receiving noxious stimuli before and after TM or SM. An 11-point numeric pain rating scale was administered pre- and postmanipulation for neck pain and to determine perceptions of pain intensity with respect to neck pain and mechanical stimuli. Blood oxygenation level–dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging recorded the cerebral hemodynamic response to the mechanical stimuli.
Results: Imaging revealed significant group differences, with those individuals in the manipulation group exhibiting increased areas of activation (postmanipulation) in the insular and somatosensory cortices and individuals in the sham group exhibiting greater areas of activation in the precentral gyrus, supplementary motor area, and cingulate cortices (P < .05). However, between-group differences on the numeric pain rating scale for mechanical stimuli and for self-reported neck pain were not statistically significant.
Conclusions: This study provides preliminary level 2b evidence suggesting cortical responses in patients with nontraumatic neck pain may vary between thoracic TM and a sham comparator.
Author keywords: Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Manipulation; Neuroscience; Pain
Author affiliations: CLS: OSF Healthcare. Rehabilitation Center of Expertise (United States / Illinois / Peoria); WCL: OSF Healthcare. Saint Francis Medical Center. Department of Radiology (United States / Illinois / Peoria);JAC: Franklin Pierce University. Department of Physical Therapy (United States / New Hampshire / Concord); JPK: Bradley University. Department of Physical Therapy (United States / Illinois / Peoria); SJD, KMS: OSF Healthcare. OSF Rehabilitation at Saint Francis Medical Center (United States / Illinois / Peoria); JME: Northwestern University. Feinberg School of Medicine (United States / Illinois / Chicago)
This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher; full text is available by subscription. Click on the above link and select a publisher from PubMed's LinkOut feature