Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the immediate effects of thoracic spine thrust manipulation (TSM) on the upper limb provocation test (ULPT) and seated slump test (SST) in individuals with identified neurodynamic mobility impairments. A secondary aim was to determine if correlation existed between the perception of effect and improvements in neurodynamic mobility following a thrust manipulation compared with mobilization.
Methods: A pretest-posttest experimental design randomized 48 adults into 2 groups: TSM or mobilization. Participants with identified neurodynamic mobility impairment as assessed with the ULPT or SST received a pre-assigned intervention (TSM, n = 64 limbs; mobilization, n = 66 limbs). Perception of effect was assessed to determine its influence on outcome. Repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to examine the effects of intervention, and Fisher’s exact test and independent t tests were used to determine the influence of perception.
Results: Both the ULPT (P < .001) and SST (P < .001) revealed improvements at posttest regardless of intervention. The ULPT effect sizes for TSM (d = 0.70) and mobilization (d = 0.69) groups were medium. For the SST, the effect size for the TSM group (d = 0.53) was medium, whereas that for the mobilization group (d = 0.26) was small. Participants in the mobilization group with positive perception had significantly greater (P < .05) mean neurodynamic mobility changes than those with a negative perception.
Conclusions: Neurodynamic mobility impairment improved regardless of intervention. The magnitude of change was greater in the ULPT than SST. Although both interventions appeared to yield similar outcomes, individuals who received mobilization and expressed a positive perception of effect exhibited significantly greater changes in neurodynamic mobility than those without a positive perception.
Author keywords: Manipulation, Spinal; Spine; Thoracic Vertebrae
Author affiliations: AJH, AJL, SAH: Division of Physical Therapy, Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia; JKG: College of Health Professions, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut
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