OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to determine the immediate effects of a manual therapy technique consisting of axial traction compared with side lying on increased spine height after sustained loading.
METHODS: Twenty-one asymptomatic participants were included. Participants either received manual therapy technique consisting of manual axial traction force for 2 consecutive rounds of 3 minutes or sustained side lying for 10 minutes. Spine height was measured using a commercially available stadiometer. Spinal height change was determined from measurements taken after loaded walking and measurements taken after manual therapy. A paired t test was performed to determine if a manual therapy technique consisting of axial traction increased spinal height after a period of spinal loading.
RESULTS: A significant increase in height was found after both manual therapy technique and sustained side lying (P < .0001). The mean height gain was 8.60 mm using 3-dimensional axial separation.
CONCLUSION: This study is an initial attempt at evaluating the biomechanical effects of manual therapy technique consisting of axial traction. Both manual axial traction force and sustained side-lying position were equally effective for short-term change in spine height after a loaded walking protocol among healthy asymptomatic individuals. This study protocol may help to inform future studies that evaluate spine height after loading.
Author keywords: Musculoskeletal Manipulations, Traction, Intervertebral Disc
Author affiliations: Department of Physical Therapy, Hampton University, Hampton, VA.
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