Study design: Pilot randomized controlled trial.
Background: Better understanding of the relative effectiveness of different approaches to cervical spine mobilization has been identified as a research priority in manual therapy practice. Two distinct approaches to the practice of mobilization have emerged in recent years, based on different reasoning models for selection of mobilization techniques. The objective of this pilot study was to assess feasibility aspects for a future randomized clinical trial by exploring short-term pain and disability outcomes after a single treatment with pragmatic versus prescriptive approaches to cervical mobilization for people with recent-onset neck pain at 48-h follow-up after randomization.
Methods: Twenty adults with a new episode of mechanical neck pain were randomly allocated to either pragmatic or prescriptive mobilization intervention groups. The pragmatic group received a single treatment of cervical mobilization with the technique, target segment, and grade selected by their treating therapist. The prescriptive group received a single treatment of standardized mobilization with techniques similar to a previous mobilization clinical trial. Feasibility outcomes were recruitment rates, randomization audit and completion of treatment and follow-up per protocol. The primary clinical outcome of interest was disability level measured at 48-h follow-up after randomization.
Results: Recruitment rates were approximately 2.5 participants per week and 100% of eligible participants were deemed suitable for treatment with cervical mobilization. There was sufficient variety in the range of pragmatic treatments selected and the data collection process imposed minimal burden on participants.
Conclusions: Our results provide supporting evidence for the feasibility of a future larger scale randomized clinical trial.
Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12616000446460). Registered 6th April 2016.
Author keywords: Mobilization — Neck pain — Spinal manipulation — Manual therapy
Author affiliations: The University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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