OBJECTIVE: To determine the biomechanical characteristics of five clinically common methods of cervical spine manipulation.
DESIGN: Descriptive study.
SETTING: Human Performance Lab, University of Calgary.
PARTICIPANTS: Five volunteer practitioners treating symptomatic patients from their own clinical populations.
INTERVENTION: Five commonly used methods of cervical spine manipulation: lateral break (LAT), Gonstead (GON), Activator (ACT), toggle (TOG), rotation (ROT).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Mean thrust duration (msec), normalized mean peak force (N), slope (N/msec), force profile (graphic representation of the above values.
RESULTS: Outcome measures for each manipulative technique were as follows: LAT = normalized mean peak force of 102.2 N at 86.7 msec, GON = 109.8 N at 91.9 msec, ACT = 40.9 N at 31.8 msec, TOG = 117.6 N at 47.5 msec, ROT = 40.5 N at 79.1 msec.
CONCLUSION: The observed differences and similarities in force profiles between the five techniques studied here may partly be the manifestation of how a particular technique delivers force to the cervical spine. The clinical significance of force profile characterization is not yet known.
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