The use of the skin roll technique as an indicator of spinal joint dysfunction (fixations) has not previously been subjected to validity testing. This study was undertaken to determine the degree of correlation between the skin roll technique and spinal joint dysfunction in the thoracic spine.
Twenty-five (25) subjects reported tenderness to a paraspinal skin roll along the first ten thoracic vertebrae. At the tender areas elicited during the skin roll, a pressure algometer was used to determine the subject’s pressure pain threshold. Static joint challenging as described by Maigne was utilized by an independent examiner to identify levels of spinal joint dysfunction in the first ten thoracic vertebrae in the same subjects. A moderate, but highly significant correlation (Kappa = 0.48, p ≤ .001) was found relating a tender point on skin roll to a spinal joint dysfunction within one vertebrae above or below the level of the tender point. Pressure algometer readings revealed a highly statistically significant (p ≤ 0.0005) decrease in pain threshold tolerance at the level of a tender skin roll as compared to control (non-tender) points.
These findings suggest a moderate level of support for the validity of the notion that spinal dysfunction is characterized by loss of joint motion and contiguous paraspinal tenderness.
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