Nine subjects with chronic mechanical neck pain syndromes were evaluated for pressure pain threshold (PPT) over standardized tender points in the paraspinal area surrounding a manipulable spinal lesion. The subjects were then allocated randomly to an intervention consisting of either an oscillatory mobilization of the cervical spine (n = 4), which was designated as the control procedure, or a rotational manipulation of the cervical spine (n = 5). An assessor-blinded re-evaluation of the pressure pain threshold levels was conducted after 5 min. In the group receiving a manipulation the mean increases in pressure pain threshold ranged from 40-56% with an average of 45%. In the control group no change in any of the pressure pain thresholds was found. These results were analyzed using ANOVA and were found to be statistically significant (p less than 0.0001). This study confirms that manipulation can increase local paraspinal pain threshold levels. The use of the pressure pain threshold meter allows for the determination of such a beneficial effect in the deeper tissues.
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