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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2017 June;53(3):333-41

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.17.04431-8

Copyright © 2017 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

Effect of cervical vs. thoracic spinal manipulation on peripheral neural features and grip strength in subjects with chronic mechanical neck pain: a randomized controlled trial

Francisco BAUTISTA-AGUIRRE 1, 2, Ángel, OLIVA-PASCUAL-VACA 3 , Alberto M. HEREDIA-RIZO 3, Juan J. BOSCÁ-GANDÍA 2, François RICARD 2, Cleofás RODRIGUEZ-BLANCO 3

1 Department of Physical Therapy, European University, Valencia, Spain; 2 Madrid Osteopathic School, Madrid, Spain; 3 Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Podology, University of Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain


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BACKGROUND: Cervical and thoracic spinal manipulative therapy has shown positive impact for relief of pain and improve function in non-specific mechanical neck pain. Several attempts have been made to compare their effectiveness although previous studies lacked a control group, assessed acute neck pain or combined thrust and non-thrust techniques.
AIM: To compare the immediate effects of cervical and thoracic spinal thrust manipulations on mechanosensitivity of upper limb nerve trunks and grip strength in patients with chronic non-specific mechanical neck pain.
DESIGN: Randomized, single-blinded, controlled clinical trial.
SETTING: Private physiotherapy clinical consultancy.
POPULATION: Eighty-eight subjects (32.09±6.05 years; 72.7% females) suffering neck pain (grades I or II) of at least 12 weeks of duration.
METHODS: Participants were distributed into three groups: 1) cervical group (N.=28); 2) thoracic group (N.=30); and 3) control group (N.=30). One treatment session consisting of applying a high-velocity low-amplitude spinal thrust technique over the lower cervical spine (C7) or the upper thoracic spine (T3) was performed, while the control group received a sham-manual contact. Measurements were taken at baseline and after intervention of the pressure pain threshold over the median, ulnar and radial nerves. Secondary measures included assessing free-pain grip strength with a hydraulic dynamometer.
RESULTS: No statistically significant differences were observed when comparing between-groups in any of the outcome measures (P>0.05). Those who received thrust techniques, regardless of the manipulated area, reported an immediate increase in mechanosensitivity over the radial (both sides) and left ulnar nerve trunks (P<0.05), and grip strength (P<0.001). For those in the control group, right hand grip strength and pain perception over the radial nerve also improved (P≤0.025).
CONCLUSIONS: Low-cervical and upper-thoracic thrust manipulation is no more effective than placebo to induce immediate changes on mechanosensitivity of upper limb nerve trunks and grip strength in patients with chronic non-specific mechanical neck pain.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: A single treatment session using cervical or thoracic thrust techniques is not enough to achieve clinically relevant changes on neural mechanosensitivity and grip strength in chronic non-specific mechanical neck pain.


KEY WORDS: Brachial plexus - Hand strength - Neck pain - Pain threshold - Musculoskeletal manipulations

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