What is the effect of spinal manipulation on the pressure pain threshold in young, asymptomatic subjects? A randomized placebo-controlled trial, with a cross-over design

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Abstract

Background: Spinal manipulation (SM) has been shown to have an effect on the pressure pain threshold (PPT) in asymptomatic subjects, but SM has never been compared in studies on this topic to a validated sham procedure. We investigated the effect of SM on the PPT when measured i) in the area of intervention and ii) in an area remote from the intervention. In addition, we measured the size and duration of the effect. Method: In a randomized cross-over trial, 50 asymptomatic chiropractic students had their PPT measured at baseline, immediately after and every 12 min after intervention, over a period of 45 min, comparing values after SM and a previously validated sham. The trial was conducted during two sessions, separated by 48 h. PPT was measured both regionally and remotely from the 'treated' thoracic segment. Blinding of study subjects was tested with a post-intervention questionnaire. We used mixed linear regression with the baseline value and time as co-variates. If a significant difference were found between groups, then an effect size would be calculated using Cohen's d or Hedge's h coefficient. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05. Results: Study subjects had been successfully blinded. No statistically significant differences were found between SM and sham estimates, at any time or anatomical location. Conclusion: When compared to a valid sham procedure and with successfully blinded subjects, there is no regional or remote effect of spinal manipulation of the thoracic spine on the pressure pain threshold in a young pain-free population.

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Honoré, M., Picchiottino, M., Wedderkopp, N., Leboeuf-Yde, C., & Gagey, O. (2020). What is the effect of spinal manipulation on the pressure pain threshold in young, asymptomatic subjects? A randomized placebo-controlled trial, with a cross-over design. Chiropractic and Manual Therapies, 28(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12998-020-0296-1

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