Short-Term Effects of Thrust Versus Nonthrust Mobilization/Manipulation Directed at the Thoracic Spine in Patients With Neck Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Joshua A Cleland, Paul Glynn, Julie M Whitman, Sarah L Eberhart, Cameron MacDonald and John D Childs

The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of thoracic spine thrust mobilization/manipulation with that of nonthrust mobilization/manipulation in patients with a primary complaint of mechanical neck pain.  After the baseline evaluation subjects were randomly assigned to receive either thoracic spine thrust or nonthrust mobilization/manipulation. The subjects were reexamined 2 to 4 days after the initial examination.  Sixty patients with a mean age of 43.3 years satisfied the eligibility criteria and agreed to participate in the study. Subjects who received thrust mobilization/manipulation experienced greater reductions in disability and in pain. Subjects in the thrust mobilization/manipulation group exhibited significantly higher scores on the GROC Scale at the time of follow-up. No differences in the frequencies, durations, and types of side effects existed between the groups. The authors conclude that the results suggest that thoracic spine thrust mobilization/manipulation results in significantly greater short-term reductions in pain and disability than does thoracic nonthrust mobilization/manipulation in people with neck pain.

Physical Therapy, Vol. 87, No. 4, April 2007, pp. 431-440

View Abstract

Neck Pain

Out of all 291 conditions studied in the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study, neck pain ranked 4th highest in terms of disability and 21st in terms of overall burden.

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