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

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