Immediate Effects of Inhibitive Distraction on Active Range of Cervical Flexion in Patients with Neck Pain: A Pilot Study

Kristin Briem, Peter Huijbregts, Maria Thorsteinsdottir

The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the immediate effects of a manual therapy technique called Inhibitive Distraction (ID) on active range of motion (AROM) for cervical flexion in patients with neck pain with or without concomitant headache. A secondary objective of this study was to see whether patient subgroups could be identified who might benefit more from ID by studying variables such as age, pain intensity, presence of headache, or pre-intervention AROM. Forty subjects were randomly assigned to an experimental and a control group. The between-group difference in AROM increase was not statistically significant with a mean post-intervention increase in ROM of 2.4º for the experimental group and 1.2º for the placebo group.  Potential subgroups more likely to respond to ID were not identified, although a trend emerged for greater improvement in chronic patients with headaches, lower pain levels, and less pre-intervention AROM. The authors concluded that this study did not confirm immediate effects of ID on cervical flexion AROM but did provide indications for potential subgroups likely to benefit from this technique.

The Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 2007, 15(2), 82-89

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