Quantification of Prone Thoracic Manipulation Using Inertial Sensor-Derived Accelerations

This study’s goal was to determine the linear acceleration, time-to-peak acceleration, and effect of hand position comparing 2 clinicians completing a thoracic manipulation. Thirteen volunteers were given a right- and left-“handed” prone thoracic manipulation while accelerations were recorded by an inertial sensor. Peak thrust acceleration and time-to-peak thrust were measured. There were differences in thrust acceleration between right- and left-handed techniques for one therapist. The mean peak thrust acceleration was not the same between therapists, with the more practiced therapist demonstrating greater peak thrust accelerations. Time-to-peak acceleration also revealed between therapist differences, with the more practiced therapist showing shorter time-to-peak acceleration. Cavitation data suggested that manipulations with greater accelerations were more likely to result in cavitation.

The results of this study indicate that with greater frequency of use, therapists are likely to achieve greater accelerations and shorter time-to-peak accelerations. In addition, this study showed that an inertial sensor can be employed to quantify important variables during thoracic manipulation and are able to detect intertherapist variations in technique.