To compare the effects of different rates of application of a cervical mobilisation technique on sympathetic outflow to the upper limb in normal subjects

Man Ther. 1996 Sep;1(4):198-203. doi: 10.1054/math.1996.0269.


SUMMARY. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of different rates of application of a commonly used physiotherapeutic spinal manipulative therapy technique on sympathetic function in normal pain-free volunteers. A randomized, repeated measures, double blind, controlled study design was used to investigate the effects of two different rates of a C5 grade III central postero-anterior mobilization technique on skin conductance (SC) and skin temperature (ST) in the distal C6 dermatome of asymptomatic subjects. Sixteen asymptomatic male volunteers participated in the study. Application of a C5 central postero-anterior grade III mobilization at the rate of 2Hz produced significantly greater increases in SC values than that at the rate of 0.5 Hz and control.The results of this study suggest that mobilization with the rate which is commonly used clinically causes a greater increase in sympathetic efferent activity in the upper limb of normal pain-free volunteers than a slower rate. These results may also provide a basis for further investigation into the physiological effects of different rates of mobilization and in particular exploration of the relationship between changes in sympathetic function following mobilization and manipulation-induced analgesia. Copyright 1996 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.