Torque: an appraisal of misuse of terminology in chiropractic literature and technique

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1996 Sep;19(7):454-62.


Objective: To assess the use of the term "torque" in the chiropractic literature and to analyze its usage in chiropractic technique procedures.

Data sources, study selection and data extraction: Articles were retrieved through literature searches of several indexing services [(MEDLINE, Index to Chiropractic Literature, Chiropractic Research Archives Collection (CRAC) and Chiropractic Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (ChiroLARS)] and hand searches in the technique section of a chiropractic college library. From textbooks, key terms included: Torque, Torsion, Biomechanics, Physics, Chiropractic, Nomenclature and Manipulation. For MEDLINE: Torque, Chiropractic Methods, Manipulation-Spinal Methods, Biomechanics, Nomenclature and Chiropractic Terminology. Texts and papers that discussed the word "torque" were reviewed for their association with the thrust of a spinal adjustment. Inferences of "torque" and its application were included to represent the present-day usage of the term in chiropractic.

Conclusions: We believe that the term torque is misused in chiropractic literature. This misuse has been perpetuated in chiropractic college courses, student clinic examinations and state and national board examinations. We strongly suggest that references to the term torque that are not biomechanically correct must be removed from all such sources.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chiropractic*
  • Forearm / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Rotation
  • Semantics
  • Spine / physiology*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • Torque*