THE EFFECTS OF A SINGLE SESSION OF LUMBAR SPINAL MANIPULATIVE THERAPY IN TERMS OF PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE TEST SYMMETRY IN ASYMPTOMATIC ATHLETES: A SINGLE-BLINDED, RANDOMISED CONTROLLED STUDY

Review written by Robin Kerr info

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

There can be an assumption in physical medicine circles that asymmetry associated with biomechanical spinal dysfunctions in athletes may be detrimental to performance and increase the risk of injury. Currently there is a paucity of research on the effects of spinal manipulative therapy in terms of performance test symmetry on asymptomatic athletes. This single-blinded RCT investigated the immediate effect of lumbar rotation manipulation (diversified technique) on postural symmetry in athletes via performance testing.

METHODS

This was a single session, single-blinded RCT involving 40 asymptomatic athletic subjects who were randomised into 2 groups: (1) Spinal Manipulation Therapy and (2) Sham (20F + 20M, mean±SD for age 23.8±5.3 years, body mass 63±7.5 kg, height 1.68±0.06 m). Eligibility criteria were fulfilled and baseline group characteristics were similar. Participants were assessed for their balance, symmetry and reaction forces. Fluorescent anatomical landmarks, force platforms and motion capture equipment were employed in 2 symmetry indexes over 3 activities:

  1. Static postural (10 seconds)
  2. Free squat (3 repetitions)
  3. Countermovement jump height (CMJ) (3 repetitions)

14 trials of the 3 tests were performed by each subject. Data on physical performance test asymmetry was collected pre and post-manipulation or sham procedure. The manipulation was a side-lying lumbar rotation. The sham procedure was the same position for the manipulation but held for 1 minute without high velocity thrust.

RESULTS

Prior to the intervention, the participants presented asymmetry mean values of: Manipulation group 16.3%, and Sham group 10.7%.

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