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Comparison of Forces Exerted by a Chiropractor on Children and Adults During High-Speed, Low-Amplitude Spinal Manipulations: A Feasibility Study

Published:October 26, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2022.09.003

      Abstract

      Objective

      The aim of this study was to demonstrate that quantification of the forces exerted by a single chiropractor on children and adults during high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulations and the correlation of forces to age was feasible.

      Methods

      The force-time profiles of high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulations were measured in 48 children (109 manipulations) ranging from 14 weeks to 17 years of age, and 20 adults (49 manipulations) in a clinical setting. The measurements were taken using a thin, flexible pressure pad. Outcome variables (peak forces, preload forces, thrust forces, thrust durations, rates of force application, and thrust impulses) were quantified and compared across age groups using Kruskal-Wallis testing with Dunn post hoc analysis. Outcome variables were fitted with best-fitting linear regressions with age as the dependent variable. The level of significance for all statistical tests was set a priori at α = 0.05.

      Results

      Most outcome variables increased with the age of the patient. Specifically, peak forces, thrust forces, and the rate of force application were positively correlated with age, while thrust durations remained constant across all ages and preload forces decreased slightly with patient age for cervical spine manipulations.

      Conclusion

      For this single chiropractor in private practice, the forces he used increased with the age of the patient, and he thus used lower forces in children than adults. This study shows that measuring the forces used by a chiropractor in clinical practice on patients with a range of ages was feasible.

      Key Indexing Terms

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