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Title: The effect of thoracic spine manipulation compared to thoracic spine and costovertebral joint manipulation on mechanical mid-back pain at the Durban University of Technology Chiroptractic Day Clinic
Authors: Petersen, Gabriela Elisa da Silva 
Issue Date: 2017
Mid-back pain (mbp) is defined as pain occurring within the limits of the third thoracic (T3) and ninth thoracic (T9) vertebrae, caused by the dysfunction of the musculoskeletal structures in the thoracic spine. It can present as pain and/ burning between the shoulder blades with reduced thoracic spine mobility and increased muscle tension. Congenital disorders such as scoliosis and Scheuermann’s disease, or acquired disorders such as thoracic facet and costovertebral joint dysfunction may cause mbp. The thoracic facet and costovertebral joints are similar in anatomy and share a mutually dependent biomechanical relationship. There were a handful of controlled studies that highlighted the effectiveness of thoracic facet manipulation on mbp, but there were none on the effects of costovertebral manipulation on mbp.

The aim of this study was to investigate the immediate effects of the combination of thoracic facet and costovertebral joint manipulation on mbp in terms of pain perception, pressure pain thresholds (PPT) and thoracic spine range of motion (ROM).

A prospective single-blind randomised comparative clinical trial.

This study was conducted in a university setting at the Durban University of Technology Chiropractic Day Clinic

Fifty participants were recruited via responses to advertisements placed around the Durban University of Technology (DUT) campuses and individuals presenting at the Chiropractic Day Clinic (CDC).

The participants were divided into two groups of twenty-five. Group A received the thoracic facet joint manipulations and Group B received a combination of the thoracic facet and costovertebral joint manipulations.

Outcome measures
All subjective and objective measurements were taken before and after the application of the manipulations. Pain perception i.e. subjective measurement) was measured by the Numerical Pain Rating Scale (NPRS), pressure pain thresholds (PPT) (i.e. objective measurement) were measured by the Wagner’s FDK Force Gage Algometer and thoracic spine range of motion (ROM) i.e. objective measurement was measured by the Saunders Digital Inclinometer.

The data was analyzed using the latest version of SPSS and a p-value = 0.05 was used to determine statistical significance. Descriptive statistics in the form of univariate analysis described the data in terms of measures of central tendency and measures of dispersion. Data that was distributed normally was analyzed using the t-test and ANOVA. Data that was distributed abnormally was analyzed using the non-parametric Wilcoxon ranked and Mann Whitney tests. Nominal and ordinal data was analyzed using the Chi squared test.

The results of the intra-group analysis indicated a statistically significant decrease in pain perception (p ≤ 0.000), increase in PPT (p ≤ 0.05) and decrease in thoracic spine ROM (p ≤ 0.000). However, the results for the inter-group analysis indicate there was no statistically significant difference in pain perception (p = 0.386), PPT (p > 0.05) and thoracic spine ROM (p >0.05) between Group A and Group B.

These results showed that the combination of thoracic facet and costovertebral joint manipulation was as effective as thoracic facet joint manipulation alone, in the treatment of mbp. These findings suggested that manipulation of the costovertebral joints may not be necessary for the effective treatment of mbp.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the Master’s Degree in Technology: Chiropractic, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2017.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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