Do changes within a manual therapy treatment session predict between-session changes for patients with cervical spine pain?
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Physiotherapists often use within-session changes to provide a guide for refining treatment application. This study tested the validity of within-session changes as predictors of between-session changes for patients with neck pain receiving manual therapy treatment. A total of 70 pairs of treatments from 29 patients with sub-acute non-specific neck pain receiving manual therapy were assessed to determine the relationship between within-session and between-session changes in range of motion (ROM), pain intensity, and centralisation. Measurements were taken of ROM of the more limited direction on each axis of flexion, extension, lateral-flexion and rotation, and pain (intensity and location) before and after treatment. The same measurements were repeated before the following treatment. Regression analysis demonstrated that within-session change accounted for 26% to 48% of the variability in between-session change for ROM and six per cent for pain intensity. The proportion of the within-session change for ROM maintained between sessions ranged from 42% to 63% (95% CI 25% to 88%). The odds ratios for within-session improved/not improved categorisation to predict between-session category for ROM ranged from 2.5 (95% CI 0.6 to 4.3) to 21.3 (95% CI 10.1 to 96.1), for pain intensity 4.5 (95% CI 1.2 to 14.4) and for pain centralisation 9.2 (95% CI 2.2 to 38.7) indicating greater likelihood of between-session improvement after within-session improvement. The between-session results for most patients (71% to 83%) could be classified correctly by their within-session category. The results support the use of within-session changes in ROM, centralisation, and possibly pain intensity as predictors of between-session changes for musculoskeletal disorders of the cervical spine.
Australian Journal of Physiotherapy
Copyright 2005 Australian Physiotherapy Association. Reproduced here in accordance with publisher policy. Please refer to the journal for the definitive published version.