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Joint Bone Spine. 2018 Mar;85(2):239-242. doi: 10.1016/j.jbspin.2017.04.006. Epub 2017 Apr 26.

Beliefs in the population about cracking sounds produced during spinal manipulation.

Author information

1
Département des sciences de la motricité, université de Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium; Service de médecine de l'appareil locomoteur, clinique du dos, CHU de Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium. Electronic address: christophe.demoulin@ulg.ac.be.
2
Service de médecine de l'appareil locomoteur, clinique du dos, CHU de Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium.
3
Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy Department, université de Gand, 9000 Gand, Belgium.
4
Département des sciences de la motricité, université de Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium; Service de médecine de l'appareil locomoteur, clinique du dos, CHU de Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To examine beliefs about cracking sounds heard during high-velocity low-amplitude (HVLA) thrust spinal manipulation in individuals with and without personal experience of this technique.

METHODS:

We included 100 individuals. Among them, 60 had no history of spinal manipulation, including 40 who were asymptomatic with or without a past history of spinal pain and 20 who had nonspecific spinal pain. The remaining 40 patients had a history of spinal manipulation; among them, 20 were asymptomatic and 20 had spinal pain. Participants attended a one-on-one interview during which they completed a questionnaire about their history of spinal manipulation and their beliefs regarding sounds heard during spinal manipulation.

RESULTS:

Mean age was 43.5±15.4years. The sounds were ascribed to vertebral repositioning by 49% of participants and to friction between two vertebras by 23% of participants; only 9% of participants correctly ascribed the sound to the formation of a gas bubble in the joint. The sound was mistakenly considered to indicate successful spinal manipulation by 40% of participants. No differences in beliefs were found between the groups with and without a history of spinal manipulation.

CONCLUSIONS:

Certain beliefs have documented adverse effects. This study showed a high prevalence of unfounded beliefs regarding spinal manipulation. These beliefs deserve greater attention from healthcare providers, particularly those who practice spinal manipulation.

KEYWORDS:

Beliefs; Manipulation; Manual therapy; Osteopathy; Pain; Representation; Spine

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