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Measurement and Analysis of Biomechanical Outcomes of Chiropractic Adjustment Performance in Chiropractic Education and Practice


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Structural and chiropractic

J Manipulative Physiol Ther.2020 Mar-Apr;43(3):212-224.


C J Colloca, C Cunliffe, M A Hegazy, M Pinnock, R N Hinrichs


Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare biomechanical measures of chiropractic adjustment performance of the McTimoney toggle-torque-recoil (MTTR) technique among students and chiropractors. Methods: Fifty-three participants (15 year-3 [Y3] and 16 year-5 chiropractic students and 22 McTimoney chiropractors [DCs]) participated in this study. Each applied 10 MTTR thrusts to a dynamic load cell, 5 each with their left and right hands. Biomechanical variables including preload force, peak force, time to peak force, thrust duration, and total thrust time were computed from each of the force-time histories and compared within groups using a series of 2-way analysis of variance to evaluate the effects of sex and handedness, and between groups to determine the effect of experience using a series of 3-way analysis of variance. The Games-Howell post hoc test was used to further assess pairwise comparisons. Results: Mean time to peak force was more than 3 × shorter for DCs (69.96 ms) compared with Y3 students (230.36 ms) (P = .030). Likewise, mean thrust duration was also found to be nearly 2.5-fold significantly shorter for DCs (117.77 ms) compared with Y3 students (283.84 ms) (P = .030). The DCs took significantly less total thrust time (mean = 1.27 seconds) in administering MTTR thrusts than Y3 students (1.89 seconds) (P = .006). No significant differences were found among any of the 3 clinician groups for peak force or in time to peak force or thrust duration for comparisons of all 10 MTTR thrusts among year-5 students and DCs. Higher peak forces were observed for thrusts delivered with clinicians' dominant hands (P = .001), and the fastest thrusts were found for the dominant hands of DCs (P = .001). Sex had no significant effect on biomechanical variables. The Y3 students had significant greater variability in thrust times for each hand and for analyses of both hands combined (P = .001). Conclusion: Training and experience were found to result in shorter MTTR thrust times and other biomechanical variables that have been identified as important factors in the mechanisms of chiropractic adjustments. Identification of such biomechanical markers as performance outcomes may be of assistance in providing feedback for training in chiropractic education and technique application.

Publication Date: 

2020 Mar-Apr



Colloca, JC., Cunliffe, C., Hegazy, AM., Pinnock, M., Hinrichs, NR. (2020) 'Measurement and Analysis of Biomechanical Outcomes of Chiropractic Adjustment Performance in Chiropractic Education and Practice', J Manipulative Physiol Ther.2020 Mar-Apr;43(3):212-224.

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