The effects of pull and release durations on the deformation of cervical spine during and after intermittent cervical traction

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The effects of pull and release durations on the deformation of cervical spine during and after intermittent cervical traction


Author: Yeung, Shun-shing
Title: The effects of pull and release durations on the deformation of cervical spine during and after intermittent cervical traction
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 1997
Subject: Cervical vertebrae -- Diseases -- Physical therapy
Cervical vertebrae -- Traction
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Multi-disciplinary Studies
Pages: xii, 94 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: Intermittent cervical traction (ICT) is widely used in treating various types of neck disorders. Due to the high incidence of neck pain and problems posed on its rehabilitation, it is important to know the optimum method of application and efficacy of ICT. There is evidence suggesting that ICT can produce intervertebral separation of the cervical spine, which may stretch the neck muscles and then relieve muscle spasm or nerve root compression. However, an optimum technique of ICT has not been determined yet. The present study is to investigate different protocols of pull and release cycles on the creep deformation of the normal cervical spine. 12 normal male subjects aged between 21 and 33 years old were tested. With a 3 SPACE Tracker system and the deformation of the cervical spine was measured. This system has a source which generates electromagnetic (EM) wave and two sensors to pick up the EM wave, thus the relative positions between each sensor with respect to the source could be calculated. All subjects were in supine lying position with the lower cervical spine flexed at 30o to the horizontal. A sensor was placed on the subject's forehead and one on the T1 spinous process. The traction force was 135 N during the hold period and 25 N during the release period. Four different pull/release cycles of ICT were tested on four days with the order of each test randomized. They were 7.5 sec on/30 sec off; 7.5 sec on/7.5 sec off; 30 sec on/7.5 sec off; 30 sec on/30 sec off. Data were collected during 15 minutes of ICT and continuously for 30 minutes after traction. An equation was derived to determine the deformation of the neck of each subject based on the two sensors' relative orientations. The rate of deformation of the first minute of traction, last minute of traction and overall deformation throughout the whole test were calculated. Results were analyzed with univariate repeated measure analysis of variances with 帢 set at 0.05. Among the twelve subjects tested, only six subjects had their necks being pulled into flexion during the test. The others had their necks being pulled into some degree of extension which was not favourable for neck traction. This indicates that the set up of ICT may not always produce the desirable treatment effect. More angle of rope pulling might deem necessary for some subjects with ICT treatment. Among the six subjects who had neck flexion during the test, no significant difference was found on each of the test parameters among the different pull/release cycles. This indicates longer hold periods may not necessarily lead to more deformation of the cervical spine. However, the small sample size of only six subjects would have significantly reduced the power of the test. Besides, the problem with subcutaneous soft tissue deformation could affect the accuracy of applying skin sensors to represent bony separations. Notwithstanding the above limitations, this study has provided some guidelines for ICT applications in terms of the set up and hold/release timing.

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