Effects of thrust amplitude and duration of high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulation on lumbar muscle spindle responses to vertebral position and movement

Academic Article


  • Objective Mechanical characteristics of high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulations (HVLA-SMs) can vary. Sustained changes in peripheral neuronal signaling due to altered load transmission to a sensory receptor's local mechanical environment are often considered a mechanism contributing to the therapeutic effects of spinal manipulation. The purpose of this study was to determine whether variation in an HVLA-SM's thrust amplitude and duration alters the neural responsiveness of lumbar muscle spindles to either vertebral movement or position. Methods Anesthetized cats (n = 112) received L6 HVLA-SMs delivered to the spinous process. Cats were divided into 6 cohorts depending upon the peak thrust force (25%, 55%, 85% body weight) or thrust displacement (1, 2, 3 mm) they received. Cats in each cohort received 8 thrust durations (0-250 milliseconds). Afferent discharge from 112 spindles was recorded in response to ramp and hold vertebral movement before and after the manipulation. Changes in mean instantaneous frequency (â̂†MIF) during the baseline period preceding the ramps (â̂†MIF ), during ramp movement (â̂†MIF ), and with the vertebra held in the new position (â̂†MIF ) were compared. Results Thrust duration had a small but statistically significant effect on â̂†MIF at all 6 thrust amplitudes compared with control (0-millisecond thrust duration). The lowest amplitude thrust displacement (1 mm) increased â̂†MIF at all thrust durations. For all the other thrust displacements and forces, the direction of change in â̂†MIF was not consistent, and the pattern of change was not systematically related to thrust duration. Regardless of thrust force, displacement, or duration, â̂†MIF and â̂†MIF were not significantly different from control. Conclusion Relatively low-amplitude thrust displacements applied during an HVLA-SM produced sustained increases in the resting discharge of paraspinal muscle spindles regardless of the duration over which the thrust was applied. However, regardless of the HVLA-SM's thrust amplitude or duration, the responsiveness of paraspinal muscle spindles to vertebral movement and to a new vertebral position was not affected. © 2013 National University of Health Sciences. resting movement position resting resting resting movement position
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cao DY; Reed WR; Long CR; Kawchuk GN; Pickar JG
  • Start Page

  • 68
  • End Page

  • 77
  • Volume

  • 36
  • Issue

  • 2