Context: When choosing to incorporate osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) into a patient’s care, the risk-to-benefit ratio, the choice of treatment technique, as well as the frequency of treatments are always taken into consideration. This has been even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic, in which social distancing has been the best preventative measure to decrease exposure. By increasing treatment intervals, one could not only limit possible exposure/spread of viruses but also decrease the overall cost to the system as well as to the individual. This is an expansion of a previous study in which quantifiable changes in cervical hysteresis characteristics post-OMT were documented utilizing a durometer (Ultralign SA201®; Sigma Instruments; Cranberry, PA USA). This study compared two treatment modalities, muscle energy (ME) and high-velocity low-amplitude (HVLA) postcervical treatment. Subjects in this study were allowed to re-enroll, provided that they could be treated utilizing the alternate treatment modality. By allowing repeat subjects, analysis of the data for lasting effects of OMT could be observed.
Objectives: To determine whether a significant change in cervical hysteresis would be observed after each treatment regardless of a short treatment interval.
Methods: A total of 34 subjects were retrospectively noted to be repeat subjects from a larger, 213-subject study. These 34 subjects were repeat participants who were treated with two different direct-treatment modalities 7–10 days apart. Each subject was randomly assigned to receive a single-segmental ME or HVLA treatment technique directed toward a cervical (C) segment (C3–C5 only). Subjects were objectively measured pretreatment in all cervical segments utilizing the Ultralign SA201®, then treated with cervical OMT to a single segment, and finally reassessed at all cervical levels with the Ultralign SA201® posttreatment to assess for change in cervical hysteresis.
Results: Statistically significant or suggestive changes (p-values 0.01–0.08) with good clinical effect size (0.30 or greater) were noted in all four components of the Ultralign SA201® at multiple cervical levels after the first treatment, but only one component (frequency) had a statistically significant change after the second treatment (AA cervical level, p-value 0.01) with good clinical effect size (0.45). However, when comparing the post–first-treatment values to the pre–second-treatment values, no statistically significant differences (p-value 0.10 or higher) were observed between them.
Conclusions: Statistically significant changes were noted after the first treatment; however, when comparing cervical hysteresis changes after the first treatment to the cervical hysteresis values prior to the second treatment delivered 7–10 days later, there were no statistically significant or suggestive changes. This data suggest that several post-OMT changes noted after the first treatment were still in effect and may indicate that follow-up visits for direct manipulation may be deferred for a least two weeks.