The effect of change to duration of isometric contraction in muscle energy technique to the upper cervical spine

Ruszkowski, Wojtek (2003) The effect of change to duration of isometric contraction in muscle energy technique to the upper cervical spine. Coursework Master thesis, Victoria University.


Muscle energy technique (MET) has been advocated for the treatment of restricted range of motion in the upper neck. However, there is little evidence to determine the effectiveness of MET on the optimal duration of isometric contraction during the technique. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of various durations of MET isometric contractions on active atlanto-axial rotation range of motion. 52 asymptomatic subjects (age 18-43) who displayed a unilateral active atlanto-axial rotation asymmetry of 4 degree or more were randomly allocated to either a 5 (n=17) or 20 second (n=18) isometric contraction MET group, or a sham (n=17) treatment control group. Active atlanto-axial end range measurements were recorded pre and post-intervention, and the examiner was blinded to group allocation. Analysis with a one-way ANOVA revealed significant differences (p=0.04) in the mean change between the 5-second MET group and the control, but not between the 20-second MET group and control. MET using 5-second contractions produced the largest mean increase in rotation, both to the restricted (+6.65 degrees) and non-restricted sides (+0.71 degrees). The 5-second MET produced a large effect size (d=1.01), whereas the 20-second MET (d=0.68) and control (d=0.33) produced medium and small effects. This study failed to demonstrate a significant benefit in the use of a longer (20-second) isometric contraction when treating the upper cervical spine with MET. The use of a 5-second isometric contraction appeared to be more effective than longer contraction durations for increasing cervical range with MET, but further investigation is recommended. This minor thesis was written by a post-graduate student as part of the requirements of the Master of Health Science (Osteopathy) program.

Item type Thesis (Coursework Master thesis)
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 320000 Medical and Health Sciences
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Biomedical and Health Sciences
Keywords Osteopathy Masters Project, cervical spine, isometric contraction, muscle energy technique, range of motion, osteopathic medicine
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