Manipulative practice in the cervical spine: a survey of IFOMPT member countries
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The International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (IFOMPT) aims to achieve worldwide promotion of excellence and unity in clinical and academic standards for manual and musculoskeletal physical therapists. To this end, IFOMPT has sponsored several conference panel sessions and a survey of Member Organizations (MOs) and Registered Interest Groups (RIGs) regarding current cervical spine manipulation and pre-manipulative screening practice in each country. The purpose of this study was to determine common elements of cervical spine manipulative practice and pre-manipulative screening between countries. In late 2007, a questionnaire investigating recommended pre-manipulative screening protocol/guideline use, informed consent regarding risks, screening procedures, and treatment/manipulation technique was sent to all twenty MOs and five RIGs. The response rate was 88%. The main findings of the survey included: 77% of respondent organizations use pre-manipulative guidelines, with Australian guidelines the most frequently adopted internationally (36%); recommendations concerning the provision of information about the possibility of serious adverse events is not standard practice in all countries (50%); positional tests for vertebrobasilar insufficiency are used by all respondent organizations; craniovertebral ligament testing is sometimes taught as a pre-manipulative screening tool (36%); the use of upper cervical spine manipulation has declined in some countries (41%); and of the respondent organizations that continue to teach upper cervical manipulation, most (70%) minimize the rotation component. The findings of this research will inform an IFOMPT international standard for screening the cervical region prior to orthopaedic manual therapy intervention. The development of an IFOMPT endorsed document will be of assistance to manual therapy clinicians worldwide in safely managing disorders of the cervical spine.
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