Palpatory and Ultrasound Assessment of Cervical Dysfunctions and the Effect of Cervical High Velocity Low Amplitude (HVLA) Technique


Osteopathic medicine is a distinct school of medicine. Osteopathic physicians evaluate the neuromusculoskeletal system and work to achieve normal body mechanics. They use palpation to identify somatic dysfunctions. After performing osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), such as high velocity low amplitude (HVLA), a dysfunction is reassessed by palpatory assessment. While there are studies which show the effectiveness of OMT, a challenge remains to objectively assess a somatic dysfunction. The purpose of this study is to investigate the content validity of the palpatory examination for the cervical spine using ultrasonography and the effects of a single cervical HVLA technique. Content validity is the extent to which a measure adequately and comprehensively measures what it claims to be measuring. The Investigators aim to objectively assess diagnosis and treatment of the cervical spine. HVLA technique employs a rapid, therapeutic force of brief duration that travels a short distance within the anatomic range of motion of a joint, and that engages the restrictive barrier in one or more planes of motion to elicit release of restriction. It is also known as a thrust technique. The goal of the treatment is the restoration of physiological motion to the dysfunctional joint. Proper diagnosis of a joint dysfunction is important for spinal manipulation. Little assessment has been made of the clinician's ability to reliably identify a joint with biomechanical dysfunctions. Few studies attempt to address the challenge of evidence-based clinical practice. These have found the benefit of consensus training. In a study conducted by Shaw et al., ultrasound machine was used to assess the content validity of palpatory examination and objectively assess the effect of HVLA in the lumbar spine. The investigators aim to adapt the protocol for the cervical spine, but with the addition of a control cohort. Subjects will be subjected to the cranial vault hold, which assesses the primary respiratory mechanism in and the degree of participation of each bone in the general motion of the cranium. In the experimental group, participants will be receiving cervical HVLA to the key somatic dysfunction. The Investigators hypothesize that an ultrasound is a reliable instrument to objectively evaluate somatic dysfunction of the cervical spine. Furthermore, the investigators hypothesize that after performing cervical HVLA, the left and right articular pillars of the key somatic dysfunction vertebrae should be symmetrical compared to baseline.

Study Start Date

November 2013

Estimated Completion Date

November 2016


  • Procedure: Cranial Vault Hold
  • Procedure: Cervical HVLA


  • Radiology: Musculoskeletal
  • Orthopedics: Spine

MeSH Terms

  • Cervical Dysfunction
  • Cervical HVLA

Study ID

New York Institute of Technology -- BHS-988



Trial ID


Study Type


Trial Phase


Enrollment Quota



New York Institute of Technology

Inclusion Criteria

  • asymptomatic and healthy participants with not contraindications to HVLA
  • no local metastases
  • no osseous or ligamentous disruption
  • no apprehension on the part of the participant

Exclusion Criteria

  • contraindications to HVLA
  • diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome
  • neck or back or cervical spine pain
  • herniated nucleus pulposus
  • bone diseases (such as osteoporosis)
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • Down Syndrome
  • prior surgery on back
  • any cervical radiculopathy
  • if rotation of the head and neck causes dizziness, lightheadedness or pain
  • dislocation of the dens associated with rupture or laxity of the transverse ligament of the atlas.
  • advance carotid disease
  • recent history of seizures
  • stroke




18 Years and older

Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Study Locations and Contact Information (1)

Study Location Distance Name Phone Email
New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine - Old Westbury, New York 35.0 miles Allison Andors PhD 516-686-7488 provides clinical trial listings in an easy to view format. All clinical trial information is pulled directly from This website does not guarantee acceptance into any clinical trial, and is not responsible for adverse events that may be incurred from a clinical trial.