CORRELATIONS BETWEEN PARASPINAL TEMPERATURE VARIATION AND HEALTH STATUS: FROM MANUAL THERAPEUTIC ART TO OBJECTIVE MEASUREMENT
Douglas G. Richards, Ph.D., David L. McMillin, M.A., Eric A. Mein, M.D., and Carl D. Nelson, D.C.
The purpose of this study was to explore correlations between an objective measurement related to manual medicine – paraspinal temperature variation – and health quality of life. The use of manual diagnostic and therapeutic techniques for systemic illness has often been seen as more of a healing art than a science. However, paraspinal temperature variation has claims for relevance going back to the early days of osteopathy and chiropractic. Temperature imbalances along the spine have been seen as indicators of both somatic and visceral dysfunction, although in the past this has been difficult to quantify. But fine-grain variations in temperature can now be easily quantified with infrared thermography. This exploratory study compared paraspinal temperature measurements using the Tytron C-3000 (a computer-interfaced device with paired, infrared sensors) with questionnaire measurements using the SF-36 short form health survey, a well-validated measure of health status. Data from 79 people participating in health assessments were used. The correlations of the SF-36 with measurements of temperature differential on either side of the spine, and temperature variations along the spine, ranged from r = -.23 to -.28, and were statistically significant at the .05 level. This study demonstrates that temperature imbalances in the spine are correlated with lower health quality of life, offering objective support for historical claims in the art of manual medicine.
Douglas G. Richards, Ph.D.
Virginia Beach, VA 23454
[Note: This study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Osteopathy in Norfolk, Virginia on March 23, 2002.]