The application of infrared thermography in the assessment of patients with coccygodynia before and after manual therapy combined with diathermy.

Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics

2009; 32: 287–293.

Wu CL, Yu KL, Chuang HY, Huang MH, Chen TW, Chen CH.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study examines the potential usefulness of a novel thermal imaging technique in the assessment of local physiologic responses before and after conservative therapies for coccygodynia.

METHODS:

Patients with coccygodynia were selected on the basis of detailed history taking, clinical examination, and dynamic series radiography. They underwent therapeutic modalities consisting of 6 to 8 sessions of manual medicine treatments (massage of the levators followed by Maigne's manipulative technique) and external physiotherapy (short-wave diathermy) 3 times a week for 8 weeks. We performed the assessments with numeric pain rating scale (NPRS) and infrared thermography (IRT) before treatment and at 12 weeks.

RESULTS:

A total of 53 patients (6 males and 47 females) ranging from 18 to 71 years of age and clinically diagnosed with coccygodynia received the full course of therapy and assessments. There were significant differences in both NPRS and surface temperature obtained by IRT in the 12-week follow-up (P < .05). The correlation between NPRS improvement and temperature decrement was significantly high (r = 0.67, P < .01).

CONCLUSIONS:

The study shows that IRT can objectively show the decrement of surface temperatures correlating with changes in subjective pain intensity after treatment of coccygodynia. With the advantages of being painless, noninvasive, and easy to repeat, IRT appears to be useful as a quantifiable tool for monitoring the dynamics of the disease activity in coccygodynia.

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