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Can the ileocecal valve point predict low back pain using manual muscle testing?

Pollard, H.P., Bablis, P. and Bonello, R. (2006) Can the ileocecal valve point predict low back pain using manual muscle testing? Chiropractic Journal of Australia, 36 (2). pp. 58-62.

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Background: According to some technique groups in chiropractic the ileocecal valve may malfunction and be associated with a large array of health problems that can lead to common chronic health issues prevalent in our society. Many tests commonly used in chiropractic are presumed to identify painful and/or dysfunctional anatomical structures, yet many have undemonstrated reliability. Despite this lack of evidence, they form the basis of many clinical decisions. One cornerstone procedure that is frequently used by chiropractors involves the use of manual muscle testing for diagnostic purposes not considered orthopaedic in nature. A point of the body referred to as the ileocecal valve point is said to indicate the presence of low back pain. This procedure is widely used in Applied Kinesiology (AK) and Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET) chiropractic practice. Objective: To determine if correlation of tenderness of the "ileocecal valve point" can predict low back pain in sufferers with and without low back pain. It was the further aim to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the procedure. Methods: One hundred (100) subjects with and without low back pain were recruited. Subjects first completed information about their pain status, then the practitioner performed the muscle testing procedure in a separate room. The practitioner provided either a yes or no response to a research assistant as to whether he had determined if the subject had back pain based on the muscle test procedure. Results: Of 67 subjects who reported low back pain, 58 (86.6%) reported a positive test of both low back pain and ICV point test. Of 33 subjects, 32 (97.0%) with no back pain positively reported no response to ICV point test. Nine (9) subjects (13.4%) reported false negative ICV tests and low back pain, and 1 subject (3%) reported a false positive response for ICV test and no low back pain. Conclusion: The majority of subjects with low back pain reported positive ileocecal valve testing, and all but one of the subjects without low back pain reported negative ileocecal valve testing. The application of ileocecal valve testing as a diagnostic measure of low back pain was found to have excellent measures of sensitivity, specificity and diagnostic competency. This study confirms that the use of this test within the limitations of this study is reliably associated with the presence of low back pain. Further testing is required to investigate all aspects of the diagnostic milieu commonly used by proponents of this form of diagnostic testing.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Chiropractors Association of Australia
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