Special Tests Aren't So Special After All
Another example is cervical compression and distraction. Why on earth would you do a provocation test such as compression? That just tells you not to do it again, and arguably makes the patient wary of your touch. Distraction? I don't use mechanical traction, so those are another few tests that are useless. Repeated motion exams as taught by McKenzie and Passive Intervertebral Motion Testing both give you a direction for real, skilled treatment. It's also more likely your average uncomplicated cervical patient will get better, and with a lot less visits. The literature supports manual therapy + exercise for spinal conditions. Use your exam to lead you to which areas to use soft tissue and joint manipulation. In the end, if you are using special tests, reassess right after your manual therapy treatment to see if they're negative. Make them useful as a pre and post test measurement. If you decide to drop them off of most exams like I have, your exam will be shorter and more efficient.