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Manual Muscle Testing combined with Specific Head Positioning, and other Articular Challenges, as an Assessment of Vertebral Subluxation of the Upper Cervical Spine: A Descriptive Paper

Graham J Dobson, D.C.


Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research ~ Volume 3 ~ Number 2 ~ Pages 1-7



This article presents the Dobson Muscle Testing (DMT) procedure. Those aspects of the procedure as it relates to other indicators of vertebral subluxation and other methodologies are described.The procedure detects abberant cervical joint dynamics (movement) through muscle challenges used in combination with various head positions, designed to functionally engage specific articular levels, (positioning) and other articular challenges. In the cervical spine joints and soft tissue there are a large number of mechanoreceptors. Thus, it is postulated that in the presence of vertebral subluxation, when abberant joint mechanics affect these mechanoreceptors, the application of the head postioning challenges produces a barrage of noxious or inappropriate impulses through the cerebellovestibular regulatory circuits. This is believed to result in poor quality motor responses, which may be detected with the DMT procedure through manual muscle testing.The DMT procedure is described as a complement to other forms of vertebral subluxation assessment.To date, clinical observations suggest a positive correlation to Blair upper cervical radiographic analysis in addition to other indicators including muscle and motion palpation and leg length analysis. Further study is planned to test the validity of these observations through controlled studies.


Key Words: Vertebral subluxation, manual muscle testing, Dobson muscle testing protocol, upper cervical spine, applied kinesiology, biomechanics.

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