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Clinical Trial
. 2004 Oct 15;29(20):2207-16.
doi: 10.1097/01.brs.0000142234.15437.da.

A Randomized Clinical Trial of Manipulative Therapy and Interferential Therapy for Acute Low Back Pain

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Clinical Trial

A Randomized Clinical Trial of Manipulative Therapy and Interferential Therapy for Acute Low Back Pain

Deirdre A Hurley et al. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). .

Abstract

Study design: A multicenter assessor-blinded randomized clinical trial was conducted.

Objectives: To investigate the difference in effectiveness of manipulative therapy and interferential therapy for patients with acute low back pain when used as sole treatments and in combination.

Summary of background data: Both manipulative therapy and interferential therapy are commonly used treatments for low back pain. Evidence for the effectiveness of manipulative therapy is available only for the short-term. There is limited evidence for interferential therapy, and no study has investigated the effectiveness of manipulative therapy combined with interferential therapy.

Methods: Consenting subjects (n = 240) recruited following referral by physicians to physiotherapy departments in the (government-funded) National Health Service in Northern Ireland were randomly assigned to receive a copy of the Back Book and either manipulative therapy (MT; n = 80), interferential therapy (IFT; n = 80), or a combination of manipulative therapy and interferential therapy (CT; n = 80). The primary outcome was a change in functional disability on the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire. Follow-up questionnaires were posted at discharge and at 6 and 12 months.

Results: The groups were balanced at baseline for low back pain and demographic characteristics. At discharge all interventions significantly reduced functional disability (Roland Morris scale, MT: -4.53; 95% CI, -5.7 to -3.3 vs. IFT: -3.56; 95% CI, -4.8 to -2.4 vs. CT: -4.65; 95% CI, -5.8 to -3.5; P = 0.38) and pain (McGill questionnaire, MT: -5.12; 95% CI, -7.7 to -2.5 vs. IFT: -5.87; 95% CI, -8.5 to -3.3 vs. CT: -6.64; 95% CI, -9.2 to -4.1; P = 0.72) and increased quality of life (SF-36 Role-Physical, MT: 28.6; 95% CI, 18.3 to 38.9 vs. IFT: 31.4; 95% CI, 21.2 to 41.5 vs. CT: 30; 95% CI, 19.9 to 40; P = 0.93) to the same degree and maintained these improvements at 6 and 12 months. No significant differences were found between groups for reported LBP recurrence, work absenteeism, medication consumption, exercise participation, or healthcare use at 12 months (P > 0.05).

Conclusions: For acute low back pain, there was no difference between the effects of a combined manipulative therapy and interferential therapy package and either manipulative therapy or interferential therapy alone.

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