Objective: To discuss subacute lumbar compartment syndrome and its treatment using a soft tissue mobilization technique.
Clinical features: A patient presented with low back pain related to exercise combined with prolonged flexion posture. The symptoms were relieved with rest and lumbar extension. The patient had restrictive lumbar fascia in flexion and rotation and no neurological deficits.
Intervention and outcome: The restrictive lumbar posterior fascial layers and adjoining restrictive fascia (thoracic, gluteal, hamstring) were treated with a form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization called the Graston technique. Restoration of fascial extensibility and resolution of the complaint occurred after 6 treatment visits.
Conclusions: The posterior spinal fascial compartments may be responsible for intermittent lower back pain. Functional clinical tests can be employed to determine whether the involved fascia is abnormally restrictive. Treatment directed at the restrictive fascia using this soft tissue technique may result in improved fascial functional testing and reduction of symptoms.