Effect of therapeutic infra-red in patients with non-specific low back pain: a pilot study

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2014 Jan;18(1):75-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2013.05.014. Epub 2013 Jun 4.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of infra-red (IR) in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain (NSLBP). Ten patients with NSLBP (5 men and 5 women) and disease duration of 21.7 ± 11.50 months participated in this pilot study. Patients had a mean age of 36.40 ± 10.11 years (range = 25-55). Patients were treated with infra-red (IR) for 10 sessions, each for 15 min, 3 days per week, for a period of 4 weeks. Outcome measures were the Numerical Rating Scale (NRS), the Functional Rating Index (FRI), the Modified-Modified Schober Test (MMST), and the Biering-Sorensen test to assess pain severity, disability, lumbar flexion and extension range of motion (ROM), and back extensor endurance, respectively. Data were collected at: baseline - study entry (T0); end of 5th treatment session after 2 weeks (T1); and end of the treatment after 4 weeks (T2). The results of the ANOVA demonstrated a statistically significant main effect of IR on all outcomes of pain, function, lumbar flexion-extension ROM, and back extensor endurance. The treatment effect sizes ranged from large to small. IR was effective in improving pain, function, lumbar ROM, and back extensor endurance in a sample of patients with NSLBP. Treatment effect sizes ranged from large to small indicating clinically relevant improvements primarily in pain and function for patients with NSLBP.

Keywords: Infra-red; Low back pain; Physiotherapy; Superficial heat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infrared Rays / therapeutic use*
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Lumbosacral Region / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Range of Motion, Articular