The Effect of Spinal Mobilization With Leg Movement in Patients With Lumbar Radiculopathy-A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2019 May;100(5):828-836. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2018.11.004. Epub 2018 Dec 3.


Objectives: To evaluate the effect of spinal mobilization with leg movement (SMWLM) on low back and leg pain intensity, disability, pain centralization, and patient satisfaction in participants with lumbar radiculopathy.

Design: A double-blind randomized controlled trial.

Setting: General hospital.

Participants: Adults (N=60; mean age 44y) with subacute lumbar radiculopathy.

Interventions: Participants were randomly allocated to receive SMWLM, exercise and electrotherapy (n=30), or exercise and electrotherapy alone (n=30). All participants received 6 sessions over 2 weeks.

Main outcome measures: The primary outcomes were leg pain intensity and Oswestry Disability Index score. Secondary variables were low back pain intensity, global rating of change (GROC), straight leg raise (SLR), and lumbar range of motion (ROM). Variables were evaluated blind at baseline, post-intervention, and at 3 and 6 months of follow-up.

Results: Significant and clinically meaningful improvement occurred in all outcome variables. At 2 weeks the SMWLM group had significantly greater improvement than the control group in leg pain (MD 2.0; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.4-2.6) and disability (MD 3.9; 95% CI, 5.5-2.2). Similarly, at 6 months, the SMWLM group had significantly greater improvement than the control group in leg pain (MD 2.6; 95% CI, 1.9-3.2) and disability (MD 4.7; 95% CI, 6.3-3.1). The SMWLM group also reported greater improvement in the GROC and in SLR ROM.

Conclusion: In patients with lumbar radiculopathy, the addition of SMWLM provided significantly improved benefits in leg and back pain, disability, SLR ROM, and patient satisfaction in the short and long term.

Keywords: Low back pain; Manual therapy; Radiculopathy; Rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Pain Measurement
  • Radiculopathy / rehabilitation*
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation*

Associated data

  • CTRI/CTRI/2015/09/006165