Introduction: Manual therapy (MT) hypothetically affects discrepant neuromuscular control and movement observed in populations with low back pain (LBP). Previous studies have demonstrated the limited influence of MT on movement, predominately during range of motion (ROM) testing. It remains unclear if MT affects neuromuscular control in mobility-based activities of daily living (ADLs). The sit-to-stand (STS) task represents a commonly-performed ADL that is used in a variety of clinical settings to assess functional and biomechanical performance.
Objective: To determine whether MT affects functional performance and biomechanical performance during a STS task in a population with LBP.
Methods: Kinematic data were recorded from the pelvis and thorax of participants with LBP, using an optoelectronic motion capture system as they performed a STS task before and after MT from November 2011 to August 2014. MT for each participant consisted of two high-velocity low-amplitude spinal manipulations, as well as two grade IV mobilizations of the lumbar spine and pelvis targeted toward the third lumbar vertebra and sacroiliac joint in a side-lying position; the order of these treatments was randomized. Pelvis and thorax kinematic data were used to derive the time-varying lumbar angle in the sagittal plane for each STS trial. The difference between the maximum and minimum lumbar angles during the STS trial determined the sagittal ROM that was used as the biomechanical outcome. Time to complete each STS trial was used as a functional measure of performance. Pre-MT and post-MT values for the lumbar sagittal ROM and time to completion were statistically analysed using paired samples t-tests.
Results: Data were obtained from 40 participants with 35 useful datasets (NRS = 3.3 ± 1.2; 32.4 ± 9.8 years; 16 females, 19 males). After MT, lumbar sagittal ROM increased by 2.7 ± 5.5 degrees (p = 0.007). Time to complete the STS test decreased by 0.4 ± 0.4 s (p < 0.001).
Discussion: These findings provide preliminary evidence that MT might influence the biomechanical and functional performance of an STS task in populations with LBP. The MT intervention in this study involved a combination of spinal manipulations and mobilizations. Future work will expand upon these data as a basis for targeted investigations on the effects of either spinal manipulation and mobilization on neuromuscular control and movement in populations with LBP.
Keywords: Activities of daily living; Kinematics; Lumbar spine; Mobilisation; Neuromuscular control; Spinal manipulation.
© The Author(s). 2020.
Conflict of interest statement
Competing interestsThe authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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