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Immediate effect of a spinal mobilisation intervention on muscle stiffness, tone and elasticity in subjects with lower back pain – A randomised cross-over trial

Hamilton, Rebecca; Garden, Claire L.P.; Brown, Susan J.


Rebecca Hamilton


Background: Despite the lack of objective evidence, spinal manual therapies have been common practice for many years, particularly for treatment of lower back pain (LBP). This exploratory study measured and analysed the effect of a spinal mobilisation intervention on muscle tissue quality in LBP sufferers.
Methods: 40 people with LBP participated in a within-subject repeated measures cross-over study with intervention and control conditions. A myometer was used to assess the change in para-spinal muscle tissue quality before and after the intervention. Analysis considered the magnitude of muscle response together with individual covariates as potential contributors.
Results: A significant post intervention reduction was observed in muscle stiffness (p = 0.012, η 2 partial = 0.15), tone (p = 0.001, η 2 partial = 0.25) and elasticity (p = 0.001, η 2 partial = 0.24). Significant increases were seen in 2 variables post control: stiffness (p = 0.004, η 2 partial = 0.19), tone (p = 0.006, η 2 partial = 0.18) and a significant decrease in elasticity (p ˂ 0.000, η 2 partial = 0.3). Significant contributing covariates include baseline stiffness, BMI, waist circumference and sex. Baseline stiffness and tone were significantly correlated to their response levels.
Conclusions: The significant reduction in all muscle tissue qualities following the intervention provide preliminary data for an evidence-based LBP therapeutic. Baseline stiffness, BMI, waist circumference and sex could act as significant contributors to magnitude of response. The results warrant further investigation into spinal mobilisation therapies to further build the objective evidence base.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 24, 2021
Online Publication Date Oct 9, 2021
Publication Date 2022-01
Deposit Date Oct 6, 2021
Publicly Available Date Oct 10, 2022
Print ISSN 1360-8592
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Pages 60-67
Keywords Lower back pain, Spinal mobilisations, Myometry, Muscle stiffness
Public URL
Publisher URL


Immediate Effect Of A Spinal Mobilisation Intervention On Muscle Stiffness, Tone And Elasticity In Subjects With Lower Back Pain – A Randomised Cross-over Trial (accepted version) (392 Kb)


Copyright Statement
Accepted version licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license.

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