Effects of spinal manipulation on trunk proprioception in subjects with chronic low back pain during symptom remission.

Learman KE, Myers JB, Lephart SM, Sell TC, Kerns GJ, Cook CE.

The purpose of this study was to examine the immediate effects of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) on trunk proprioception in subjects with asymptomatic chronic low back pain (CLBP) and determine if those effects lasted 1 week. In 33 subjects with CLBP proprioception was tested via joint position sense, threshold to detect passive motion (TTDPM), direction of motion (DM), and force reproduction. Each subject received lumbar manipulation or a sham procedure followed by proprioception retest. This procedure was repeated 1 week later using the opposing treatment. Subjects receiving SMT in the second session returned a third time receiving the sham procedure again.

Results suggest SMT had minimal immediate effect on trunk proprioception. The effects noted occurred in session 1, implicating learning as a potential source. Learning, from repetitive proprioception training, may enhance neuromuscular control in subjects with CLBP before the use of therapeutic exercise. Subjects showed smaller deficits than previously reported for TTDPM or DM, suggesting proprioception deficits may correlate with pain level.

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2009, 32(2), 118-26.

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