Several studies that have investigated the effects of a therapist-selected versus a randomly assigned segmental approach have looked at immediate effects only for pain-related outcomes. The objective of this study was to examine differences in outcomes following a therapist-selected nonthrust manipulation versus a prescriptively selected nonthrust manipulation in subjects with low back pain. Subjects with mechanically producible low back pain were randomly treated with nonthrust manipulation in a therapist-selected approach or a prescriptively selected approach. All subjects received a standardized home exercise program. Outcome measures included pain, disability, global rating of change, and patient acceptable symptom state. Analyses of covariance, chi-square tests, and Mann-Whitney U tests were used to determine differences between groups. Sixty-three subjects were tracked for 6 months, during which subjects in both groups significantly improved. There were no differences between groups in pain, disability, or patient acceptable symptom state scores at 6 months. There was a significant difference in global rating of change scores favoring the therapist-selected manipulation group at 6 months.
This study measured long-term differences between a prescriptively selected nonthrust manipulation and a therapist-selected approach to nonthrust manipulation. In pain, disability, and patient acceptable symptom state there were no differences in outcomes, findings similar to studies of immediate effects. After 6 months, perceived well-being was significantly higher for those in the therapist-selected treatment group.