An investigation into the potential hypoalgesic effects of different amplitudes of PA mobilisations on the lumbar spine as measured by pressure pain thresholds (PPT)

Oliver Krouwel, Clair Hebron and Elaine Willett

Previous studies that demonstrate the pain relieving effects of mobilisations have used large amplitude of oscillations. The importance of amplitude on pain relief has not been established. The current study aims to: a) Investigate the importance of amplitude as part of the treatment dose. b) To explore the extent of any pain reliving effects seen following mobilisations.  30 subjects completed three experimental conditions on three separate occasions. The conditions were: large amplitude of oscillations, small amplitude of oscillations and quasi-static. Each condition involved a 3×1 minute central PA mobilisation at a frequency of 1.5 Hz on the lumbar spine. Pressure pain thresholds (PPT) were measured immediately before and after each intervention at 4 different sites. 

Results demonstrated a significant increase in PPT following lumbar mobilisations  at all measured sites. However, no significant difference was found between amplitude conditions. This study suggests that in asymptomatic subjects a systemic hypoalgesic response is caused by lumbar mobilisation regardless of amplitude.

Manual Therapy, 29 July 2009, online article ahead of press

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