Immediate effects of a high-velocity spine manipulation in paraspinal muscles activity of nonspecific chronic low-back pain subjects

High-velocity spinal manipulation is commonly adopted for treating chronic low-back pain (CLBP) and has been associated with changes in muscle activity, but the evidence is controversial. The aim of this study was to analyse the immediate effects of high-velocity spine manipulation on paraspinal activity during flexion–extension trunk movements. Forty nonspecific CLBP patients were randomised into two groups, manipulation (n = 20) and control (n = 20). While the manipulation group received high-velocity spine manipulation at the L4-L5 level, the control group remained lying in the same position. EMG-related variables, perceived pain intensity (100 mm VAS) and finger-floor distance were collected before and after spinal manipulation at the L4-L5 level. EMG surface signals from the right and left paraspinal muscles (L5-S1 level) were acquired during trunk flexion–extension cycles. EMG activity during the static relaxation phase was significantly reduced following intervention for the manipulation group but not for the control group. The extension-phase EMG activity was also reduced after manipulation, but the flexion-phase EMG levels remained unchanged. Accordingly, the percent changes in FRR and ERR were significantly larger for the manipulation group compared to the control.

The results suggest that a high-velocity spinal manipulation is able to acutely reduce abnormal EMG activity during the full-flexion static phase and activation during the extension phase.

Eduardo Bicalho, João Antônio Palma Setti, Jones Macagnan, José Luis Rivas Cano, Elisangela Ferretti Manffra. Immediate effects of a high-velocity spine manipulation in paraspinal muscles activity of nonspecific chronic low-back pain subjects. Manual Therapy, 5 May 2010, online article ahead of print

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