The high incidence and inconsistencies in diagnostic and therapeutic process of low back pain (LBP) stimulate the continuing search for more efficient treatment modalities. Integration of the information obtained with various therapeutic methods and a holistic approach to the patient seem to be associated with positive outcomes. The aim of this study was to analyze the efficacy of combined treatment with McKenzie method and Muscle Energy Technique (MET), and to compare it with the outcomes of treatment with McKenzie method or standard physiotherapy in specific chronic lumbar pain. The study included 60 men and women with LBP (mean age 44 years). The patients were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 therapeutic groups, which were further treated with: 1) McKenzie method and MET, 2) McKenzie method alone, or 3) standard physiotherapy for 10 days. The extent of spinal movements (electrogoniometry), level of experienced pain (Visual Analogue Scale and Revised Oswestry Pain Questionnaire), and structure of the spinal discs (MRI) were examined prior to the intervention, immediately thereafter, and 3 months after the intervention. The McKenzie method enriched with MET had the best therapeutic outcomes. The mobility of cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine normalized at levels corresponding to 87.1%, 66.7%, and 95% of respective average normative values. Implementation of McKenzie method, both alone and combined with MET, was associated with a significant decrease in Oswestry Disability Index, significant alleviation of pain (VAS), and significantly reduced size of spinal disc herniation.
The combined method can be effectively used in the treatment of chronic LBP.