2. School of Health Science, Waterford Institute of Technology, Cork Road, Waterford, Ireland.
Background: In Ireland the use of spinal mobilisation therapy (SMT) is a relatively new field in the management of pain in acute and chronic onset of low back pain (LBP) as individuals seek alternatives to other traditional clinical treatments. The aim of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a routine four-week course of spinal mobilisation in individuals experiencing non-specific LBP in a single practice. The main outcome variable was the reduction in severity of pain post treatment.
Methods: All clients attending for spinal mobilisation therapy using the Maitland method at a single site during the period of June 2018 to November 2019 were included in the study. Each client completed a pre-screening questionnaire, including pain scores obtained through the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS-11) and underwent a four-week treatment. Post screening questionaires were conducted following a four-week therapeutic treatment with an individual physical therapist. Data were coded and entered into SPSS version 21 for analysis. Wilcoxon signed rank tests were used to test pain scores pre and post treatment.
Results: 491 individuals had an initial consultation for LBP and 90 clients completed the recommended four-week programme. The most common symptom of LPB pain described by clients attending the clinical was sharp pain (55%), followed by aching symptoms (33.6%). The median length of LBP was 3 years and the median age was 44 years. In the 90 clients completing the four week programme a statistical significant difference was observed pre and post treatment (p<0.00). 88 (97.8%) of clients indicated that they had a reduction in pain and one quarter of patients had complete elimination of pain following the four-week intervention.
Conclusions: The findings of this study indicate that manual therapy is a consideration in treatment of non-specific LBP and as an alternative to conventional treatment methods. Maintaining adherence to recommended treatment is a key challenge and may be strongly influenced by patients’ expectations in recovery time and cost of treatment. Further and more in-depth research is needed to establish the success of SMT in treatment of non-specific LPB and in improving patient outcomes.
Keywords: Low back pain, Maitland method, Back injury, Spinal mobilisation therapy, Physical therapy