Original article| Volume 95, ISSUE 9, P1613-1619, September 2014

Short-Term Effect of Spinal Manipulation on Pain Perception, Spinal Mobility, and Full Height Recovery in Male Subjects With Degenerative Disk Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial



      To evaluate the short-term effect on spinal mobility, pain perception, neural mechanosensitivity, and full height recovery after high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) spinal manipulation (SM) in the lumbosacral joint (L5-S1).


      Randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial with evaluations at baseline and after intervention.


      University-based physical therapy research clinic.


      Men (N=40; mean age ± SD, 38±9.14y) with diagnosed degenerative lumbar disease at L5-S1 were randomly divided into 2 groups: a treatment group (TG) (n=20; mean age ± SD, 39±9.12y) and a control group (CG) (n=20; mean age ± SD, 37±9.31y). All participants completed the intervention and follow-up evaluations.


      A single L5-S1 SM technique (pull-move) was performed in the TG, whereas the CG received a single placebo intervention.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Measures included assessing the subject's height using a stadiometer. The secondary outcome measures included perceived low back pain, evaluated using a visual analog scale; neural mechanosensitivity, as assessed using the passive straight-leg raise (SLR) test; and amount of spinal mobility in flexion, as measured using the finger-to-floor distance (FFD) test.


      The intragroup comparison indicated a significant improvement in all variables in the TG (P<.001). There were no changes in the CG, except for the FFD test (P=.008). In the between-group comparison of the mean differences from pre- to postintervention, there was statistical significance for all cases (P<.001).


      An HVLA SM in the lumbosacral joint performed on men with degenerative disk disease immediately improves self-perceived pain, spinal mobility in flexion, hip flexion during the passive SLR test, and subjects' full height. Future studies should include women and should evaluate the long-term results.


      List of abbreviations:

      CG (control group), DD (disk degeneration), FFD (finger-to-floor distance), HVLA (high-velocity, low-amplitude), IVD (intervertebral disk), LBP (low back pain), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), ROM (range of motion), SLR (straight-leg raise), SM (spinal manipulation), TG (treatment group), VAS (visual analog scale)
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