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Papers of the Week

Papers: 6 Jun 2020 - 12 Jun 2020

Human Studies

2020 Jun 03

J Clin Med



Randomized Trial of General Strength and Conditioning Versus Motor Control and Manual Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain on Physical and Self-Report Outcomes.


Tagliaferri SD, Miller CT, Ford JJ, Hahne AJ, Main LC, Rantalainen T, Connell DA, Simson KJ, Owen PJ, Belavy DL
J Clin Med. 2020 Jun 03; 9(6).
PMID: 32503243.


Exercise and spinal manipulative therapy are commonly used for the treatment of chronic low back pain (CLBP) in Australia. Reduction in pain intensity is a common outcome; however, it is only one measure of intervention efficacy in clinical practice. Therefore, we evaluated the effectiveness of two common clinical interventions on physical and self-report measures in CLBP. Participants were randomized to a 6‑month intervention of general strength and conditioning (GSC; = 20; up to 52 sessions) or motor control exercise plus manual therapy (MCMT; =20; up to 12 sessions). Pain intensity was measured at baseline and fortnightly throughout the intervention. Trunk extension and flexion endurance, leg muscle strength and endurance, paraspinal muscle volume, cardio‑respiratory fitness and self-report measures of kinesiophobia, disability and quality of life were assessed at baseline and 3- and 6-month follow-up. Pain intensity differed favoring MCMT between-groups at week 14 and 16 of treatment (both, = 0.003), but not at 6-month follow‑up. Both GSC (mean change (95%CI): -10.7 (-18.7, -2.8) mm; = 0.008) and MCMT (-19.2 (-28.1, -10.3) mm; < 0.001) had within-group reductions in pain intensity at six months, but did not achieve clinically meaningful thresholds (20mm) within- or between‑group. At 6-month follow-up, GSC increased trunk extension (mean difference (95% CI): 81.8 (34.8, 128.8) s; = 0.004) and flexion endurance (51.5 (20.5, 82.6) s; = 0.004), as well as leg muscle strength (24.7 (3.4, 46.0) kg; = 0.001) and endurance (9.1 (1.7, 16.4) reps; = 0.015) compared to MCMT. GSC reduced disability (-5.7 (‑11.2, -0.2) pts; = 0.041) and kinesiophobia (-6.6 (-9.9, -3.2) pts; < 0.001) compared to MCMT at 6‑month follow-up. Multifidus volume increased within-group for GSC ( = 0.003), but not MCMT or between-groups. No other between-group changes were observed at six months. Overall, GSC improved trunk endurance, leg muscle strength and endurance, self-report disability and kinesiophobia compared to MCMT at six months. These results show that GSC may provide a more diverse range of treatment effects compared to MCMT.