A Literature Review of Manual Therapies for the Management of Low Back Pain and a Study Proposal of the Comparison of Three Different Manual Therapies




Weaver, Morgan D.

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Background: Low back pain (LBP) is a common disorder in the U.S., but lacks consensus regarding its treatment. Commonly, manual therapies such as massage, trigger point therapy, and traction are used in conjunction with a rehabilitation program to reduce LBP in the patient. These manual therapies are used to create an optimal environment for the body to heal and/or fix problems due to injury. Massage is theorized to increase blood flow in the soft tissues, which increases oxygen levels within the soft tissue and furthermore provokes the healing process. In addition to this, suggestions of gate control theory contribute to massage’s effectiveness. Trigger point theory has been thought to release tender points in the tissue that are creating pain to normalize the tissue and restore function. Traction is noted to create more space between the vertebrae and therefore counteract compressive forces on the spine that are creating pain. Purpose: To gain knowledge on the application and observed effectiveness thus far of massage, trigger point therapy, and traction for the treatment of LBP. The proposed study is designed to investigate which manual therapy in conjunction with a physical therapy protocol is most effective in the reduction of LBP. This study will be beneficial in providing helpful information for clinicians and their patients on the treatment of LBP by observing the methods and effectiveness of massage, trigger point therapy, and traction. Methods (proposal): Study subjects will range from 20-65 years of age with a diagnosis of non-specific LBP. Patients will be randomized into one of four treatment groups (massage, trigger point therapy, traction or control group) using block randomization. Treatment will take place three times a week for ten weeks Results: No results are available due to the lack of time to conduct this study. Conclusion: Future findings of this study will provide education on treating LBP by providing insight into what are the most appropriate methods of manual therapy for the treatment of LBP.



low back pain, manual therapies, massage, trigger point therapy, traction, Honors College


Weaver, M. D. (2019). A literature review of manual therapies for the management of low back pain and a study proposal of the comparison of three different manual therapies (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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