The use of a lumbar spine manipulation technique by physical therapists in patients who satisfy a clinical prediction rule: A case series

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Study Design: A case series of patients with low back pain (LBP) who satisfy a clinical prediction rule (CPR). Background: A CPR that identifies patients with LBP who are likely to respond with rapid and prolonged reductions in pain and disability following spinal manipulation was developed and recently validated. The CPR developed to predict favorable response to manipulation investigated the effects of only 1 manipulation technique. The accuracy of the CPR for predicting outcomes using other manipulation techniques is not known. The purpose of the case series was to describe the outcomes of patients presenting to physical therapy with LBP who met the CPR and were treated with an alternative lumbar manipulation technique. Case Description: Consecutive patients referred to physical therapy who satisfied the eligibility criteria, including the presence of at least 4 of the 5 criteria on the CPR, were invited to participate in the case series. Patients were treated for 2 visits with a side-lying lumbar manipulation technique, followed by a basic range of motion exercise. Patients who exhibited a 50% reduction or greater in disability, as measured by the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), were considered to have experienced a successful outcome. Outcomes: A total of 12 patients participated in the case series. The mean age of the group was 39 years (SD, 8.9 years) and the median duration of symptoms was 19 days (range, 8-148 days). Of the 12 patients who participated in this case series, the mean reduction in disability as measured with the ODI was 57% (SD, 9%). Only 1 patient did not surpass the 50% reduction in ODI scores. Discussion: Eleven of the 12 patients (92%) in this case series who satisfied the CPR and were treated with an alternative lumbar manipulation technique demonstrated a successful outcome in 2 visits. It is plausible that patients with LBP who satisfy the CPR may obtain a successful outcome with either manipulation technique directed at the lumbopelvic region.

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