The effect of a single application of muscle energy technique on pressure pain thresholds in the lumbar spine

Rogers, Tamara (2005) The effect of a single application of muscle energy technique on pressure pain thresholds in the lumbar spine. Coursework Master thesis, Victoria University.


Muscle energy technique (MET) is commonly used by osteopaths and other manual therapists in the treatment of spinal and joint pain, but there has been little investigation of its effectiveness on pain reduction, particularly in the lumbar region. The aim of this study was to investigate the immediate effect of a single application of MET on pressure pain thresholds (PPT) in the lumbar spine in an asymptomatic population. Fifty-nine asymptomatic volunteers (40 female, 19 male) were recruited from the Victoria University student population. The lumbar spinous process reported as most sensitive to manual springing by each subject was marked using a skin pencil. An electronic algometer was used to determine the PPT at this level. Subjects were directed to another room and were randomly assigned to a single application of either a rotational MET or a sham "functional" treatment. Following intervention, subjects returned for re-measurement of PPT by an examiner who was blinded to the treatment intervention. Following intervention, a small significant increase in PPT was found in the MET group, whereas a non-significant decrease in PPT occurred in the sham group. When the difference scores of the two groups were analysed using an independent t-test, a significant difference between the groups was found, and a large between-group effect size was calculated. A single application of rotational MET to the lumbar spine did produce a significant increase in PPT in this asymptomatic population. Caution must be used when interpreting this result because the change in PPT was small and within the error range of the testing equipment. Future research is recommended in symptomatic populations. This minor thesis was written by a post-graduate student as part of the requirements of the Master of Health Science (Osteopathy) program.

Item type Thesis (Coursework Master thesis)
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 320000 Medical and Health Sciences
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Biomedical and Health Sciences
Keywords Osteopathy Masters Project, muscle energy technique, algometry, pressure pain thresholds, osteopathic medicine
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