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Optimization of Spinal Manipulative Therapy Protocols

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Know the risks and potential benefits of clinical studies and talk to your health care provider before participating. Read our disclaimer for details.
 
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02868034
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : August 16, 2016
Last Update Posted : October 11, 2018
Sponsor:
Collaborator:
University of Alberta
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Julie Fritz, University of Utah

Brief Summary:
Research on spinal manipulative therapy for individuals with low back pain has been hampered by a lack of understanding of which of the physiologic effects produced by spinal manipulation are related to clinical benefit, and how these effects can be used to optimize treatment outcomes. Prior research has identified physiologic effects that relate to the clinical benefits from spinal manipulation treatment. The goal of this project is to examine strategies to use these effects to identify optimized treatment protocols. The results of this project will provide critical information for future clinical trials related to spinal manipulation.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Low Back Pain Behavioral: SMT Behavioral: Mobilizing Exercises Behavioral: Activation Exercises Behavioral: SMT extended Phase 2

Detailed Description:

Low back pain (LBP) is a common and costly condition. Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) is a common mind body intervention for individuals with LBP. Although SMT for LBP has been examined in numerous clinical studies, the literature on SMT remains unclear and even contradictory as to the effectiveness of this treatment. Studies that have supported SMT have generally found relatively small treatment effects. Many reasons have been offered for the inconsistent research literature and small effect sizes of SMT. A primary rationale offered is that the SMT protocols used in clinical research are not optimal, primarily due to a lack of understanding of the underlying mechanisms explaining the clinical benefits of SMT realized by some patients with LBP.

The prior work of this research team has identified two mechanisms explaining the therapeutic effects of SMT. These effects are a reduction in spinal stiffness and improved activation of the lumbar multifidus muscle. This research has also developed accurate, non-invasive methods to measure these effects and their response to SMT. The model identifying these two mechanisms has been validated in a second patient sample.

The overall goal of this proposal is to optimize SMT treatment protocols for patients with LBP. The optimization strategy in this study will evaluate SMT combined with other treatments known to modulate the same signals that underlie the clinical effects of SMT assessing both mechanistic (stiffness, lumbar multifidus activation) and patient-centered (function and pain) outcomes. This project will use innovative methodology to efficiently evaluate the effects of various individual treatment components towards an overall effect; identifying which components are contributing to the target outcomes and which, if any, may be discarded. All participants will be provided 2 sessions of SMT, and then will be randomized to a treatment group for an additional 3 weeks using a factorial design and stratified by responder status in order to evaluate different combinations of intervention components (muscle activation exercise, spinal mobilizing exercise, additional SMT) that work on the same pathways that modulate the same effects (spinal stiffness and muscle activation). Outcomes will include spinal stiffness and muscle activation measures as well as patient-reported outcomes assessed at baseline, and after 1 week, 4 weeks and 3 months. Results of this project will provide optimized SMT protocols that will be ready for application in future randomized controlled trials examining the efficacy and effectiveness of SMT.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 280 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment
Masking: Double (Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Optimization of Spinal Manipulation Therapy (SMT) Protocols
Actual Study Start Date : February 22, 2017
Estimated Primary Completion Date : July 2019
Estimated Study Completion Date : July 2019

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Back Pain

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: SMT Only
Patients receive 2 sessions on SMT during week 1, no additional treatment.
Behavioral: SMT
All patients receive 2 SMT sessions in the first week. The subject is supine. The clinician stands opposite the side to be manipulated and side-bends the subject away from the side to manipulate. The side to be manipulated is the more painful. If the subject cannot identify a more painful side the clinician selects a side. The clinician rotates the subject, and delivers a high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) thrust to the pelvis in a posterior/inferior direction. The clinician notes if a cavitation (ie, a "pop") occurred. If it does, SMT treatment is complete. If no cavitation occurs, the subject is repositioned and SMT is performed again. If no cavitation occurs on the second attempt, the clinician manipulates the opposite side. A maximum of 2 attempts per side is permitted. If no cavitation is noted by that time, SMT treatment is complete. Substitution with a side-posture HVLA technique is allowed if the preferred technique is not possible due to subject preference or comfort.
Other Name: Spinal Manipulative Therapy

Experimental: SMT extended
2 sessions of SMT in week 1 and 6 additional sessions of SMT during weeks 2-4.
Behavioral: SMT
All patients receive 2 SMT sessions in the first week. The subject is supine. The clinician stands opposite the side to be manipulated and side-bends the subject away from the side to manipulate. The side to be manipulated is the more painful. If the subject cannot identify a more painful side the clinician selects a side. The clinician rotates the subject, and delivers a high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) thrust to the pelvis in a posterior/inferior direction. The clinician notes if a cavitation (ie, a "pop") occurred. If it does, SMT treatment is complete. If no cavitation occurs, the subject is repositioned and SMT is performed again. If no cavitation occurs on the second attempt, the clinician manipulates the opposite side. A maximum of 2 attempts per side is permitted. If no cavitation is noted by that time, SMT treatment is complete. Substitution with a side-posture HVLA technique is allowed if the preferred technique is not possible due to subject preference or comfort.
Other Name: Spinal Manipulative Therapy

Behavioral: SMT extended
This treatment involves 6 additional SMT sessions. Each SMT session is conducted as described previously.

Experimental: SMT with Activation Exercises
2 sessions of SMT during week 1 and 6 additional sessions of lumbar multifidus activating exercises during weeks 2-4.
Behavioral: SMT
All patients receive 2 SMT sessions in the first week. The subject is supine. The clinician stands opposite the side to be manipulated and side-bends the subject away from the side to manipulate. The side to be manipulated is the more painful. If the subject cannot identify a more painful side the clinician selects a side. The clinician rotates the subject, and delivers a high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) thrust to the pelvis in a posterior/inferior direction. The clinician notes if a cavitation (ie, a "pop") occurred. If it does, SMT treatment is complete. If no cavitation occurs, the subject is repositioned and SMT is performed again. If no cavitation occurs on the second attempt, the clinician manipulates the opposite side. A maximum of 2 attempts per side is permitted. If no cavitation is noted by that time, SMT treatment is complete. Substitution with a side-posture HVLA technique is allowed if the preferred technique is not possible due to subject preference or comfort.
Other Name: Spinal Manipulative Therapy

Behavioral: Activation Exercises
Activation exercises are designed to facilitate use of the lumbar multifidus muscle. Exercises will begin with isometric multifidus contractions in different positions with clinician feedback and exercises to isometrically co-contract the multifidus and deep abdominal muscles. Subjects will also perform lumbar extensor strengthening exercises shown to produce 20%-50% of multifidus maximum voluntary contraction. Subjects will continue to perform isometric exercises throughout treatment. Subjects will perform their prescribed exercises at treatment sessions and will be instructed to perform the exercises daily on other days.

Experimental: SMT with Mobilizing Exercises
2 sessions of SMT during week 1; 6 sessions of spinal mobilizing exercises during weeks 2-4.
Behavioral: SMT
All patients receive 2 SMT sessions in the first week. The subject is supine. The clinician stands opposite the side to be manipulated and side-bends the subject away from the side to manipulate. The side to be manipulated is the more painful. If the subject cannot identify a more painful side the clinician selects a side. The clinician rotates the subject, and delivers a high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) thrust to the pelvis in a posterior/inferior direction. The clinician notes if a cavitation (ie, a "pop") occurred. If it does, SMT treatment is complete. If no cavitation occurs, the subject is repositioned and SMT is performed again. If no cavitation occurs on the second attempt, the clinician manipulates the opposite side. A maximum of 2 attempts per side is permitted. If no cavitation is noted by that time, SMT treatment is complete. Substitution with a side-posture HVLA technique is allowed if the preferred technique is not possible due to subject preference or comfort.
Other Name: Spinal Manipulative Therapy

Behavioral: Mobilizing Exercises
Mobilizing exercises will include a program of repeated movements progressing into end-ranges of spinal flexion and/or extension shown in past studies to improve ROM and reduce spinal stiffness. Patients will be instructed in mid-range exercises and will be further assessed for a directional preference. A directional preference is present if movement in a particular direction decreases LBP intensity or causes symptoms to centralize towards the midline. If a subject has a directional preference he or she will be prescribed exercises specifically in that direction along with mid-range exercise. Otherwise the subject will be assigned exercises moving into either flexion or extension based on the clinician's discretion. Subjects will perform their prescribed exercises at treatment sessions and will be instructed to perform the exercises daily on other days.

Experimental: SMT with Mobilizing and Activation Exercises
2 sessions of SMT during week 1; 6 sessions of lumbar multifidus activating exercises and spinal mobilizing exercises during weeks 2-4.
Behavioral: SMT
All patients receive 2 SMT sessions in the first week. The subject is supine. The clinician stands opposite the side to be manipulated and side-bends the subject away from the side to manipulate. The side to be manipulated is the more painful. If the subject cannot identify a more painful side the clinician selects a side. The clinician rotates the subject, and delivers a high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) thrust to the pelvis in a posterior/inferior direction. The clinician notes if a cavitation (ie, a "pop") occurred. If it does, SMT treatment is complete. If no cavitation occurs, the subject is repositioned and SMT is performed again. If no cavitation occurs on the second attempt, the clinician manipulates the opposite side. A maximum of 2 attempts per side is permitted. If no cavitation is noted by that time, SMT treatment is complete. Substitution with a side-posture HVLA technique is allowed if the preferred technique is not possible due to subject preference or comfort.
Other Name: Spinal Manipulative Therapy

Behavioral: Mobilizing Exercises
Mobilizing exercises will include a program of repeated movements progressing into end-ranges of spinal flexion and/or extension shown in past studies to improve ROM and reduce spinal stiffness. Patients will be instructed in mid-range exercises and will be further assessed for a directional preference. A directional preference is present if movement in a particular direction decreases LBP intensity or causes symptoms to centralize towards the midline. If a subject has a directional preference he or she will be prescribed exercises specifically in that direction along with mid-range exercise. Otherwise the subject will be assigned exercises moving into either flexion or extension based on the clinician's discretion. Subjects will perform their prescribed exercises at treatment sessions and will be instructed to perform the exercises daily on other days.

Behavioral: Activation Exercises
Activation exercises are designed to facilitate use of the lumbar multifidus muscle. Exercises will begin with isometric multifidus contractions in different positions with clinician feedback and exercises to isometrically co-contract the multifidus and deep abdominal muscles. Subjects will also perform lumbar extensor strengthening exercises shown to produce 20%-50% of multifidus maximum voluntary contraction. Subjects will continue to perform isometric exercises throughout treatment. Subjects will perform their prescribed exercises at treatment sessions and will be instructed to perform the exercises daily on other days.

Experimental: SMT extended with Mobilizing Exercises
2 sessions of SMT during week 1; 6 sessions of SMT and spinal mobilizing exercises during weeks 2-4.
Behavioral: SMT
All patients receive 2 SMT sessions in the first week. The subject is supine. The clinician stands opposite the side to be manipulated and side-bends the subject away from the side to manipulate. The side to be manipulated is the more painful. If the subject cannot identify a more painful side the clinician selects a side. The clinician rotates the subject, and delivers a high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) thrust to the pelvis in a posterior/inferior direction. The clinician notes if a cavitation (ie, a "pop") occurred. If it does, SMT treatment is complete. If no cavitation occurs, the subject is repositioned and SMT is performed again. If no cavitation occurs on the second attempt, the clinician manipulates the opposite side. A maximum of 2 attempts per side is permitted. If no cavitation is noted by that time, SMT treatment is complete. Substitution with a side-posture HVLA technique is allowed if the preferred technique is not possible due to subject preference or comfort.
Other Name: Spinal Manipulative Therapy

Behavioral: Mobilizing Exercises
Mobilizing exercises will include a program of repeated movements progressing into end-ranges of spinal flexion and/or extension shown in past studies to improve ROM and reduce spinal stiffness. Patients will be instructed in mid-range exercises and will be further assessed for a directional preference. A directional preference is present if movement in a particular direction decreases LBP intensity or causes symptoms to centralize towards the midline. If a subject has a directional preference he or she will be prescribed exercises specifically in that direction along with mid-range exercise. Otherwise the subject will be assigned exercises moving into either flexion or extension based on the clinician's discretion. Subjects will perform their prescribed exercises at treatment sessions and will be instructed to perform the exercises daily on other days.

Behavioral: SMT extended
This treatment involves 6 additional SMT sessions. Each SMT session is conducted as described previously.

Experimental: SMT extended with Activation Exercises
2 sessions of SMT during week 1; 6 sessions of SMT and lumbar multifidus activating exercises during weeks 2-4.
Behavioral: SMT
All patients receive 2 SMT sessions in the first week. The subject is supine. The clinician stands opposite the side to be manipulated and side-bends the subject away from the side to manipulate. The side to be manipulated is the more painful. If the subject cannot identify a more painful side the clinician selects a side. The clinician rotates the subject, and delivers a high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) thrust to the pelvis in a posterior/inferior direction. The clinician notes if a cavitation (ie, a "pop") occurred. If it does, SMT treatment is complete. If no cavitation occurs, the subject is repositioned and SMT is performed again. If no cavitation occurs on the second attempt, the clinician manipulates the opposite side. A maximum of 2 attempts per side is permitted. If no cavitation is noted by that time, SMT treatment is complete. Substitution with a side-posture HVLA technique is allowed if the preferred technique is not possible due to subject preference or comfort.
Other Name: Spinal Manipulative Therapy

Behavioral: Activation Exercises
Activation exercises are designed to facilitate use of the lumbar multifidus muscle. Exercises will begin with isometric multifidus contractions in different positions with clinician feedback and exercises to isometrically co-contract the multifidus and deep abdominal muscles. Subjects will also perform lumbar extensor strengthening exercises shown to produce 20%-50% of multifidus maximum voluntary contraction. Subjects will continue to perform isometric exercises throughout treatment. Subjects will perform their prescribed exercises at treatment sessions and will be instructed to perform the exercises daily on other days.

Behavioral: SMT extended
This treatment involves 6 additional SMT sessions. Each SMT session is conducted as described previously.

Experimental: SMT extended with Activation and Mobilizing Exercises
2 sessions of SMT during week 1; 6 sessions of SMT, multifidus activating and spinal mobilizing exercises during weeks 2-4.
Behavioral: SMT
All patients receive 2 SMT sessions in the first week. The subject is supine. The clinician stands opposite the side to be manipulated and side-bends the subject away from the side to manipulate. The side to be manipulated is the more painful. If the subject cannot identify a more painful side the clinician selects a side. The clinician rotates the subject, and delivers a high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) thrust to the pelvis in a posterior/inferior direction. The clinician notes if a cavitation (ie, a "pop") occurred. If it does, SMT treatment is complete. If no cavitation occurs, the subject is repositioned and SMT is performed again. If no cavitation occurs on the second attempt, the clinician manipulates the opposite side. A maximum of 2 attempts per side is permitted. If no cavitation is noted by that time, SMT treatment is complete. Substitution with a side-posture HVLA technique is allowed if the preferred technique is not possible due to subject preference or comfort.
Other Name: Spinal Manipulative Therapy

Behavioral: Mobilizing Exercises
Mobilizing exercises will include a program of repeated movements progressing into end-ranges of spinal flexion and/or extension shown in past studies to improve ROM and reduce spinal stiffness. Patients will be instructed in mid-range exercises and will be further assessed for a directional preference. A directional preference is present if movement in a particular direction decreases LBP intensity or causes symptoms to centralize towards the midline. If a subject has a directional preference he or she will be prescribed exercises specifically in that direction along with mid-range exercise. Otherwise the subject will be assigned exercises moving into either flexion or extension based on the clinician's discretion. Subjects will perform their prescribed exercises at treatment sessions and will be instructed to perform the exercises daily on other days.

Behavioral: Activation Exercises
Activation exercises are designed to facilitate use of the lumbar multifidus muscle. Exercises will begin with isometric multifidus contractions in different positions with clinician feedback and exercises to isometrically co-contract the multifidus and deep abdominal muscles. Subjects will also perform lumbar extensor strengthening exercises shown to produce 20%-50% of multifidus maximum voluntary contraction. Subjects will continue to perform isometric exercises throughout treatment. Subjects will perform their prescribed exercises at treatment sessions and will be instructed to perform the exercises daily on other days.

Behavioral: SMT extended
This treatment involves 6 additional SMT sessions. Each SMT session is conducted as described previously.




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Spinal Stiffness [ Time Frame: up to 3 months ]
    Spinal stiffness is assessed with a mechanically-assisted indentation device over the L3 spinous process. Indentation involves advancement of the probe from a 5 N pre-load to 60 N final load maintained for 1 second, then the probe raises automatically. Three indentation trials are performed with mean values used for analysis. Indentation data (force and displacement) are used to calculate stiffness variables. Global stiffness (N) is calculated as the slope of the force displacement curve between 5 - 60 N, representing stiffness of underlying tissues during indentation.

  2. Multifidus Activation [ Time Frame: up to 3 months ]
    Multifidus activation wis measured with brightness-mode ultrasound images using a 60mm, 2-5 MHz curvilinear array. The subject is prone. The ultrasound transducer is placed just lateral to midline and angled medially until a parasagittal view of the multifidus is obtained. Images are acquired at each level with the multifidus at rest and during submaximal contraction elicited by the subject lifting the contralateral arm about 2 inches while holding a weight proportional to body weight. Three images in each state are acquired and averaged. Offline multifidus thickness measures are obtained from the distance between the posterior-most aspect of the facet joint inferiorly and the plane between the multifidus and thoracolumbar fascia superior. Muscle activation is calculated as the change in thickness at rest and submaximal contraction and expressed in mm.


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Oswestry Disability Index [ Time Frame: Baseline, 1-week, 4-weeks, 3 months ]
    The Oswestry Index measures back pain-related disability. The scale contains 10 items with a final score ranging from 0-100. Higher numbers indicate more disability.

  2. Pain Intensity [ Time Frame: Baseline, 1-week, 4-weeks, 3 months ]
    A 0-10 numeric pain rating is used to assess pain intensity. Higher numbers indicate greater pain intensity.



Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.


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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 60 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

I. Pain between the 12th rib and buttocks with or without symptoms into one or both legs, which, in the opinion of the examiner, originate from the lumbar region.

II. Age 18 - 60 years

III. Oswestry disability score > 20%

Exclusion Criteria:

I. Prior surgery to the lumbosacral spine

II. Currently pregnant

III. Currently receiving mind-body or exercise treatment for LBP from a healthcare provider (e.g., chiropractic, physical therapy, massage therapy, etc.)

IV. Neurogenic signs including any of the following: positive ipsi- or contra-lateral straight leg raise test; reflex, sensory, or strength deficit in a pattern consistent with lumbar nerve root compression


Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT02868034


Contacts
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Contact: Julie M Fritz, PhD, PT 801-581-6297 julie.fritz@utah.edu
Contact: Amy Rogers 801-585-5961 amy.rogers@hsc.utah.edu

Locations
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United States, Utah
University of Utah, Department of Physical Therapy Recruiting
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States, 84112
Contact: Julie Fritz, PT, PhD    801-581-8681    julie.fritz@hsc.utah.edu   
Canada, Alberta
University of Alberta Recruiting
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Contact: Greg Kawchuk, PhD, DC    780-492-6891    greg.kawchuk@ualberta.ca   
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Utah
University of Alberta
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: Julie M Fritz, PhD, PT University of Utah
Publications automatically indexed to this study by ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier (NCT Number):
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Responsible Party: Julie Fritz, Professor, University of Utah
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02868034    
Other Study ID Numbers: 1UH3AT009293-01 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
First Posted: August 16, 2016    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: October 11, 2018
Last Verified: October 2018

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by Julie Fritz, University of Utah:
Low Back Pain
Spinal Manipulation
Exercise
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Back Pain
Low Back Pain
Pain
Neurologic Manifestations