Efficacy of "therapist-selected" versus "randomly selected" mobilisation techniques for the treatment of low back pain: A randomised controlled trial

Adit Chiradejnant, Christopher G. Maher*, Jane Latimer, Nicholas Stepkovitch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to establish whether the mobilisation technique selected by the treating physiotherapist is more effective in relieving low back pain than a randomly selected mobilisation technique. Two manipulative physiotherapists and 140 subjects suffering non-specific low back pain participated. Baseline measurements were taken before treatment allocation; the therapist then assessed subjects and nominated the preferred treatment grade, spinal level to be treated and mobilisation technique to be used. The subjects were then randomly allocated to one of two groups. One group received the preferred mobilisation technique as selected by the therapist; the other group received a randomly assigned mobilisation technique. All mobilisation treatments were applied to the nominated spinal level using the nominated treatment grade. Follow-up measures were taken immediately after intervention. Two-way ANOVA was used to analyse the data; the first factor was the treatment group and the second factor was the direction of the patient's most painful movement. The choice of mobilisation treatment had no effect on any outcome measure investigated in this study; however, post hoc tests revealed that mobilisation treatment applied to the lower lumbar levels had a greater analgesic effect than when applied to upper lumbar levels. The results of this study confirm that lumbar mobilisation treatment has an immediate effect in relieving low back pain, however the specific technique used seems unimportant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-241
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of Physiotherapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Low back pain
  • Manipulation therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Randomized controlled trial


Dive into the research topics of 'Efficacy of "therapist-selected" versus "randomly selected" mobilisation techniques for the treatment of low back pain: A randomised controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this