Spinal manipulative therapy for acute low back pain: A clinical perspective

Mark J. Hancock, Christopher G. Maher, Jane Latimer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Low back pain (LBP) is an extremely common cause of pain and disability. While many treatments for acute LBP exist, one of the most widely used, but also most controversial, is spinal manipulative therapy (SMT). This therapy includes both high-velocity manipulative techniques and low-velocity mobilization techniques. The literature regarding the use of SMT is often conflicting, which explains the difference in recommendations regarding SMT in international LBP guidelines. The lack of a clear tissue diagnosis in the majority of patients with LBP combined with the unknown mechanism of action of SMT adds to the difficulty for clinicians in providing SMT in a logical and effective manner. Despite these limitations, the existing literature does provide some assistance to clinicians on when to provide SMT and how to provide it in an optimal way. This review aims to summarize the key research literature investigating SMT in LBP in order to help clinicians make informed decisions about the use of SMT for their patients with acute LBP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-203
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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