April 2021

Effects of Lumbar Mobilization on the Paravertebral Muscle Activity and Muscle Tone in Patients with Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Authors: Junhyeok Go, PT, PhD, 1, Hojung An, Prof., PhD, 2


  1. Department of Physical Therapy, Kyungbok University
  2. Department of Physical Therapy, Dongnam University

Journal: Journal of International Academy of Physical Therapy Research - April 2021, Volume 12, no.1, pages 2302-2307 (DOI: 10.20540/JIAPTR.2021.12.1.2302)

Background: Patients with lumbar spinal stenosis show abnormal changes in muscle activity due to pain and limited range of motion of the lumbar spine. Excessive increased muscle tone and decreased muscle activity patterns threaten the patients’ quality of life. However, there have been a few studies showing how to improve muscle performance in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis. Among these, joint mobilization is one way of improving muscle performance through pain relief and increasing the range of motion. 

Objectives: To investigate the effect of lumbar mobilization by orthopedic manual physical therapy on paravertebral muscle activity and tone in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis. 

Design: A randomized controlled trial. 

Methods: In this study, 24 patients with lumbar spinal stenosis were randomized (1:1 ratio) into two groups. The experimental group underwent lumbar posteroanterior mobilization, and the control group underwent conventional physical therapy (conventional transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) for 15 minutes each. For outcome measures, MyotonⓇPRO was used to evaluate muscle tone when resting of the paravertebral muscle in the pain area. For muscle activity evaluation, the reference voluntary contraction of the paravertebral muscle was evaluated using surface electromyography. 

Results: Muscle tone and activity were significantly improved after intervention in both the experimental and control groups. In addition, the experimental group showed more significant decrease in muscle tone and activity than the control group. 

Conclusion: These results suggest that lumbar mobilization improving muscle performance in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis.


Keywords: Lumbar spinal stenosis, Joint mobilization, TENS, Muscle tone, Muscle activity

This study investigated the changes in the muscle tone and muscle activity in 24 patients with lumbar spinal stenosis after two different interventions: joint mobilization and TENS. Each patient was provided 15-minute interventions, in which the improvements in muscle tone and activity were higher in the JMG than TENSG. Both the groups showed significant improvements, indicating a need for further studies performing the two interventions simultaneously on a greater number of patients.