August 2023

Effects of Thoracic Spine Self-mobilization on Patients with Low Back Pain and Lumbar Hypermobility: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Authors: Toru Yasuda 1, 2, Sirinda Jaotawipart 3, Hironobu Kuruma 2


  1. Zama General Hospital, Kanagawa, Japan
  2. Graduate School of Human Health Sciences, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tokyo, Japan
  3. J-CLINIC Thonglor, Bangkok, Thailand

Journal: Progress in Rehabilitation Medicine - July 2023, Volume 8, Article no. 20230022 (DOI: 10.2490/prm.20230022)

Objectives: This study used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate the effects of thoracic spine self-mobilization on patients with low back pain (LBP) and lumbar hypermobility.

Methods: Twenty-four patients (15 men, 9 women) with LBP were randomly allocated to a thoracic spine self-mobilization group or sham group. The thoracic spine self-mobilization group performed thoracic spine active flexion and extension activities using two tennis balls fixed with athletic tape. Outcome measures were collected pre-intervention and after 4 weeks and included the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for pain, the Oswestry Disability Index, lumbar rotation angle measured using MRI taken in the lateral position with 45° of trunk rotation, thoracolumbar rotation range of motion (ROM) in the sitting position, and stiffness of the erector spinae muscles. The effects of the intervention were analyzed using two-way repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA), followed by multiple comparisons. The significance level was set at 5%.

Results: The results of the two-way repeated measures ANOVA indicated that the main effect of the group was significant (P<0.05) for VAS, the sum of the lumbar rotation angle, and the thoracolumbar rotation ROM. A significant group-by-time interaction was found for the sum of lumbar rotation angles. The results of the multiple comparison tests for VAS, sum of the lumbar rotation angle from L1 to S1, and thoracolumbar rotation ROM were significantly different after 4 weeks.

Conclusions: This study revealed a decrease in lumbar segmentation after thoracic spine mobilization. Thoracic spine mobilization may be effective in patients with LBP and hypermobility.


Keywords: low back pain, lumbar spine rotation angle, MRI, thoracic spine self-mobilization

This study revealed a decrease in lumbar segmentation after thoracic spine self-mobilization. Therefore, we consider that thoracic spine self-mobilization may be effective in patients with LBP and hypermobility.