Lumbar mobilisations and hamstring ROM
It is well documented that hamstring strains are one of the most common injuries in sport, leading to a high incidence of missed games and training times.
As a result, there have been many studies looking at the causative and preventative mechanisms and management strategies for hamstring strains.
Hamstring flexibility and strength are the 2 most common factors typically studied when looking at preventative strategies and treatment of injuries.
In this randomised controlled crossover trial, the authors investigated the efficacy of lumbar postero-anterior (PA) mobilisation in improving the hamstring flexibility and the lower back range of motion (ROM). This was done by measuring Active Knee Extension (AKE) and the Active Lumbar Flexion (ALF) ROM.
In the study, 24 healthy participants underwent a 2-minute duration grade-3 lumbar PA mobilisation to the L4/5 zygapophyseal joint of the side of the dominant leg (accounted for by the leg the participant normally kicked a ball with).
The 2 outcome measures (i.e., AKE and ALF) were tested at intervals of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 45 and 60 minutes.
It was shown that there is a moderate effect of lumbar PA mobilisations in improving both AKE and ALF. Improvements in ROM can last up to 15-20 minutes post-treatment.
Expert opinion by Jonathan Ko
The introduction and conclusion of this study are slightly confusing: the introduction explores themes related to hamstring strains. At some point, the study links hamstring strains to hamstring extensibility and starts to mention lumbar mobilisation as a treatment modality to improve hamstring extensibility (measured through AKE). The final conclusion is that lumbar mobilisation is effective in improving hamstring extensibility. Summarizing: there are some great take-home points in the study, but it is a little confusing as to what point the authors are trying to make.
> From: Chesterton et al., J Man Manip Ther (2018) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to Informa UK Ltd. Click here for the online summary.