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Title: The effect of lumbar spine manipulation on the muscle activity of the quadriceps femoris and hamstring muscle groups
Authors: Parkes, Jenna-Leigh 
Keywords: Spinal manipulative therapy;Muscle activity;Arthrogenic muscle inhibition;Quadriceps femoris;Hamstrings
Issue Date: 30-Nov-2020
Background: The clinical use of spinal manipulative therapy is becoming increasingly
evident in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. However, the exact
neurophysiological mechanisms behind spinal manipulative therapy and its effects on
muscle activity require further investigation. Fixated joints within the spine have been
shown to cause changes in muscle activity in both segmentally related muscles and
extremity muscles. When present in symptomatic or asymptomatic individuals,
fixations in the spine may not only lead to local neurophysiological changes but may
affect global neurophysiology. Chronic lower back pain has been associated with the
presence of arthrogenic muscle inhibition in lower limb musculature which prevents an
individual from fully activating the affected muscle. Although this form of inhibition is
predominately present in symptomatic individuals, there is evidence to suggest that
asymptomatic individuals undergo a similar neuromuscular change. However, further
research is needed to determine if the extent of the effects of arthrogenic muscle
inhibition differs between symptomatic and asymptomatic subjects.
Aim: This study aims to determine and compare the effects of a lumbar spine
manipulation on the muscle activity in the quadriceps femoris and hamstring muscle
groups in asymptomatic and symptomatic participants.
Method: This study was a randomised controlled trial which utilised a pre- and postexperimental design. A total of 48 participants between the ages of 18-45 years of both
genders and all races were recruited. The sample population included a symptomatic
and asymptomatic clinical group. Each clinical group had a treatment and control
group. Once placed into their respective groups, individuals were randomly allocated
to the intervention or control group. Muscle activity readings of the quadriceps femoris
and hamstring muscles were obtained during sets of maximum voluntary contractions
that occurred at the pre-intervention/control, post-intervention/control and post 10-
minute intervention/control. IBM SPSS version 26 was used to analyse the data.
Repeated measures ANOVA tests were used to compare each outcome between preand immediate post-treatment between the intervention and control groups for
immediate effects, and pre- and 10-minute post-treatment between the intervention and control groups for short-term effects. This was initially done within the
asymptomatic and symptomatic participants separately.
Results: There were no statistically significant differences between the age and
gender of the symptomatic and asymptomatic groups. With regards to muscle activity,
no significant changes in the quadriceps femoris or hamstring muscle groups were
identified in the asymptomatic group. Significant changes were detected in the right
rectus femoris of the quadriceps muscle demonstrating evidence of a treatment effect
(p=0.047). However, this change did not persist in the 10-minute readings. Although
not statistically significant, there was clear evidence of a clinical trend that presented
in the quadriceps femoris muscle (rectus femoris and vastus medialis) of the
symptomatic group, as the overall muscle activity of the participants who received the
intervention increased bilaterally. There were no statistically significant differences
found when comparing the data between the symptomatic and asymptomatic clinical
Conclusion: The results showed that lumbar spine manipulation did not produce
significant differences in the immediate post-readings and the 10-minute readings in
the quadriceps femoris and hamstring muscles of the symptomatic and asymptomatic
groups. When comparing the clinical groups, there was no significant difference
between the asymptomatic and symptomatic groups in terms of the pre-intervention
readings of muscle activity and the post-intervention measures immediately and at the
10-minute interval following lumbar spine manipulation.
Dissertation submitted in partial compliance with the requirements for the Master’s Degree in Technology: Chiropractic, Durban University of Technology, 2020.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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