Tending to the Diaphragm to ease Chronic Low Back Pain (LBP)

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Tending to the Diaphragm to ease Chronic Low Back Pain (LBP)

According to a paper published in the 'Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation' by Martí-Salvador and colleagues is focused on the diaphragm muscle within a protocol of osteopathic manual therapy which adds clinically relevant advantages as compared to the isolated application of the protocol, which is already effective by itself in chronic non-specific low back pain (LBP) patients.

This is the first ever clinical trial executed to investigate the efficacy of special osteopathic methods tending to the diaphragm for relieving chronic LBP.

Back pain is currently the leading cause of disability in most countries throughout the world as per the Global Burden of Disease Study, 2015. Almost 80 percent of adults in the US have had LBP at least once in their lives. Chronic pain lasts for more than 12 weeks. The LBP treatments are not always successful. The pain remains even after surgery or other forms of medical treatment in some cases.

The scientists at CEU Cardenal Herrera University in Valencia, Spain, distinguished manual osteopathic methods that laid special emphasis on the diaphragm. The findings of this study were considered as one of the three top studies to have been presented at the International Osteopathy Congress 2018, held in Madrid, Spain.

Martí-Salvador and researchers recruited a total of 66 participants aged 18–60 who had been diagnosed with chronic non-specific LBP that lasted at least 3 months. Out of 66 participants, 33 were randomly assigned to an osteopathic manipulative treatment that comprised methods which emphasized on the diaphragm and 33 benefited from the same osteopathic treatment but with a sham diaphragm intervention. Over a period of 4 weeks, five sessions were followed for both the protocols. After 4 weeks and 12 weeks, the participants' pain and anxiety levels, depression, pain catastrophization, and fear-avoidance beliefs, were assessed at the starting of the study. 

All in all, these interventions brought notable improvements in both groups. But, a tremendous improvement was recorded in the group that received diaphragm-specific interventions. This new study pointed out towards "a statistically significant reduction" of pain in the intervention group as compared to the sham group. Significant and clinically suitable improvements in pain and disability were observed both at week 4 and 3 months after the intervention in case of the diaphragm-centered methods.


Medical News Today

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Original title of the article

Tending to the diaphragm may relieve chronic low back pain


Martí-Salvador et al.

Exploratory, Low back pain, Back, Chronic, Clinical trial
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