INTRODUCTION: In a previous study we demonstrated an increased thoracic stiffness and reduction of thoracic ROM in obese women with chronic low back pain. Osteopathy is recognized as a treatment effective on pain in low back pain aimed at improving ROM, especially useful when associated with an active specific approach with exercises.
The aim of our study was to evaluate the thoracic kinematic pre‐post treatment in a group of chronic LBP obese females patients treated with osteopathy and exercises.
METHODS: Study design: longitudinal study
Population: 12 obese females (all with BMI > 38 Kg/m2) with cLBP have been randomized into 2 groups: Osteopathy + Specific Exercises (OMT;6 women, Age 32.0±6.63) and Specific Exercises (SE; 6 women, Age 43.83±5.63).
Instrumental measures: kinematic of the thoracic and lumbar spine and pelvis during forward flexion. A VICON 460 A 6 TV was used.
Seconsary outcome measures: VAS, Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RM) and Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire (OQ).
RESULTS: Significant effects on kinematics were reported only for Osteopathy + Specific Exercises, with an improvement of thoracic range of motion (from 34° to 44°, p<0.05 vs 29° to 24°). VAS improved significantly in both groups respectively of 3 point for OMT and 2.4 for SE; RM and OQ improved in both groups but achieved significant values only for the group undergoing Osteopathy + Specific Exercises (OMT: 3.5 and 6; SE 1.5 and 1.5).
CONCLUSION: a combined treatment with Osteopathy + Specific Exercises is effective in obese patients with cLBP in improving biomechanical parameters of the thoracic spine, usually stiff in these patients and reducing disability and pain. The former result can be attributed solely to osteopathy, since it was not evident in the other group. Osteopathy seems to provide additional benefit and can be easily associated to other therapeutic approaches.