A new study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of physical therapy treatments administered for low back pain (LBP) in children and adolescents. Low back pain in adolescents is associated with LBP in later years; as such, LBP treatments have been given to adolescents for this issue, but which physical therapy treatment is the most effective is not known. The study explored the efficacy of the LBP treatments for children and adolescents, by means of meta-analysis.
The method utilized in the study involved examining studies in English, Spanish, Italian, French, and Portuguese, each carried out by March 2011. The studies were selected by electronic and manual search, and two independent researchers coded the moderator variables of the studies and performed the effect size calculations. According to the report, the "mean effect size index used was the standardized mean change between the pretest and posttest, and it was applied separately for each combination of outcome measures and measurement type."
Of the selected studies, eight met the selection criteria, which allowed the research team to define eleven treatment groups and five control groups using the group as the unit of analysis. The 16 groups involved a total sample of 334 subjects at the posttest. The conclusion of the study was that of all the physical therapy treatments for LBP in adolescents and children, a combination of manual therapy and therapeutic physical conditioning is most effective.
The research team does note that due to the low number of control groups and studies and the methodological limitations in the meta-analysis, they were unable to draw definitive conclusions in relation to the efficacy of LBP physical therapy treatments.
Source: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders