Bilateral Asymmetrical Limb Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Effects on Pain, Multifidus Activity, Range of Motion, and Disability in Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Author: Aftab Ahmed Mirza Baig1, Basit Ansari2
1 Department of Physiotherapy, Sindh Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. Electronic address:
2 Health, Physical Education and Sports Sciences, University of Karachi, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan.
Conference/Journal: J Manipulative Physiol Ther
Date published: 2023 Jun 9
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2023.04.005. , Word Count: 252

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of bilateral asymmetrical limb proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) pattern exercises on lumbar multifidus (LM) activity, pain, disability, and lumbar range of motions (ROMs) compared to Swiss ball exercises in patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP).

A randomized controlled trial was conducted at the Sindh Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Karachi, Pakistan, between March 2020 and January 2021. A sample size of 150 patients with CLBP was randomized into 2 groups. Participants in the intervention group (n = 75) received bilateral asymmetrical limb PNF, while the comparison group (n = 75) received Swiss ball exercises. The scores of the visual analog scale, Oswestry Disability Index, Modified-Modified Schober's test, and percentage of the maximum voluntary contractions of LM (%MVC LM) through surface electromyography were recorded before and after 15 sessions of exercises. The Wilcoxon signed rank and Mann-Whitney U tests were employed for within-group and between-group comparisons of all outcomes, respectively. The considered level of significance was 0.05. The trial was registered with (NCT04206137).

Pain (in sitting, standing, and walking), disability on the Oswestry Disability Index, and left side %MVC LM were significantly improved (P < .001) in the PNF group compared to the comparison group except for right side %MVC LM and ROMs on the Modified-Modified Schober's test (P > .05).

Bilateral asymmetrical limb PNF exercises showed improvement in pain, disability, and LM activity of patients with CLBP more than those who used Swiss ball exercises.

Keywords: Exercise; Exercise Therapy; Lumbago; Muscle Contraction.

PMID: 37294220 DOI: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2023.04.005