Interventional Study of Effects on Spine Height With Two Unloading Positions

2014-07-23 21:11:08 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this study is to test a physical therapy intervention for reducing pain in the low back and into the legs. With individuals over the age of 40 years, this pain may be associated to changes in back height from aging of the cushions between the back bones. When pain is caused from this, completion of different positions and rest periods have been shown to help reduce the pain, at least temporarily. This study will compare two such positions; 1)floating in deep warm water with weights attached to the ankles, to take the load off of the spine, 2)lying on their back with hip and knees flexed to a 90 degree angle. The height of each person will be measured before and after completion of each intervention using a specially designed measuring tool.

Experimental hypothesis:

1. Subjects with low back and leg pain suggestive of nerve root compression syndrome will experience increase in spinal height when completing aquatic vertical suspension and/or land-based supine flexion.

2. Subjects with low back and leg pain suggestive of nerve root compression syndrome will experience greater increase in height, greater reduction of pain intensity and location when completing underwater vertical suspension as compared to supine land based flexion.


Spinal height is affected throughout life from many different physiological changes and mechanical stresses, but a large portion is thought to occur primarily from intervertebral disc degeneration with resultant reduction in overall spinal height. The use of specific postures and rest periods to increase the overall spinal height has been suggested through various stadiometric research studies. This overall spinal height change can be used as a treatment tool for management of symptoms of chronic low back pain and signs of nerve root compression.

The purpose of the study is to investigate the effect of aquatic vertical suspension on spinal height, symptom location and pain intensity compared to a more commonly used land based supine flexion position.

The study will be conducted at one outpatient physical therapy clinic with subjects recruited from the local community.

A single blinded True Experimental Repeated Measure cross over design will be utilized.

Spine height will be measured using a commercially available stadiometer. Spinal height measurements will be completed after loaded walking, supine land based flexion positioning and after aquatic vertical hang.

Study Design

Allocation: Non-Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment


Low Back Pain


aquatic vertical suspension., land-based supine flexion


Cleburne Physical Therapy and Fitness Center
United States




Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-23T21:11:08-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A group (or class) of aquatic plants, including the streptophyte algae, that are the closest relatives to land plants (EMBRYOPHYTA).

The length of the face determined by the distance of separation of jaws. Occlusal vertical dimension (OVD or VDO) or contact vertical dimension is the lower face height with the teeth in centric occlusion. Rest vertical dimension (VDR) is the lower face height measured from a chin point to a point just below the nose, with the mandible in rest position. (From Jablonski, Dictionary of Dentistry, 1992, p250)

The suborder of aquatic CARNIVORA comprising the WALRUSES; FUR SEALS; SEA LIONS; and EARLESS SEALS. They have fusiform bodies with very short tails and are found on all sea coasts. The offspring are born on land.

Algae of the division Chlorophyta, in which the green pigment of CHLOROPHYLL is not masked by other pigments. Green algae have over 7000 species and live in a variety of primarily aquatic habitats. Only about ten percent are marine species, most live in freshwater. They are more closely related to the green vascular land PLANTS than any other group of algae.

Musculature of the BACK.

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