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J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2014 Jan;18(1):75-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2013.05.014. Epub 2013 Jun 4.

Effect of therapeutic infra-red in patients with non-specific low back pain: a pilot study.

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School of Rehabilitation, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address:
School of Rehabilitation, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Physical Therapy, Georgia Regents University, Augusta, GA, USA.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of infra-red (IR) in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain (NSLBP). Ten patients with NSLBP (5 men and 5 women) and disease duration of 21.7 ± 11.50 months participated in this pilot study. Patients had a mean age of 36.40 ± 10.11 years (range = 25-55). Patients were treated with infra-red (IR) for 10 sessions, each for 15 min, 3 days per week, for a period of 4 weeks. Outcome measures were the Numerical Rating Scale (NRS), the Functional Rating Index (FRI), the Modified-Modified Schober Test (MMST), and the Biering-Sorensen test to assess pain severity, disability, lumbar flexion and extension range of motion (ROM), and back extensor endurance, respectively. Data were collected at: baseline - study entry (T0); end of 5th treatment session after 2 weeks (T1); and end of the treatment after 4 weeks (T2). The results of the ANOVA demonstrated a statistically significant main effect of IR on all outcomes of pain, function, lumbar flexion-extension ROM, and back extensor endurance. The treatment effect sizes ranged from large to small. IR was effective in improving pain, function, lumbar ROM, and back extensor endurance in a sample of patients with NSLBP. Treatment effect sizes ranged from large to small indicating clinically relevant improvements primarily in pain and function for patients with NSLBP.


Infra-red; Low back pain; Physiotherapy; Superficial heat

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