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Table 1 Characteristics of included studies

From: Does targeting manual therapy and/or exercise improve patient outcomes in nonspecific low back pain? A systematic review

RCT Brennan 2006[18](Subacute NSLBP) Childs 2004[19](Acute NSLBP) Hancock 2008[26](Acute NSLBP) Long 2004[21](Chronic NSLBP)
Inclusion criteria Age 18-65 years. Low back pain (LBP) of less than 90 days with or without referral into the lower extremity, and an Oswestry disability score ≥ 25%. Age 18-60 years. Primary symptom of LBP, with or without referral into the lower extremity, Oswestry disability score of at least 30%. LBP of < 6 weeks duration, causing moderate pain and moderate disability (measured by adaptations of items 7 and 8 of the SF-36) Age 18-65 years. LBP with or without leg symptoms and with or without a neurological sign. Demonstrating a directional preference.
Exclusion criteria A visible lateral shift or acute kyphotic deformity, signs of nerve root compression, red flags indicating a serious pathology, an inability to reproduce any symptoms with lumbar spine active range of motion (AROM) or palpation, pregnancy, prior surgery to the lumbar and/or sacral region. Patients with red flags for a serious spinal condition, signs consistent with nerve root compression, pregnancy, prior surgery to the lumbar spine or buttock. Current episode not preceded by a pain-free period of at least one month in which no care was provided, known or suspected serious spinal pathology, nerve root compromise, currently receiving non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or spinal manipulative therapy, surgery within the preceding 6 months, contraindication to paracetamol, diclofenac or spinal manipulative therapy. Cauda equina syndrome. Two or more neurological signs. Spinal fractures. Post-surgical. Off work for one year or more due to LBP. Medical causes (for example, severe osteoporosis, inflammatory or infectious conditions). Uncontrolled medical conditions (for example, diabetes, angina, hypertension). Pregnancy. Inability to read English. Patients with prior knowledge of, or specific physician referral for, the McKenzie method. No directional preference.
Clinical prediction rule Delitto Treatment Based Classification Flynn manipulation prediction rule Flynn manipulation prediction rule McKenzie directional preference-based exercise
Targeted treatment Mobilization (low amplitude), manipulation (thrust), exercise (AROM, McKenzie or strengthening and stabilization) n = 50 Manipulation (thrust), Exercise (ROM) n = 70 Mobilization (mostly low velocity spinal mobilization, but 5% received manipulation) n = 114 Exercise (McKenzie directional preference exercises) n = 70
Non-targeted treatment Mobilization (low amplitude), manipulation (thrust), exercise (AROM, McKenzie or strengthening and stabilization) n = 73 Exercise (stabilization, low-stress aerobic, strengthening) n = 61 Sham mobilization (detuned ultrasound) n = 121 Exercise (exercises opposite to directional preference or non-directional exercises) n = 131
Outcomes Oswestry Disability Index Oswestry Disability Index Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire, Pain Numerical Rating Scale Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire, Pain Visual Analogue Scale
  1. NSLBP, nonspecific low back pain.