The Effects of Muscle Energy on Low Back Pain: A 3D Analysis of running biomechanics

Alisa Drapeaux, Jon Hurdelbrink


Background: Muscle energy technique (MET) is asn osteopathic treatment technique that is utilized frequently in the clinical setting, yet the overall effectiveness is minimally supported within literature. MET is an osteopathic technique that involves an isometric contract relax technique intended to improve alignment and enhance neuromuscular education. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of MET on running kinetics on subjects with low back pain. Method: A quasi-experimental research design was implemented and subjects, all of whom either had a history of or currently experience low back pain, underwent pre-intervention data collection of: anthropometric measurements, medical history, dorsaVi 3D running analysis, and a musculoskeletal and neurological clinical exam. Subjects underwent 6 weeks of isolated lumbo-pelvic MET at a frequency of twice a week, and were instructed to avoid all other treatment. Post-intervention data collected included a clinical exam and another dorsaVI running analysis. Results: Data was analyzed including: pre and post-treatment initial peak acceleration, ground contact time, and ground reaction force. A paired t-test comparing pre and post mean kinetic changes demonstrated the following p values: initial peak acceleration p = .80, ground contact time p = .96, and ground reaction force p = .68. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that isolated MET treatment is not statistically significant for changing 3D kinetic running variable in subjects with low back pain. Clinical Implications: Recommend healthcare providers to use a multi-treatment approach for low back pain. Future research should include a control group and larger sample size.


Kinetics, Low Back Pain, Running, Athletes

Full Text:



Ballantyne F, Fryer G, McLaughlin P. (2003). The effect of muscle energy technique on hamstring extensibility: the mechanism of altered flexibility. Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, 6 (2), 59-63.

Becker J., James S., Wayner R., Osternig L., Chou LS. (2017). Biomechanical factors associated with Achilles tendinopathy and medial tibial stress syndrome in runners. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 45(11), 2614-2621.

Bramah, C., Preece, S., Gill, N., Herrington, L. (2018). Is There a Pathological Gait Associated with Common Soft Tissue Running Injuries? The American Journal of Sports Medicine 46(12):3023–3031 DOI: 10.1177/0363546518793657.

Chaitow L. Muscle Energy Techniques. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2006.

Charry, E., Hu., W., Umer, M., Ronchi, A., and Taylor, S (2013). Study on estimation of peak ground reaction forces using tibial accelerations in running. IEEE Eighth International Conference on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing, Melbourne, 8(3),288-293, DOI: 10.1109/ISSNIP.2013.6529804.

Davis IS, Bowser BJ, Mullineaux D. (2016). Greater vertical impact loading in female runners with medically diagnosed injuries: a prospective investigation. British Journal Sports Medicine. 50(14):887-892.

DorsaVi. (Retrieved 3/2/2021). Metrics.,(acceleration%20due%20to%20gravity

DorsaVi. (Retrieved 3/2/2021). Professional Suite.

Farahpour, N., Jafarnez, A., Damavandi, M., Bakhtiari, A., Allar, P. (2016). Gait Ground Reaction Force Characteristics of LBP patients with pronated feet and able-bodied individuals with and without pronation. Journal of Biomechanics. 49 (9): 1705-1710. Biomechanics.

Franke H, Fryer G, Ostelo, R. Kamper, S. (2016). Muscle energy technique for non-specific low-back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine 20 (2).41-52.

Fryer, G. (2011). Muscle Energy Technique: An evidence informed approach. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. 14 (1).

Fryer, G., Pearce, A. (2013). The Effect of Muscle Energy Technique on Corticospinal and spinal reflex excitability in asymptomatic participants. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. 17(4):440-447.

Fryer, Johnson, Fossum.. (2010). The use of spinal and sacroiliac joint procedures within the British osteopathic profession. Part 2: Treatment. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. 13 (4)3:152‐9.

Fryer, Ruszkowski (2004). The influence of contraction duration in muscle energy technique applied to the atlanto‐axial joint. Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. 7(2):79‐84.

Garner, J., Parish, L., Shaw, K., Wilson, P., Donahue, P. (2020). Using Motion Sensor Technology to Manage Risk of Injury in a Strength and Conditioning Program for Female Collegiate Athletes. International Journal of Kinesiology & Sports Science, 8 (1),31-36.

Gilkey D., Keefe, T., Peel, J., Kassab, O., Kennedy C. (2010). Risk factors associated with back pain: a cross-sectional study of 963 college students. Journal of Manipulative Physiology Therapy,33 (2),88-95.

Gombatto S, Collins, D., Sahrmann, S., Engsberg, J., Van Dillen, L. (2006). Gender differences in pattern of hip and lumbopelvic rotation in people with low back pain. Clinical Biomechanics. 21 (3), 263–271.

Greenman, PE. Principles of Manual Medicine. Principles of Manual Medicine. 3rd Edition. Philadelphia: Lippincott William & Wilkins, 2003

Lanovaz, J., Musselman, K., Oates, A., Treen, T., and Unger., J. (2017). Validation of a commercial inertial sensor system for spatiotemporal gait measurements in children. Gait & Posture 51, 14-19. DOI: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2016.09.021.

Madadi-Shad, A., Jafarnez-Hadgero, A., Sheikhalizade, H., Dinoisio, V. (2020). Effect of a corrective exercise program on gait kinetics and muscle activities in older adults with low back pain and pronated feet: A double-blind, randomized controlled trial. Gait & Posture. 76, 330-345.

Magnusson SP, Simonsen EB, Aagaard P, Dyhre-Poulsen P, McHugh MP, Kjaer M. (1996). Mechanical and physical responses to stretching with and without pre-isometric contraction in human skeletal muscle. Archives Physical Medicine Rehabilitation. 77 (4),v373-377.

Mitchell Jr, F., Mitchell, P. (1995). The muscle energy manual, Vol. 1. East Lansing, Michigan: MET Press.

Orrock, P. (2009). Profile of members of the Australian Osteopathic Association: Part 1 ‐ The practitioners. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, 12(1):14‐24.

Papi, E., Bull, A., McGregor, A. (2018). Is there evidence to use kinematic/kinetic measures clinically in low back pain patients? A systematic review. Clinical Biomechanics. 55, 53-54.

Patel, V., Eapen, C., Ceepee, Z., Kamath, R. (2018). Effect of muscle energy technique with and without strain-counterstrain technique in acute low back pain- A randomized clinical Trial. Hong Kong Physiotherapy Journal.38(1). 41–51. doi: 10.1142/S1013702518500051.

Sadeghisani, M., Manshadi, F., Kalantari, K., Rahimi, A., Rafiei, A., Asnaashari, A., Dehghan, M., (2017). A comparison of the lumbopelvic-hip complex movement patterns in people with and without non-specific low back pain during an active hip test. Journal of Mechanics in Medicine and Biology, 17 (1). DOI: 10.1142/S021951941750004X

Selkow, N., Grindsta, T., Cross, K., Pugh K., Hertel, J., Saliba, S. (2009). Short-term effect of muscle energy technique on pain in individuals with non- specific lumbopelvic pain: A pilot study. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy. 17(1):14–8.

Smith, D. (2019). Reflecting on new models for osteopathy-it’s time to change. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. 31,15-20.

St.Pierre, M. Sobzak, S., Fontaine, N., Saade, N., Boivin, K. (2020). Quantification and reliability of hip internal rotation and the FADIR test in supine position using a smartphone application in asymptomatic population. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 43 (6), 620-626.

Van Dillen L., Sahrmann, S., Wagner, J. (2015). Classification, intervention, and outcomes for a person with lumbar rotation with flexion syndrome. Physical Therapy 85(4),336–351.

Van Dillen, L., Gombatto, S., Collins, D., Engsberg, J., Sahrmann, S. (2007). Symmetry of timing of hip and lumbopelvic rotation motion in 2 different subgroups of people with low back pain. Archives Physical Medicine Rehabilitation, 88 (3), 351–360.

Van Dillen, L., Sahrmann, S., Norton, B., Caldwell,C. , Fleming,D., McDonnell, M. et al (2001). Effect of active limb movements on symptoms in patients with low back pain. Journal of Orthopedic Sports Physical Therapy. 31 (13),402–413.

Willy, R. (2018). Innovations and pitfalls in the use of wearable devices in the prevention and rehabilitation of running related injuries. Physical Therapy in Sport,29(8), 26-33.

Wilson E, Payton O, Donegan‐Shoaf L, Dec K (2003). Muscle energy technique in patients with acute low back pain: a pilot clinical trial. The Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy,33 (9):502‐12.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2021 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.