Report Summary by University of Central Lancashire (2011)
TAMARS® is a technology assisted back pain treatment that claims to provide a sandardised form of mobilisation to the entire spine. An additional mode of treatment known as reflex is also used throughout a treatment. Less evidence exists for reflex but it is claimed that it improves spinal alignment by stimulating a reflex response in the paraspinal muscles. The treatment is in regular clinical use through 21st Century Back Care, and has previously received positive subjective feedback. However, the biomechanical effects are still unknown and would provide a better link between the effectiveness of the treatment in LBP sufferers.
The aim of the study was to investigate the biomechanical effects of TAMARS® treatment during clinical and functional everyday tasks, in people with LBP.
A total of 8 volunteers all suffering with simple mechanical LBP were eligible to participate. Each participant performed five tasks, all of which were functional and clinically relevant movement patterns involved within everyday activities. Whilst the participants performed each task their movements were recorded using a 10 camera Oqus Qualisys motion capture system. The data collected by these cameras provided a three-dimensional analysis of the spinal and lower limb movements. In addition to the biomechanics all participants completed questionnaires which subjectively assessed their back pain, back stiffness and the impact their LBP has on daily life.
Following 4 weeks treatment of TAMARS® participants showed a trend towards improved range of motion (ROM) in forward flexion. Immediate and long term reductions in side flexion and rotation were reported for all predominantly forward bending tasks such as forward flexion, sit to stand and walking. This suggests that these decreases in ROM are a result of improved control in spinal movement.
Improved control was also identified in the angular velocity and acceleration of the side to side movement of the lumbar spine. Significant reductions were seen during the initial 15% of the participant’s gait (stance phase).
Subjectively the majority of participants perceived TAMARS® to have a positive impact on both their levels of pain and stiffness. General activity levels were improved with less interference in daily activities such as walking, sleeping and work.
Overall the findings of the study have identified that both short and long term applications of TAMARS® have a clinically significant influence on spinal control during functional and clinical tasks, causing a greater degree of spinal stability and reducing the participant’s pain. It is proposed that the improved control is due to an increased proprioception of the surrounding muscles.