1. Yen, Sheng-Che PT, PhD
  2. Chui, Kevin K. PT, DPT, PhD, GCS, OCS, FAAOMPT
  3. Markowski, Alycia DPT, MPhyS(manip), OCS, FAAOMPT
  4. Fitzpatrick, Diane F. PT, DPT, MS, GCS
  5. Wang, Ying-Chih PhD, OTR/L
  6. Corkery, Marie B. PT, DPT, MHS, FAAOMPT


Low back pain (LBP) is among the most common health problems seen in primary care. The prevalence of severe LBP increased as age increased. Using manual therapy to relieve pain and stiffness associated with LBP is commonly seen in physical therapy practice. We reviewed existing studies, which included aging and older adults to elucidate the effectiveness of manual therapy on LBP in these populations. The techniques reviewed were spinal manipulation and soft tissue massage. We found that existing research on manual therapy for LBP has focused on younger adults, and many trials have excluded adults older than 65 years. Current evidence, though limited, generally supports that manual therapy is effective for treating LBP in aging and older adult populations. We were not able to conclude whether manual therapy is safe for these populations because adverse events were not reported in most studies reviewed. Further research is warranted to address limitations in current literature.