The Role of the Iliopsoas Muscle Complex in Chronic Spinal Pain and Associated Signs and Symptoms

Author: Aileen Jefferis

Jefferis, Aileen, 2016 The Role of the Iliopsoas Muscle Complex in Chronic Spinal Pain and Associated Signs and Symptoms, Flinders University, School of Health Sciences

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Study Design

A randomised controlled clinical trial.


To investigate the role of the iliopsoas muscle complex in chronic low back pain and chronic spinal pain when treated with 12 sessions of trigger point pressure release and self-administered stretching, or self-administered stretching.


No comprehensive study has been located as having been conducted into the role of the iliopsoas muscle in chronic low back pain, and chronic spinal pain.


A total of 63 participants diagnosed with CLBP (34 female, and 29 males) with a mean age of 46.6 were randomly assigned into two groups; one group receiving trigger point pressure release to the iliopsoas muscle complex with a self-administered stretching protocol, and the other group who undertook the same self-administered stretching protocol. Primary outcome measures utilised were the Patient Disability Outcome Measure to assess function, the Short-form McGill pain questionnaire, myofascial trigger point prevalence, and height and weight measurements were measured prior to and at the cessation of the study. The outcome measures, were assessed by an assessor blinded to group allocation at completion being six weeks, with differences across the groups tested at baseline and completion using independent sample t-tests.


The presence of active myofascial trigger points in the intervention group, baseline to completion, was a reduction of 53.72%, with a decrease of 13.33% in the stretching group. Absent myofascial trigger points sites increased from an average of 5 pre-intervention to 13.85 in the intervention group, evidencing a change of 177%, with an increase from 5.1 to 6.95 in the stretching group. Changes in the Short-form McGill pain questionnaire in the categories of sensory, combined affective and sensory, and the present pain index were significant (P = .05). Patients who received trigger point pressure release with self-administered stretching showed significant improvements when compared to those who undertook self-administered stretching.


Meaningful short-term outcomes were found in the group who received trigger point pressure additional to self-administered stretching.

Keywords: Keywords: iliopsoas, chronic low back pain, chronic spinal pain, myofascial trigger pain

Subject: Health Sciences thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2016
School: School of Health Sciences
Supervisor: Professor Paul Worley