The Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy: A Pilot Study of the ATM2

A PILOT STUDY OF THE ATM2™ (ACTIVE THERAPEUTIC MOVEMENT) DEVICE FOR USE IN THE TREATMENT OF LOW BACK PAIN

Lewis C, Barrett J, Lopez W, et al. A pilot study of the ATM2 (Active Therapeutic Movement) device for use in the treatment of low back pain. J Man Manip Ther. 2006;14(3):178.

Purpose: To determine if 1) the ATM2™ (a standing treatment table) was more effective than a mat exercise for decreasing LBP and increasing lumbar range of motion and 2) the ATM2™ impacts reprogramming of the CNS firing pattern of the transverse abdominis (TrA) in subjects with low back pain (LBP). Clinical evidence has been documented for the efficacy of the ATM2™ when used with patients who have LBP; however, no published studies have been done.

Methods: 16 subjects (8 female, 8 male), 8 with LBP and 8 without LBP were recruited. Subjects with LBP were in the chronic stage. Subjects were randomly assigned to the ATM2™ intervention first or the mat exercise first. Pain provoking lumbar movement was determined and range of motion (ROM) and pain level was documented. Surface electrodes measured trunk muscle activity during the intervention. After each intervention pain level and ROM was reassessed.

Results: Change in ROM was found to be significant (p = 0.001).  The ATM2™ group gained an average of 0.25 cm.  The mat exercise group lost an average of 0.13 cm. A 2-way ANOVA at a level of 0.82 determined pain status was not a factor in ROM. Pain level between the two interventions was insignificant at T = 0.12. EMG recordings did not show the TrA as contracting before other trunk muscles at a significant level.

Conclusions: The ATM2™ was shown to be effective in increasing lumbar ROM whereas the mat exercise was not. The 2 interventions did not differ significantly in reducing LBP complaints.  The ATM2™ does not appear to impact CNS reprogramming of the TrA muscle.