Sonoelastography and Lumbopelvic Muscle Stiffness in Patients with Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review

  • Hossein Rafsanjani Deh Qazi Department of Physiotherapy, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran/ Department of Physical Therapy, School of Paramedical and Rehabilitation Sciences, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran
  • Mohammad Ali Mohseni Bandpei Department of Physiotherapy, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran/ University Institute of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, the University of Lahore, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Nahid Rahmani Department of Physiotherapy, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Keywords: Sonoelastography, Elasticity Imaging Techniques, Muscle Stiffness, Elastic Modulus, Low Back Pain


This study aimed to systematically review studies conducted on the application of sonoelastography (SE) to evaluate lumbopelvic muscle stiffness in patients with low back pain (LBP). All relevant articles were retrieved from the available electronic databases, including PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, EMBASE, Cochrane library, and CINAHL, using the keywords “Sonoelastography”, “Elasticity Imaging Technique”, “Muscle Stiffness”, “Modulus Elasticity”, “Low Back Pain”. After initial searches, studies that met the inclusion criteria (i.e., published in English and sonoelastography were used to assess lumbopelvic muscle stiffness in both patients with LBP and healthy individuals) were enrolled. Also, any animal research, abstract of the seminar and/or conference, and/or non-English-language article were excluded. The quality of the studies was assessed using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) scale. In total, eight relevant studies were selected for review. Three studies were considered to have excellent quality, and five were considered fair quality using the PEDro scale. All reviewed studies have reported that SE can be considered a non-invasive method for quantifying changes in lumbopelvic muscle stiffness. Muscle stiffness was significantly higher in LBP patients compared to healthy persons, as well as across subgroups of LBP patients in various test postures (P˂0.05). Only one study was conducted on the reliability of SE in healthy individuals, while another examined the validity of SE imaging. The results of the present systematic review indicated that SE imaging is a reliable and valid tool to identify muscle changes that occur in patients with LBP and evaluate the effects of rehabilitation treatment.


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How to Cite
Rafsanjani Deh Qazi, H., Mohseni Bandpei, M. A., & Rahmani, N. (2023). Sonoelastography and Lumbopelvic Muscle Stiffness in Patients with Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review. Galen Medical Journal, 12, e2465. Retrieved from
Review Article