Motor control problems in patients with spinal pain: a new direction for therapeutic exercise

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2000 Feb;23(2):115-7.


Recent research into muscle dysfunction in patients with low back pain has led to discoveries of impairments in deep muscles of the trunk and back. These muscles have a functional role in enhancing spinal segmental support and control. The muscle impairments are not those of strength but rather problems in motor control. These findings call for a different approach in therapeutic exercise, namely a motor learning exercise protocol. The specific exercise approach has an initial focus on retraining the cocontraction of the deep muscles (ie, the transversus abdominis and lumbar multi-fidus Initial clinical trials point to the effectiveness of the approach in patients with both acute and chronic low back pain in terms of reducing the neuromuscular impairment and in control of pain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / etiology
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Motor Skills
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Muscle Weakness / complications
  • Muscle Weakness / rehabilitation*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Outcome