The effects of three different training modalities on the cross-sectional area of the paravertebral muscles

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2001 Dec;11(6):335-41. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0838.2001.110604.x.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of different training schedules on the cross-sectional area (CSA) of the paravertebral muscles (PA) in chronic low back pain (CLBP) patients. To achieve this goal 59 patients were randomly assigned to three different 10-week rehabilitation programs: stabilization training (group 1, n=19), stabilization training combined with dynamic resistance training (group 2, n=20) and stabilization training combined with dynamic-static resistance training (group 3, n=20). The CSA of the PA was derived from standard computerized tomography (CT) images at three different levels. The CSA of the PA was found to increase statistically in group 2 (upper end-plate of L4) and group 3 (upper end-plate of L3 and lower end-plate of L4). In contrast, no statistical differences over time were found in group 1. Since stabilization exercises have no effect on the CSA of the PA, intensive lumbar resistance training seems to be necessary to restore the size of the PA in CLBP patients with atrophied back muscles. No systematic difference in hypertrophy between dynamic and dynamic-static strengthening training modes was found.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anatomy, Cross-Sectional
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / prevention & control*
  • Lumbosacral Region
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Muscular Atrophy / therapy*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed