Persistence of improvements in postural strategies following motor control training in people with recurrent low back pain

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2008 Aug;18(4):559-67. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2006.10.012. Epub 2007 Mar 2.


This study investigated long-term effects of training on postural control using the model of deficits in activation of transversus abdominis (TrA) in people with recurrent low back pain (LBP). Nine volunteers with LBP attended four sessions for assessment and/or training (initial, two weeks, four weeks and six months). Training of repeated isolated voluntary TrA contractions were performed at the initial and two-week session with feedback from real-time ultrasound imaging. Home program involved training twice daily for four weeks. Electromyographic activity (EMG) of trunk and deltoid muscles was recorded with surface and fine-wire electrodes. Rapid arm movement and walking were performed at each session, and immediately after training on the first two sessions. Onset of trunk muscle activation relative to prime mover deltoid during arm movements, and the coefficient of variation (CV) of EMG during averaged gait cycle were calculated. Over four weeks of training, onset of TrA EMG was earlier during arm movements and CV of TrA EMG was reduced (consistent with more sustained EMG activity). Changes were retained at six months follow-up (p<0.05). These results show persistence of motor control changes following training and demonstrate that this training approach leads to motor learning of automatic postural control strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Muscles / physiology
  • Adult
  • Arm / physiology
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Recurrence
  • Walking