Neuromuscular electrical stimulation training results in enhanced activation of spinal stabilizing muscles during spinal loading and improvements in pain ratings

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2011:2011:7622-5. doi: 10.1109/IEMBS.2011.6091878.


Low back pain is associated with dysfunction in recruitment of muscles in the lumbopelvic region. Effective rehabilitation requires preferential activation of deep stabilizing muscle groups yet training these muscles poses challenges in a clinical setting. This study was carried out in order to quantify the response of deep stabilizing muscles (transverses abdominis and deep fibres of multifidus) to a period of training using a novel neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) application in a group of patients with chronic low back pain. Analysis of results revealed clinically and statistically significant improvements in indicators of both muscle groups' performance, as evidenced by ultrasound evaluation of activation during voluntary activity. These improvements were associated with significant improvements in self reported pain levels, suggesting that NMES has an important role to play in CLBP rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiopathology*
  • Pain Measurement / methods*
  • Spine / physiopathology*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight-Bearing
  • Young Adult