Background: Chronic low-back pain (LBP) may be related to decreased lumbar multifidus muscle cross-sectional area (CSA).
Objective: In this study, core stabilization exercises were designed to enhance neuromuscular control and correct multifidus dysfunction.
Methods: The subjects were healthy women (n = 11) and women with chronic LBP (n = 17). Lumbar multifidus muscle CSAs were measured by ultrasonography. Tests were carried out before training exercises for lumbar stability, and again 4 months and 8 months after training.
Results: In women with LBP, the mean multifidus muscle CSA increased by 22% on the right side and 23% on the left side after 8 months of lumbar stabilization training, compared with baseline measurements. In healthy women, mean multifidus muscle CSA increased by 24% on the right side and 23% on the left side, compared with baseline values.
Conclusions: A core stabilization exercise program significantly increased multifidus muscle CSAs in both healthy women and women with chronic LBP.
Keywords: Lumbar stability; low-back pain; multifidus muscle.