[Purpose] This study investigated the effect of exhalation exercises on trunk muscle activity and Oswestry Disability Index by inducing trunk muscle activity through increasing intra-abdominal pressure and activating muscles, contributing to spinal stability. [Subjects and Methods] This intervention program included 20 male patients with chronic low back pain. A total of 10 subjects each were randomly assigned to an exhalation exercise group as the experimental group and a spinal stabilization exercise group as the control group. [Results] There were significant differences in the activities of the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, external oblique abdominal, and erector spinae muscles as well as in the Oswestry Disability Index within the experimental group. There were meaningful differences in the activities of the rectus abdominis, external oblique abdominal, and erector spinae muscles and in the Oswestry Disability Index within the control group. In addition, there was a meaningful intergroup difference in transverse abdominis muscle activity alone and in the Oswestry Disability Index. [Conclusion] The breathing exercise effectively increased muscle activity by training gross and fine motor muscles in the trunk. Moreover, it was verified as a very important element for strengthening body stability because it both released and prevented low back pain.
Keywords: Breathing exercise; Chronic low back pain; Trunk muscle activity.