Short-term effects of core stability training on the balance and ambulation function of individuals with chronic spinal cord injury: a pilot randomized controlled trial

Minerva Med. 2019 Jun;110(3):216-223. doi: 10.23736/S0026-4806.19.05952-4. Epub 2019 Feb 22.


Background: To investigate the effects of core stability training (CST) on an unstable support surface (USS) on the balance and ambulation function of individuals with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI).

Methods: Twenty-nine chronic patients with SCI were randomly divided into experiment group (N.=14) and control group (N.=15). The two groups received residual extremity muscle strengthening exercises (REMSE), body weight supported treadmill (BWSTT) training and CST five times per week for 12 weeks. Patients in control group were implemented CST on a stable support surface (SSS), but patients in experiment group on an unstable support surface (USS) created by sling in lying and physio-ball in sitting position. Gait and balance, static and dynamic, data were collected and analyzed by 3D Motion Analysis Software Version 1.0 (America) and Active Balancer EAB-100 (Sakai Iryo, Japan) respectively.

Results: After the 12-week intervention, stride length, cadence, comfortable walking speed (P=0.025, 0.028, 0.009), and Romberg ratio of WPL, UPL, circumference area (CA), effective value area (EVA) (P=0.009, 0.009, 0.043, 0.049) and DCDX with eyes closed (P=0.036) of static balance showed significant differences between the two groups with the unstable group showing a better outcome.

Conclusions: Our pilot study was feasible to deliver. When combined with REMSE and BWSTT, CST on an USS surpasses SSS in terms of improving chronic SCI patients' ambulation and static balance function after a 12-week intervention.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Postural Balance*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Walking*
  • Young Adult