Background: This study compared the short- and long-term effects of different exercise programs on lumbar muscle function, cross-sectional area of the multifidus muscle, functional disability and low back pain in people who perform sedentary work.
Methods: A total of 70 volunteer women with sedentary occupations suffering from low back pain were randomized to either the lumbar stabilization exercise program group or the lumbar muscle strengthening exercise program group. All subjects entered the 20-week exercise programs. The measurement of the cross-sectional area of the multifidus muscle was executed by using an ultrasound system, isokinetic peak torque was measured applying an isokinetic dynamometer.
Findings: The results indicated that the 20-week exercise programs reduced low back pain and functional disability. Positive effects for the cross-sectional area of the multifidus muscle, functional disability and low back pain lasted for 4 weeks after the application of lumbar muscle strengthening exercise program and for 12 weeks after the application of lumbar stabilization exercise program. The lumbar muscle strength increased and lasted for 8 weeks after both exercise programs.
Interpretation: The 20-week lumbar stabilization exercise and muscle strengthening exercise programs were efficacious in decreasing LBP and functional disability in people performing sedentary work, however the lumbar stabilization exercise program was more effective, and this effect lasted for 12 weeks after completion of the program.
Keywords: Exercises; Low back pain; Multifidus muscle; Strength.
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