Effects of Movement Retraining and Lumbar Stabilization Exercises in Mechanical Low Back Pain: A Pilot Study

Cureus. 2024 Feb 16;16(2):e54291. doi: 10.7759/cureus.54291. eCollection 2024 Feb.


Objective To determine and compare the effects of movement retraining (MR), lumbar stabilization exercises (LSE), and a combination of both these exercises on pain, flexibility, strength, and functional disability in chronic mechanical low back pain (CMLBP) patients. Materials and methods Fifteen CMLBP participants, aged 20-40 years, were randomly allocated into three groups. Group A (n=5) received MR, group B (n=5), LSE, and group C (n=5), a combination of MR and CSE, along with hot packs for eight weeks, thrice a week on alternate days. Outcomes used were the Numerical Pain Rating Scale (NPRS), Modified Modified Schober's Test (MMST), Pressure Biofeedback (PBU), Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ), and Movement Control (MC) dissociation tests to identify MC impairments and were assessed at pre-intervention, post-four weeks, and post-eight weeks. The data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA. The level of significance was considered at p-value<0.05. Results Participants with CMLBP significantly improved in all variables in all three groups (p-value≤0.05). On inter-group comparison, group A showed better improvement in lumbar extension range of motion than the other two groups, with a mean difference of MMST in group A of 0.62±0.30, group B of 0.52±0.22, and group C of 0.36±0.02, with a p-value ≤0.002. Group C showed more improvement in core strength, with a mean difference of 5.0±0.25 in group A, 3.2±0.56 in group B, and 5.2±0.57 in group C, with a p-value ≤0.03. A significant improvement was observed in NPRS, MMST flexion, RMDQ, and uncontrolled movements (UCMs). Conclusion All three methods of treatment are effective in the management of CMLBP. Clinically, kinetic control showed better improvement in reducing pain and improving lumbar flexion and extension range of motion. Functional disability was better improved with lumbar stabilization exercises, and core strength was improved with a combination of KC and LSE. However, a combination of MR and LSE helps improve core strength, and movement retraining improves lumbar extension.

Keywords: core strength; low back pain; lumbar stabilization exercises; movement control; movement retraining; uncontrolled movements.