As mentioned in a previous blog, the transverses abdominis muscle has been shown in the literature to play an important role in controlling the spine and therefore has an impact on lower back pain. Although it has yet to be determined whether this muscle can cause lower back pain or whether it changes as a result of low back pain, it is relatively safe to say that the literature supports retraining this muscle as a potentially helpful approach to rehabilitation of lower back pain for some patients.
Strengthening for Back Pain
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy had similar findings to a 2008 study in that athletes with lower back pain could not perform the muscle test for the transverses abdominis as well as those athletes who did not have lower back pain. So what does a finding like this mean?
The Most Important Muscle for the Lower Back?
The transverses abdominis is not necessarily the most important stabilizing muscle of the lumbar spine. It is not the only muscle that needs to be trained for patients with lower back pain. Training the transverses abdominis will not guarantee elimination or total prevention of lower back pain. These findings suggest that for some patients with lower back pain, retraining of the transverses abdominis can be helpful in re-establishing control of the spine. This may result in decreased low back pain. Identifying weakness of the transverses abdominis is paramount to the effectiveness of this approach, since we cannot expect targeting this muscle to be helpful if a person already has normal function in this area.
Back Pain Treatment
At Burlington sports therapy, our chiropractors and physiotherapists make every effort to keep abreast of the most current, proven and progressive approaches to the treatment of lower back pain. We don’t just choose stretches and strengthening exercises that look creative or clever. We choose the appropriate exercises for our patients as dictated by the scientific literature. Live in the Burlington area and looking for treatment? Give us a call! 905.220.7858 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hides JA, Boughen CL, Stanton WR et al. A magnetic resonance imaging investigation of the transverses abdominis muscle during drawing-in of the abdominal wall in elite Australian football league players with and without low back pain. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 2010; 40: 4-10.
Hides JA, Stanton WR et al. MRI study of the size, symmetry and function of the trunk muscles among elite cricketers with and without low back pain. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2008; 42: 509-513.
Richardson CA, Snijders CJ, Hides JA et al. The relation between the transverses abdominis muscles, sacroiliac joint mechanics and low back pain. Spine 2002; 27: 399-405.