Lumbar Multifidus (LM)?An essential muscle to address during rehab!

Reference:Hides J, Richardson C, Jull G, Multifidus Muscle Recovery Is Not Automatic After Resolution of Acute, First-Episode Low Back Pain (1996), Spine (21) 2763-2769


  • Acute LBP resolves in only 4 weeks for 90% of patients whether they get Physiotherapy, walk, take Medications, get acupuncture or pray!!
  • BUT, following that first episode of LBP, the pain recurs in up to 80% of the patients within one year?what went wrong?
  • There are studies that show a strong relationship between LM dysfunction and recurrence of LBP after disc surgery
  • Rapidly (early as 24 hours) following an episode of LBP, LM undergo dramatic atrophy LOCALISED to the level AND side of the pain
  • A study has clearly demonstrated that LM muscle recovery does not simply happen spontaneously once the pain is gone… Walking, swimming, a general gym programme, return to work or sport did not increase the size of the atrophied LM in the 10 week period that the study took place
  • However the LM muscle DID INCREASE in size again and pain recurrence DECREASED following a localized, specific, and isolated Multifidus retraining program

    Clinical Relevance: Lack of localized muscle support from the lumbar multifidi may be one reason why back pain occurs again and again? following that initial episode

    Posted on: February 13, 2002

    Categories: Lumbar Spine

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