Stabilization Exercises Help, even if Multifidus doesn’t improve!

Individuals with LBP who were identified as having lumbar spine hypermobility, received 6 weeks of stabilization exercises.

The size and activation of their lumbar multifidi (LM) was evaluated using ultrasound imaging before and after the 6 week treatment program.


Not surprising finding #1: The appropriately chosen patients with LBP had significant improvements in their pain and functional scores.

Surprising finding #2:  Multifidus activation was not a clinical feature that predicted patients with LBP likely to benefit from stabilization exercises.

Surprising finding #3:  There was no relation between multifidus activation and response to the 6-week stabilization exercise program.


In other words, the patients got better, but it had nothing to do with the multifidus activating more or growing in size… so why did the stabilization exercises reduce pain? Peter O’Sullivan would say it all has to do the central nervous system!


Reference: Zielinski K et al Lumbar multifidus muscle thickness does not predict patients with low back pain who improve with trunk stabilization exercises. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013 Jun;94(6):1132-8.


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