Low Back Strength After Treatment

The human rectus abdominis muscle of the human...

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You’ve all probably heard a million times about how you need to strengthen your “core” to support your lower back. And it’s true. The “core” abdominal muscles, such as transverse abdominus, or multifidus, play an active role in the strength and stability of your lower back, and there have been countless studies to support the idea that improving their strength helps your lower back.

Which makes me slightly loathe to write this, because this article might give one or two of you an excuse to slacken off. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say you should stop doing your core stabilising exercises, I myself do them several times a week.

What I’m trying to do is highlight the results of a recent study on the effects of spinal manipulation. The results of the study, published in The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy (sounds impressive to me) found that after receiving spinal manipulation, the thickness of the multifidus in the lower back increased. This was in the absence of any specific strengthening exercises or rehabilitation. Patients had two treatments in one week and straight away recorded significant increases in the thickness of the muscle and it’s function during functional tasks.

So what does this mean for you? Well, I’d say it shows that the best time to work on your core strength is straight after a treatment, as your muscles are primed to work. Combined with recent studies showing massage may be better than medication for low back pain, we’re starting to see how the combination of different modalities in an Osteopathic treatment complement each other – soft tissue massage and joint mobilisation for pain relief, and manipulation and exercise prescription to improve functionality.



Posted on September 11, 2011, in clinical massage therapy, Osteopath, Pain Management and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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