This is a question I get asked a lot at various social gatherings. A recent study supports our philosophy regarding exercises for low back pain. This study concluded that “Motor Control Exercises” reduce persistent low back pain.
What Are “Motor Control Exercises” for Low Back Pain?
First a little anatomy:
The lumbar spine has 2 major muscle groups. The deepest of these 2 groups is the “Inner Unit”.
This group of muscles consists of the Transversus Abdominus and the Multifidus. These muscles attach to each vertebrae in the low back and are responsible for controlling movement of these vertebra. The second group of muscles called the “outer unit” consists of the bigger more powerful muscles that go from the rib cage to the pelvis. These muscles are responsible for moving the entire spine.
Studies have shown that during normal movement the “inner unit” contracts first to stabilize each vertebrae then the “outer unit” contracts to move the entire spine. These same studies have shown us that when a person with low back pain moves the “inner unit” does not contract until after the movement starts to occur. This late contraction results in uncontrolled movement and low back pain.
OK… Enough anatomy! What Are Motor Control Exercises?
“Motor Control Exercises” restore the normal contraction pattern by first learning how to isolate the “inner unit”. Next, the patient is taught to contract these muscles in different postures, then later in more challenging activities. This type of program requires a skilled physical therapist with the ability to identify the problem muscles then work closely with the patient to teach them how to get the muscles working properly again.
Our Team at Belmar Physical Therapy are trained in this specific skill. If you live in the Lakewood, CO area and would like help alleviating persistent low back pain give us a call at (303) 274-2404 or email us here >>