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Which exercises are most effective for non-specific mechanical lower back pain?

Therapeutic exercises are commonly used for patients with lower back pain, but there still remains uncertainty into whether core stabilisation exercises or strengthening exercises are most effective in pain-related outcomes.

In a research study observing a cohort of patients suffering with lower back pain, they underwent either a core stabilisation or strength training exercise programme for a four-week period. Researchers observed changes in proprioception, balance, percentage change in muscle thickness of Transverse Abdominis and Lumbar Multifidus, functional changes, and fear avoidance patterns.

Results revealed core stabilisation exercise is superior to that of strength training for patients suffering with non-specific mechanical lower back pain.

Core stabilisation exercises consisted of abdominal drawing in manoeuvres in lying, sitting and standing positions. Strength training exercises involved using abdominal, back extensor and oblique muscle groups.

Hlaing, S.S. et al. (2021). Effects of core stabilisation exercise and strengthening exercise on proprioception, balance, muscle thickness and pain related outcomes in patients with sub-acute nonspecific low back pain: a randomised controlled trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 22: 998.


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