Many core exercises are used with the goal of improving core stability and decreasing low back pain. This study used a control group and compared it to a novel exercise.
What was done
Forty patients with low back pain (~50.35 years; M=19, F=21) performed either the drawing in the abdominal wall (control) or the ankle dorsiflexion in addition to drawing in the abdominal wall (experimental). Both groups performed this for three days a week for eight weeks.
Oswestry Disability Index and Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire, pain intensity, visual analog scale, pain disability index, pain rating scale, and core stability measures (active straight leg test) were measured pretest, posttest, and two-months afterward.
The experimental group had significantly greater improvement on the Oswestry Disability Index, Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire, pain intensity, pain disability index, pain rating, and core stability test.
Adding dorsiflexion appears to increase core stability and decrease pain in those with low back pain.
This improvement may be from adding dual tasks, fascia connections, or by adding a harder central stimulus.
When prescribing low back pain exercises, drawing in the abdominal wall alone may not be the most effective method. Instead, using a secondary cue (like dorsiflexion) may increase core recruitment. However, it is well established abdominal bracing provides greater core activation and one must wonder if this method should have been tested instead of drawing in the abdominal wall.
- You JH, Kim SY, Oh DW, Chon SC. The effect of a novel core stabilization technique on managing patients with chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled, experimenter-blinded study. Clin Rehabil. 2013 Nov 18. [Epub ahead of print]