Specific spinal stabilisation exercises in patients with low back pain – a systematic review

Hauggaard, Annika; Persson, Ann L.

The aim of this review was to evaluate the effects of specific spinal stabilisation exercises in patients with low back pain (LBP). PubMed and PEDro databases were searched. Ten relevant randomised controlled trials (RCTs) with a study population of patients with acute, sub-acute or chronic LBP were reviewed and quality assessed. The intervention method should have included specific spinal stabilisation exercises including co-contraction of multifidus muscles and transversus abdominis muscles. Seven RCTs were high quality and three were low quality. The results indicate moderate evidence of improved disability and/or pain level, increased multifidi cross-sectional area, and limited evidence for improved quality of life after treatment. The outcome measures used showed extensive heterogeneity. Larger, randomised, controlled trials of high quality, in different subgroups of LBP patients, with long-term follow-up are warranted. A standardisation of outcome measures would be beneficial in order to facilitate comparability among studies.

Physical Therapy Reviews, 2007, 12(3), 233-248

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