Effects of Push-ups Plus Sling Exercise on Muscle Activation and Cross-sectional Area of the Multifidus Muscle in Patients with Low Back Pain

This study’s objective was to examine the effect of lumbar stability exercises on chronic low back pain by using sling exercise and push-ups. Thirty adult subjects with chronic back pain took part, with 10 adults being assigned to each of 3 exercise groups: general physical therapy (PT), lumbar stability using sling exercises (Sling Ex), and sling exercise plus push-ups (Sling Ex+PU). Each group trained for 30 minutes 3 times a week for 6 weeks. The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), surface electromyographic (sEMG) activity of the lumbar muscles, and cross-sectional area of the multifidus muscle on computed tomography (CT) were evaluated before and at 2, 4, and 6 weeks of therapy. A significant reduction in ODI was seen in all therapy groups, and this change was greater in the Sling Ex and Sling Ex+PU groups than in the PT group. No changes in sEMG activity were noted in the PT group, whereas significant increases in the sEMG activities of all lumbar muscles were found in the other 2 groups. The increases in the sEMG activities of the rectus abdominis and internal and external oblique muscles of the abdomen were greater in the Sling Ex+PU group than in the other 2 groups.

The findings of this study show that Sling Ex+PU, similar to normal lumbar stabilization exercise, is effective in activating and improving the function of the lumbar muscles. These results indicate that Sling Ex+PU has a positive impact on stabilization of the lumbar region.