Effect of trunk muscles training using a star excursion balance test grid on strength, endurance and disability in persons with chronic low back pain

While core muscle strengthening using upper limbs in various positions and lower limbs in lying have been studied previously in patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP), no study has specifically looked at the effects of a training program that requires prior motor planning in standing (functional position). The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of star excursion balance test (SEBT) grid training in improving the outcomes in patients with CLBP. Sixty patients with mechanical CLBP who fulfilled the set criteria were randomly separated into two groups; experimental group received physical diagnostic specific interventions, core muscle strengthening and muscles training using the SEBT grid. The participants in control group received stationary cycling instead of SEBT grid training and the other interventions were uniform. The duration of study was 4 weeks. The dependent variables were analyzed using repeated measures 2 × 3 ANOVA. At the end of study, both the groups exhibited a significant decrease in disability and improvement in strength and endurance (p< 0.05). Post-hoc analysis showed that SEBT grid training was better than conventional exercises. Follow-up at 16 weeks revealed a statistically insignificant loss in strength and endurance in control group patients. This reduction was not associated with an increase in disability score. The experimental group patients continued displaying improvement.

The results of this study show that core muscles strengthening using a SEBT grid are more effective than conventional programs. It is hypothesized that SEBT training might have a significant role in skill learning. It is recommended that SEBT grid training be incorporated in the treatment planning of persons with CLBP.