Effects of posture on the thickness of transversus abdominis in pain-free subjects.

Reeve A, Dilley A

The role of transversus abdominis (TrA) on spinal stability may be important in low back pain (LBP). To date, there have not been any investigations into the influence of lumbo-pelvic neutral posture on TrA activity. The present study therefore examines whether posture influences TrA thickness. A normative within-subjects single-group study was carried out. Twenty healthy adults were recruited and taught five postures: (1) supine lying; (2) erect sitting (lumbo-pelvic neutral); (3) slouched sitting; (4) erect standing (lumbo-pelvic neutral); (5) sway-back standing. In each position, TrA thickness was measured (as an indirect measure of muscle activity) using ultrasound. In erect standing, TrA was significantly thicker than in sway-back standing. Similarly, in erect sitting TrA was found to be significantly thicker than in slouched sitting.

Lumbo-pelvic neutral postures may have a positive influence on spinal stability compared to equivalent poor postures (slouched sitting and sway-back standing) through the recruitment of TrA. Therefore, posture may be important for rehabilitation in patients with LBP.

Manual Therapy, 12 May 2009, online article ahead of print

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