Trunk Muscle Training Augmented with Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Appears to Improve Function in Older Adults with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Preliminary Trial.

The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility of a trial to evaluate a trunk muscle training program augmented with neuromuscular electrical stimulation (TMT+NMES) for the rehabilitation of older adults with chronic LBP and to preliminarily investigate whether TMT+NMES could improve physical function and pain compared with a passive control intervention. The authors¬†conducted a single-blind, randomized feasibility trial. Patients aged 60-85 years were allocated to TMT+NMES (n=31) or a passive control intervention (n=33), consisting of passive treatments, i.e. heat, ultrasound and massage. Outcomes assessed 3-months and 6-months post-randomization included Timed Up and Go Test, gait speed, pain and LBP-related functional limitation.¬†Feasibility was established by acceptable adherence (>/=80%) and attrition (<20%) rates for both interventions. Both groups had similar, clinically important reductions in pain of greater than 2 points on a numeric pain rating scale during the course of the trial. But, only the TMT+NMES group had clinically important improvements in both performance-based and self-reported measures of function. In terms of the participants’ global rating of functional improvement at 6-months, the TMT+NMES group improved by 73.9% and the passive control group improved by 56.7% compared to baseline. The between-group difference was 17.2% (95%CI: 5.87-28.60) in favor of TMT+NMES.

It appears that a larger randomized trial investigating the efficacy of trunk muscle training augmented with NMES for the purpose of improving physical function in older adults with chronic LBP is warranted.

Physical activity programme

A series of five online courses that comprehensively explore physical activity and the related role of physiotherapy / physical therapy