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The relationship between weak low back muscles and pain

Correlation between the MRI Changes in the Lumbar Multifidus Muscles and Leg Pain

Clinical Radiology
February 2000 Volume 55, Number 2

Kader DF, Wardlaw D, Smith FW
Department of Radiology, Woodend Hospital Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Study Outcomes & Clinical Relevance:

This study found multifidi muscle atrophy in 80% of patients with low back pain. Interestingly, clinical research using MedX to rehabilitate lumbar spine dysfunction boasts nearly an 80% success rate. Perhaps these figures are coincidentally similar.  It is, however, tempting to speculate that the widespread multifidi muscle atrophy in this study and the targeted multifidi training afforded by MedX explain in part the widespread success of MedX therapy across diagnoses. That is, it is possible that various spinal pathologies share at least one common symptom generator: multifidi dysfunction. Thus, addressing this dysfunction should improve a majority of low back pain patients owing to their common trait of aberrant multifidi function. From these data, it can be argued that most patients with lumbar pain should receive physical therapy directed at reconditioning the multifidi.

CT Imaging of Trunk Muscles in Chronic Low Back Pain Patients and Healthy Control Subjects

European Spine Journal
August 2000 Volume 9, Number 4

Danneels LA, Vanderstraeten GG, Cambier DC, Witvrouw EE, De Cuyper HJ
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, Ghent University, Belgium

Study Outcomes & Clinical Relevance:

This research on nonoperative persons adds to the impressive body of evidence regarding a relationship between multifidi dysfunction and low back pain. It is not known if muscle weakness and atrophy are the cause or the result of chronic low back pain. It is possible that this relationship may depend upon the particular case. Weakness represents an abnormality that requires intervention in the form of isolated spinal strengthening to optimize spinal function.