Lumbopelvic muscle function during low impact weight-bearing exercise: development of the functional re-adaptive exercise device

Gibbon, Karl (2017) Lumbopelvic muscle function during low impact weight-bearing exercise: development of the functional re-adaptive exercise device. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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The aim of this thesis was to develop our understanding of the Functional Re-adaptive Exercise Device (FRED): a novel prototype exercise device proposed to facilitate the activation the deep paraspinal and anterolateral abdominal wall musculature in a manner consistent with the requirements of motor control training in people with low back pain.

Firstly, the intra- and interday reliability and precision of measurement of ultrasound imaging of the lumbar multifidus (LM) and transversus abdominis (TrA) were established. LM and TrA demonstrated good (ICC ≥ 0.75) to excellent (ICC ≥ 0.9) intrarater reliability for both intra- and interday measurements of absolute linear muscle thickness across all conditions. Normalised thickness change, expressed relative to resting values, also demonstrated good reliability between days, with ICCs in excess of 0.75 across all conditions.

Secondly, the typical nature of LM and TrA function during this mode of exercise was evaluated in relation to commonly used assessment techniques such as the abdominal drawing-in manoeuvre, active straight-leg raise, and contralateral arm-lift. All contraction conditions successfully resulted in active relative thickness change of LM and TrA. Relative thickness change of the LM when using the FRED was favourable in that it was lower than that observed in loaded contralateral arm raise and walking conditions, suggesting that one of the key features of specific motor control training (contraction intensity of 30-40 % MVC) has been met.

Thirdly, activity of the LM and TrA during this mode of exercise and other commonly used corrective/rehabilitative techniques based on relatively static challenges to stability was compared (gym ball, balance board). All stability challenges successfully induced non-volitional concomitant activation of both the LM and TrA. Additionally, it was observed that the LM followed a pattern where all standing conditions elicited greater recruitment than seated conditions, with no additional effect of surface lability. Contrastingly, the TrA only demonstrated an effect of surface instability during FRED conditions. The preferential contraction ratio of the TrA in comparison to IO and EO was greatest during use of the exercise device in the standing position.

Fourthly, the intrinsic kinematic stability of the lumbopelvic region whilst using the exercise device was examined, revealing further evidence of the underlying mechanisms facilitating LM and TrA contraction. Key differences between FRED exercise and overground walking included reduced axial rotation of the trunk with respect to the pelvis (i.e. increased lumbopelvic stability) and a more anteriorly tilted pelvis. FRED exercise potentially moved the pelvis into a more advantageous position for the recruitment of TrA and LM. However, the unstable base of support afforded by FRED exercise would seem to add a challenge to movement control that could result in greater TrA and LM activity than overground walking.

Finally, the pattern of global muscle activation during this exercise was examined, and provided evidence as to the tonic nature of FRED mediated muscle activity of the lumbar paraspinal and anterolateral abdominal muscles. FRED exercise a) promoted more tonic activity of the lumbopelvic musculature compared to overground walking, b) resulted in greater spinal extensor activity than spinal flexor muscles compared with overground walking, and c) resulted in greater knee extensor activity compared with overground walking.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: low back pain, lumbar spinal stability, rehabilitation, biomechanics
Subjects: C600 Sports Science
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2018 12:16
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 22:50

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