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Question:

I have been recommended to make motor control exercise for my chronic back pain.

Can you show me pictures of this motor control exercise?

Are these motor control exercises effective?

Andy

Answer:

Dear Andy,

Motor control exercise is a form of exercise for back pain that has gained the attention of researchers and health practitioners over the past decade.

The exercise focuses on regaining control of the trunk muscles which support and control the spine. Previous studies of patients with low back pain have shown they are unable to properly control these muscles.

Through motor control exercise, patients are taught how to isolate and "switch on" these muscles and then incorporate these movements into their normal activities.

There is evidence that in some people with persistent back trouble, specific muscles that help control the spine are not working properly, and motor control exercise may address that underlying issue.

Until now, there had been only limited evidence that the therapy was effective.

Exercise that focuses on the specific muscles seems to be the key, rather than general exercise such as walking.

Motor control exercise and spinal manipulative therapy produce slightly better short-term function and perceptions of effect than general exercise, but not better medium or long-term effects, in patients with chronic non-specific back pain.

General exercise included strengthening, stretching and aerobic exercises.

Motor control exercise develops specific muscles.

These muscles include the lumbar multifidus and the transversus abdominus.

The lumbar multifidi are the deepest layer of muscles of the back. They attach from the vertebral arches to the spinous processes. Each multifidi connects 1-3 vertebrae, (the vertebrae are the bones of the spine) controlling movement between the vertebrae.

The transversus abdominus is the most important abdominal muscle for lower back stability and the prevention of lower back pain.

The following are pictures of these motor control exercises to develop the lumbar multifidi and the transversus abdominus.

transversus_abdominus

transversus_abdominus_exercises

transversus_abdominus_exercise

lumbar_multifidi_exercise

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