stabilization training Greensboro, NC

Stabilization Training


Stabilization Training at Cedar Hill Physical Therapy Greensboro Can Help!

Low back pain (LBP) is the second most common reason a person sees a physician. Almost everyone experiences a bout of LBP at some point in their life. Once you have, you’re more likely to experience it again.

The overwhelming majority of LBP cases are uncomplicated and can be successfully treated with physical therapy, reducing the need for costly and invasive tests and procedures. Even those who have suffered from recurring episodes of LBP or have had surgery in the past are well served by seeing Paul the Physical Therapist.

There are a number of things that may cause one’s first experience of LBP- bending, lifting, twisting, an accident, or even child-birth. In many cases, LBP can occur for no apparent reason.

Once a person experiences LBP, the core muscles become imbalanced. If one does not regain control, the system will continue to be imbalanced, even if the pain goes away. This is why back pain will often recur.

What’s “the Core” got to do with it?

There are two basic types of muscles that make up the core- superficial and deep. The superficial stomach and back muscles are responsible for moving the trunk and pelvis (i.e., bending or twisting). The deep stomach and back muscles attach directly to the spine and control small motions between the vertebrae. They function to stabilize and protect the spine.

When functioning correctly, the deep muscles contract independently of the superficial ones. They contract a split second before someone moves their arm or leg, and with all directions of trunk bending and twisting.

In people who have a history of LBP, the deep muscles no longer contract in anticipation of movement, nor do they contract with all directions of trunk motion. Their stabilizing action is lost. The superficial muscles become overactive, trying to compensate for the inactivity of the deep muscles. Since the superficial muscles do not attach directly to the spine, they do not have the ability to stabilize it.

Take control!

Without restoring proper muscle control, LBP most likely will recur. Exercise methods such as Pilates, yoga, and traditional exercises (i.e., sit-ups) do not restore normal motor control.

At Cedar Hill Physical Therapy Greensboro, our therapist is highly skilled in the use of visual and tactile cues to aid the patient in identifying the specific muscles that are problematic. The patient will get the muscles working properly again by learning to control them related to simple postures and then continue to more challenging activities. The goal is for patients to learn how to control the muscles that support the spine while performing movements that previously caused pain.

As you can imagine, it can be difficult to explain how a deep abdominal muscle contraction should feel, and you certainly can’t see a deep muscle…or can you?

At our Greensboro, NC clinic, Paul uses ultrasound imaging as a tool to provide biofeedback of the deep stomach and back muscles. It allows both Paul the Physical Therapist and the patient to view these muscles contracting and relaxing during motor control exercise training.

In a landmark study of Motor Control Training for people experiencing a first time bout of LBP, people who received this training were twelve times less likely over a two- to – three year period, to suffer a recurrence of LBP than those who did not receive this training. People who received this training restored normal back muscle size within a few weeks, while months later people who did not receive this training still had decreased back muscle size.

Low back pain has been referred to as an international health crisis. According to a new study in the journal JAMA, as of 2016, its treatment cost in America alone was estimated to be $134 billion per year.

Because the restoration of motor control is so important in preventing the recurrence of low back pain, MCT can be an invaluable tool, complementing fitness programs, chiropractic care, and massage therapy.

What is MCT specifically?

A person experiencing low back pain oftentimes does not have the ability to contract their deep abdominal muscles separate from their more superficial abdominal muscles. The deep abdominal muscle (the transversus abdominis) can be trained to contract separately from the superficial abdominal muscles (external oblique, internal oblique, and rectus abdominis).

Similarly, a person experiencing low back pain may have difficulty contracting their deep back muscle, the multifidus, separate from the more superficial back muscles and gluteal muscles. Developing the ability to contract the multifidus in isolation from these other muscles is oftentimes the key to restoring normal motor control, decreasing pain, and preventing recurrences of low back pain.

This form of motor control training is also referred to as specific stabilization training, as it targets specific muscles to perform isolated contractions.

In contrast, global stabilization training is a program of strengthening the abdominal and back muscles without attempting to isolate the deep stomach and back muscles from their superficial counterparts. Examples of these types of exercises include “bird-dogs” (from an on all fours position, reaching one arm and the opposite leg out, while keeping the back relatively straight) and planks.

Each of these forms of training has its place in the treatment of low back pain. They can also be combined. People who have developed good motor control of the deep stomach and back muscles can integrate that training into a global stabilization training program.

For more information on how Stabilization Training can help you, contact Cedar Hill Physical Therapy Greensboro, NC today! 

Your Next Steps…

  1. Request An Appointment

  2. Receive A Custom Treatment Plan

  3. Work Hard and Progress In Your Recovery

  4. Recover & Enjoy Life Pain-Free!


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