Effects of Volitional Spine Stabilization on Trunk Control During Asymmetric Lifting Task in Patients With Recurrent Low Back Pain

Ram Haddas, Yigal Samocha, James Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Study Design: Prospective, concurrent-cohort study. Objectives: To determine the effects of volitional preemptive abdominal contraction (VPAC) on trunk control during an asymmetric lift in patients with recurrent low back pain (rLBP) and compare with matched controls. Methods: Thirty-two rLBP patients and 37 healthy controls performed asymmetric lifting with and without VPAC. Trunk, pelvis, and hip biomechanical along with neuromuscular activity parameters were obtained using 3-dimensional motion capture and electromyography system. Hypotheses were tested using analysis of variance. Results: The VPAC resulted in significantly reduced muscle activity across all trunk extensor muscles in both groups (M ± SD, 6.4% ± 8.2% of maximum contraction; P ≤.005), and reduced trunk side flexion (1.4° ± 5.1° smaller; P ≤.005) and hip abduction (8.1° ± 21.1° smaller; P ≤.003). rLBP patients exhibited reduced muscle activity in external oblique (12.3% ± 5.5% of maximum contraction; P ≤.012), as well as decreased hip flexion (4.7°, P ≤.008) and hip abduction (5.2°, P ≤.001) at the final position of lifting in comparison with healthy controls. Conclusions: The results of this study defend the recommendation that the use of a VPAC increase spine stability during an asymmetrical loading task. Our results provide an indication that a VPAC strategy that is achieved during an asymmetric lifting decreases exposure for lumbar spine injury and instability. Spine care providers and ergonomists can use this information when designing neuromuscular control training programs, both for healthy individuals aimed at prevention of injury, as well as those with a history of rLBP, aimed at full functional recovery and protection from future injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1006-1014
Number of pages9
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • asymmetric lifting
  • biomechanics
  • electromyography
  • low back pain
  • neuromuscular control
  • spine stability


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