Altered trunk muscle reflexes have been observed in patients with low back pain (LBP). Altered reflexes may contribute to impaired postural control, and possibly recurrence of LBP. Specific stabilization exercise (SSE) programs have been shown to decrease the risk of LBP recurrence in a select group of patients with acute, first episode LBP. It is not known if trunk muscle reflex responses improve with resolution of subacute, recurrent LBP when treated with a SSE program. A perturbation test was used to compare trunk muscle reflexes in patients with subacute, recurrent LBP, before and after 10 weeks of a SSE program and a group of matched control subjects (CNTL). The LBP group pre therapy had delayed trunk muscle reflexes compared with the CNTL group. Post therapy reflex latencies remained delayed, but amplitudes increased. Increased reflex amplitudes could limit excessive movement of the spine when perturbed; potentially helping prevent recurrence.
Navalgund is Senior Scientist, Research and Development, G-Tech, Palo Alto, CA. Buford is Associate Professor, Physical Therapy Division, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Briggs is a PhD student, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, School of Allied Medical Professions, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Givens is Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Creighton University, Omaha, NE.