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Athanasios Trampas, Anastasia Mpeneka, Vivian Malliou, George Godolias and Periklis Vlachakis

Context:

Previous studies showed improved dynamic-balance (DB) performance after core-stability (CS) exercises in populations with chronic low back pain. Although clinical massage plus exercise is likely to better enhance analgesia than exercise alone, its efficacy on balance remains unclear.

Objective:

To evaluate the immediate effects of CS exercises plus myofascial trigger-point (MTrP) therapy in comparison with CS exercises alone on DB performance, pressure-pain threshold (PPT), and cross-sectional area of active MTrPs in patients with clinical instability of the lumbar spine and chronic myofascial pain syndrome.

Design:

Randomized, assessor-blind, test–retest.

Setting:

University research laboratory.

Patients:

10 physically active adults (5 men, 5 women).

Main Outcome Measures:

Single-leg DB performance and side-to-side ratios in 2 planes of motion (frontal, sagittal), as well as PPT and cross-sectional area of active MTrPs, were measured using stabilometry, pressure algometry, and real-time ultrasound scanning, respectively.

Interventions:

The 1st group performed CS exercises alone, whereas the same exercise program was applied in the 2nd group plus cross-fiber friction on active MTrPs (3.5 min/MTrP).

Results:

Within-group statistically and clinically significant differences were observed only for group II in PPT. However, group I also exhibited a large effect size with clinically significant changes from baseline on this outcome. Furthermore, patients in group II clinically improved their balance ratios and differed from group I at posttest in sagittal-plane DB performance of the painful side.

Conclusion:

CS exercises immediately increase the PPT of active MTrPs in physically active adults with clinical instability of the lumbar spine and chronic myofascial pain syndrome. When MTrP therapy is added, side-to-side asymmetries in DB are minimized.

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Vasilios I. Kalapotharakos, Maria Michalopoulou, George Godolias, Savvas P. Tokmakidis, Paraskevi V. Malliou and Vasilios Gourgoulis

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a 12-week resistance-training program on muscle strength and mass in older adults. Thirty-three inactive participants (60–74 years old) were assigned to 1 of 3 groups: high-resistance training (HT), moderate-resistance training (MT), and control. After the training period, both HT and MT significantly increased 1-RM body strength, the peak torque of knee extensors and flexors, and the midthigh cross-sectional area of the total muscle. In addition, both HT and MT significantly decreased the abdominal circumference. HT was more effective in increasing 1-RM strength, muscle mass, and peak knee-flexor torque than was MT. These data suggest that muscle strength and mass can be improved in the elderly with both high- and moderate-intensity resistance training, but high-resistance training can lead to greater strength gains and hypertrophy than can moderate-resistance training.