Kellie C. Huxel Bliven
Barton E. Anderson and Kellie C. Huxel Bliven
Research has shown a link between poor core stability and chronic, nonspecific low back pain, with data to suggest that alterations in core muscle activation patterns, breathing patterns, lung function, and diaphragm mechanics may occur. Traditional treatment approaches for chronic, nonspecific low back pain focus on exercise and manual therapy interventions, however it is not clear whether breathing exercises are effective in treating back pain.
Focused Clinical Question:
In adults with chronic, nonspecific low back pain, are breathing exercises effective in reducing pain, improving respiratory function, and/or health related quality of life?
Summary of Key Findings:
Following a literature search, 3 studies were identified for inclusion in the review. All reviewed studies were critically appraised at level 2 evidence and reported improvements in either low back pain or quality of life following breathing program intervention.
Clinical Bottom Line:
Exercise programs were shown to be effective in improving lung function, reducing back pain, and improving quality of life. Breathing program frequencies ranged from daily to 2–3 times per week, with durations ranging from 4 to 8 weeks. Based on these results, athletic trainers and physical therapists caring for patients with chronic, nonspecific low back pain should consider the inclusion of breathing exercises for the treatment of back pain when such treatments align with the clinician’s own judgment and clinical expertise and the patient’s preferences and values.
Strength of Recommendation:
Grade B evidence exists to support the use of breathing exercises in the treatment of chronic, nonspecific low back pain.
Jessica R. Fairbairn and Kellie C. Huxel Bliven
Clinical Scenario: Until recently, injury epidemiology data on elite Paralympic athletes were limited. Current data suggest high rates of shoulder injury in wheelchair athletes. Differences in shoulder injury rates between sports have not been reported in this population. Clinical Question: Is the incidence of shoulder injury in elite wheelchair athletes different between sports? Summary of Key Findings: Shoulder injury rates are high in elite wheelchair athletes, particularly in sports such as field events and fencing that require a stable base (eg, trunk, core control) from which to perform. Wheelchair racing requires repetitive motions that contribute to shoulder injuries, but rates are lower than field sports and fencing. Wheelchair curling and sledge hockey have low shoulder injury risk. Clinical Bottom Line: Shoulder injury rates vary based on sport in elite wheelchair athletes. In addition to incorporating shoulder complex specific rehabilitation for overuse shoulder injuries, clinicians should focus on core and trunk stabilization in elite wheelchair athletes competing in sports, such as field events and fencing. Strength of Recommendation: Grade C evidence exists that reports shoulder injury rates among elite wheelchair athletes differ based on sport participation.
Kellie C. Huxel Bliven
Kellie C. Huxel Bliven and Kelsey J. Picha
Kellie C. Huxel Bliven
Hannah Horris, Barton E. Anderson, R. Curtis Bay and Kellie C. Huxel Bliven
Context: Altered diaphragm function is linked to decreased core stabilization, postural changes, and decreased function. Two clinical tests used to assess breathing are the Hi-lo and lateral rib expansion (LRE) tests. It is currently unknown how breathing classification based on these tests differ and how their results are affected by varying test positions. Objective: To compare the results of breathing tests when conducted in varying test positions. Design: Prospective cross-sectional study. Setting: University laboratory. Participants: A total of 50 healthy adults (females 31 and males 29; age 29.3 [4.1] y; height 170.0 [10.4] cm; weight70.7 [15.1] kg). Intervention(s): Hi-lo and LRE tests in supine, seated, standing, and half-kneeling body positions. All tests were recorded and later scored by a single examiner. A generalized estimating equations approach with breathing test and body position as factors was used for analysis. Pairwise comparison with Bonferroni correction was used to adjust for multiple tests. Statistical significance was set at P = .05, 2 tailed. Main Outcome Measures: Hi-lo and LRE tests were scored based on the presence or absence of abdominal excursion, LRE, and superior rib cage migration. Following scoring, results were classified as functional or dysfunctional based on observation of these criteria. Results: A significant breathing test × test position interaction (P < .01) was noted, as well as main effects for test (P < .01) and test position (P < .01). All Hi-lo test positions identified significantly more dysfunctional breathers in positions of increased stability demand (P < .01), except between standing and half-kneeling positions (P = .52). In the LRE test, all positions were similar (P > .99) except for half-kneeling, which was significantly different from all other positions (P < .01). Conclusions: The Hi-lo test and LRE tests assess different breathing mechanics. Clinicians should use these tests in combination to gain a comprehensive understanding of a person’s breathing pattern. The Hi-lo test should be administered in multiple testing positions.
Kathleen A. Swanik, Stephen J. Thomas, Aaron H. Struminger, Kellie C. Huxel Bliven, John D. Kelly and Charles B. Swanik
Plyometric training is credited with providing benefits in performance and dynamic restraint. However, limited prospective data exist quantifying kinematic adaptations such as amortization time, glenohumeral rotation, and scapulothoracic position, which may underlie the efficacy of plyometric training for upper-extremity rehabilitation or performance enhancement.
To measure upper-extremity kinematics and plyometric phase times before and after an 8-wk upper-extremity strength- and plyometric-training program.
Randomized pretest–posttest design.
40 recreationally active men (plyometric group, age 20.43 ± 1.40 y, height 180.00 ± 8.80 cm, weight 73.07 ± 7.21 kg; strength group, age 21.95 ± 3.40 y, height 173.98 ± 11.91 cm, weight 74.79 ± 13.55 kg).
Participants were randomly assigned to either a strength-training group or a strength- and plyometric-training group. Each participant performed the assigned training for 8 wk.
Main Outcome Measures:
Dynamic and static glenohumeral and scapular-rotation measurements were taken before and after the training programs. Dynamic measurement of scapular rotation and time spent in each plyometric phase (concentric, eccentric, and amortization) during a ball-toss exercise were recorded while the subjects were fitted with an electromagnetic tracking system. Static measures included scapular upward rotation at 3 different glenohumeral-abduction angles, glenohumeral internal rotation, and glenohumeral external rotation.
Posttesting showed that both groups significantly decreased the time spent in the amortization, concentric, and eccentric phases of a ball-toss exercise (P < .01). Both groups also exhibited significantly decreased static external rotation and increased dynamic scapular upward rotation after the training period (P < .01). The only difference between the training protocols was that the plyometric-training group exhibited an increase in internal rotation that was not present in the strength-training group (P < .01).
These findings support the use of both upper-extremity plyometrics and strength training for reducing commonly identified upper-extremity-injury risk factors and improving upper-extremity performance.