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  • Author: Leila Ahmadnezhad x
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Leila Ahmadnezhad, Ali Yalfani and Behnam Gholami Borujeni

Context: People with chronic low back pain (CLBP) suffer from weaknesses in their core muscle activity and dysfunctional breathing. Inspiratory muscle training (IMT) was recently developed to treat this condition. Objectives: The present study was conducted to investigate the effect of IMT on core muscle activity, pulmonary parameters, and pain intensity in athletes with CLBP. Design: This study was designed as a single-blind, randomized, controlled trial. Setting: Clinical rehabilitation laboratory. Participants: A total of 23 male and 24 female athletes with CLBP were randomly divided into the experimental and control groups. Main Outcome Measures: The experimental group performed IMT for 8 weeks, 7 days per week and twice daily, using POWERbreathe KH1, beginning at 50% of maximum inspiratory pressure with a progressively increasing training load. The surface electromyography muscle activity of the erector spinae, multifidus, transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis, respiratory function and Visual Analogue Scale score were also measured before and after the intervention in both groups. The repeated-measures analysis of variance and 1-way analysis of covariance were further used to compare the intragroup and intergroup results following the intervention. Results: The findings of the study revealed that multifidus and transverse abdominis activity, as well as respiratory function, increased significantly in the IMT group (P < .05). Moreover, a descending trend was observed in the Visual Analogue Scale score in the experimental group (P < .05). Conclusion: The results showed that IMT can improve respiratory function, increase core muscle activity, and, consequently, reduce pain intensity in athletes with CLBP.