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J Gravit Physiol. 2004 Jul;11(2):P119-22.

Lumbo-pelvic joint protection against antigravity forces: motor control and segmental stiffness assessed with magnetic resonance imaging.

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School of Health and Rehabilitation Science, University of Queensland, Australia.


The antigravity muscles of the lumbo-pelvic region, especially transversus abdominis (TrA), are important for the protection and support of the weightbearing joints. Measures of TrA function (the response to the postural cue of drawing in the abdominal wall) have been developed and quantified using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Cross-sections through the trunk allowed muscle contraction as well as the large fascial attachments of the TrA to be visualized. The cross sectional area (CSA) of the deep musculo-fascial system was measured at rest and in the contracted state, using static images as well as a cine sequence. In this developmental study, MRI measures were undertaken on a small sample of low back pain (LBP) and non LBP subjects. Results demonstrated that, in non LBP subjects, the draw in action produced a symmetrical deep musculo-fascial "corset" which encircles the abdomen. This study demonstrated a difference in this "corset" measure between subjects with and without LBP. These measures may also prove useful to quantify the effect of unloading in bedrest and microgravity exposure.

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