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Eur Spine J. 2011 Aug;20(8):1312-7. doi: 10.1007/s00586-011-1708-7. Epub 2011 Feb 12.

The effect of food consumption on the thickness of abdominal muscles, employing ultrasound measurements.

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Sport Medicine Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, No 7, Al-e-Ahmad Highway, P.O Box: 14395-578, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran.


Recently, the roles of transabdominal muscles particularly TrA (transverse abdominis) muscle in spinal stability leading to treatment of low back pain have been suggested. Both in clinical setting and follow up studies, abdominal muscle thickness measurements need to be repeated at a later point in time to demonstrate efficacy of a therapeutic intervention. Different issues have been suggested as source of error in the repeated measurements of abdominal muscle thickness in different days such as patient position and stability of probe location. The level of stomach fullness has not been investigated as a source of error in ultrasonic measurements of transabdominal muscles thickness. This study was performed to evaluate the effect of food consumption on thickness of lateral abdominal muscles. Lateral abdominal muscles thicknesses of 63 healthy volunteer men were measured before and after food consumption. All the measurements were performed in two transducer positions and both sides. Waist circumference and body weight of participants were also measured before and post-food consumption. The thickness measures of all three muscles layers of lateral abdominal muscles (external oblique, internal oblique and transversus abdominis) in both sides and measured positions were significantly reduced after food consumption. We found no correlation between the increase of waist circumference and reduction of muscle layer thicknesses after food consumption. In case of comparison between the values of transabdominal muscle thicknesses over the time, the effect of food consumption on muscle thickness might be assumed as a potential source of error.

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