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J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2011 Oct;15(4):465-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2010.07.003. Epub 2010 Jul 31.

Application of rehabilitative ultrasound in the assessment of low back pain: a literature review.

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Department of Physiotherapy, The University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Student Boulevard, P.O. Box 1985713834, Evin, Tehran, Iran.


Low back pain (LBP) is one of the most common work-related conditions affecting all populations both in industrialized and non-industrialized countries, with reported high prevalence and incidence rates and huge direct and indirect costs. Among various suggested causes of LBP, dysfunction of back muscles, particularly lumbar multifidus and transverse abdominis, has been the subject of considerable research during last decades. Of the available imaging techniques, ultrasound (US) imaging technique is increasingly used to assess muscle dimensions and function as a valid, reliable and non-invasive approach. The purpose of the present study was to review the previously published studies (1990-2009) concerning the merit of US imaging of lumbar and abdominal muscles with particular attention to its clinical application in patients with LBP. Studies showed wide variation in terms of methodology, sample size, procedure, definition of LBP, heterogeneous sample, method of analyzing US imaging, US imaging parameters, etc. However, a convincing body of evidence was identified that supports US imaging as a reliable and valid tool both to differentiate patients with LBP from normal subjects and to monitor the effect of rehabilitation programs.

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