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BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2013 Sep 24;14:277. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-14-277.

Neuromuscular adaptations after a rehabilitation program in patients with chronic low back pain: case series (uncontrolled longitudinal study).

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Movement to Health (M2H), Montpellier-1 University, Euromov, 700, Avenue du Pic Saint-Loup, 34090, Montpellier, France.



To investigate the impact of a short-term multimodal rehabilitation program for patients with low back pain (LBP) on trunk muscle reflex responses and feedforward activation induced by postural perturbations.


Case series (uncontrolled longitudinal study). Thirty chronic patients with LBP (21 women and 19 men, mean age 42.6 ± 8.6 years, mean weight 73 ± 14 kg, mean height 174 ± 10 cm) were included. The intervention consisted in a 5-day program including therapeutic education sessions (360 min), supervised abdominal and back muscle strength exercises (240 min), general aerobic training (150 min), stretching (150 min), postural education (150 min) and aqua therapy (150 min). Feedforward activation level and reflex amplitude determined by surface electromyographic activity triggered by postural perturbations were recorded from abdominal and paraspinal muscles in unexpected and expected conditions. Subjects were tested before, just after and again one month after the rehabilitation program.


No main intervention effect was found on feedforward activation levels and reflex amplitudes underlining the absence of changes in the way patients with LBP reacted across perturbation conditions. However, we observed a shift in the behavioral strategy between conditions, in fact feedforward activation (similar in both conditions before the program) decreased in the unexpected condition after the program, whereas reflex amplitudes became similar in both conditions.


The results suggest that a short-term rehabilitation program modifies trunk behavioral strategies during postural perturbations. These results can be useful to clinicians for explaining to patients how to adapt to daily life activities before and after rehabilitation.

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