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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1987 Mar;12(2):112-8.

Normal trunk muscle strength and endurance in women and the effect of exercises and electrical stimulation. Part 2: Comparative analysis of electrical stimulation and exercises to increase trunk muscle strength and endurance.


Several studies have shown positive correlations between muscle strength, flexibility, and the frequency of low-back pain. Weak trunk musculature and decreased endurance have thereby come to be identified as significant risk factors in the development of occupational back problems. Because it is widely accepted that exercise plays an important role in the conservative treatment and prevention of low-back pain, the goals of most rehabilitative programs involves improving the strength and endurance of the low-back pain patient. Whereas electrical stimulation has been shown to increase the muscle strength of the lower extremities, this effect has not been demonstrated for the trunk muscles. Part 2 is a prospective controlled study designed to document and to compare objectively the effects of electrical stimulation and exercise on trunk muscle strength. A total of 117 healthy women were divided randomly into four groups. Two groups received electrical stimulation with different electrical parameters, one group received exercises, and one group acted as a control group. The results showed that low-frequency electrical stimulation and exercises significantly (P less than .05) increased isokinetic back-muscle strength compared to the control and medium-high-frequency electrical stimulation groups. Both types of electrical stimulation, however, significantly increased (P less than .05) the endurance in the back muscles compared with the control and the exercise groups. This study showed that electrical stimulation may be a valuable treatment in the early care of low-back pain patients in maintaining and increasing strength and endurance of back muscles when a more active exercise program is too painful to perform.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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