Is muscular splinting a 'thing' in low back pain and does it matter?
- RRS Education
A prevailing assumption among clinicians treating patients with low back pain (LBP) is that, as part of their reaction to the condition, patients tend to guard or splint their lumbar spine via co-contraction of the trunk muscles. This is thought to explain the rigidity of movement noted among many LBP patients when performing activities of daily living and also the reduced range of motion and increased coupling of pelvic and thoracic movements during gait. However, there is little evidence supporting these hypotheses! In this systematic review (published in the European Spine Journal, 2018), the authors sought to assess whether LBP patients do, in fact, display signs of splinting by evaluating studies that used unexpected mechanical perturbation to evaluate: trunk muscle activity, kinetic and kinematic trunk responses and estimated mechanical properties of the trunk. The authors expected that patients splinting their lumbar spine would display increased trunk muscle activation prior to perturbation, which would translate to increased kinetic responses and higher estimates of trunk stiffness…read the full review to see what the found! LOG IN OR SUBSCRIBE NOW!