Spinal Stabilization: What Is It & Why Is It Important?

Why start with spinal stabilization exercises?  Spina stabilization is one of the top three reasons patients come in to physical therapy.

Why Stabilization?

Current research suggests that 1 out of 4 people will experience an episode of low back pain (LBP) within the next 6 months. This back pain will be bad enough to bring them to seek medical attention. From there, only 33.3% of the people experiencing LBP will be symptom free within the first year. In fact, 60% of the people that have recurring episodes in a year will have multiple episodes during that year. Finally, 1 out of 10 of the people experiencing multiple episodes of LBP in that first year will never be able to get rid of their back pain (Kent & Keating, 2005).

Spinal stabilization is important for protection of the lower back. The muscles around the spine work to support and protect the spine. Spinal stabilization keeps the back safe and protects from injury. Weak spinal stabilizers leave the back vulnerable to harm and can be a cause of LBP.

Stabilizing Muscles

The 4 muscle groups principally responsible for spinal stabilization are:

  • The transverse abdominus muscle deep abdominal muscle. It is  located below the rectus abdominus (those 6-pack muscles).
  • Both the erector spinae & multifidus muscles are back extensor muscles. They are located on either side of the spine. They go from the pelvis to the back. The erector spinae cross a bunch of spinal segments. However, the multifius connects to each individual segment.
  • The oblique abdominals are the most superficial of the abdominal muscles. They are located on the side to front aspect of the abdomen.
  • Quadratus lumborum is a deep muscle that spans from the lumbar spine and 12th rib down towards the top of the hip.

Spinal Stabilization Exercises

We are now going to take a greater look into the area of stabilization exercises. The key to a good stabilization program is the ability to correctly identify the exercises that would optimally challenge the key stabilizing muscles without imposing any potentially dangerous loads to the spine (McGill, 1997).

As with any exercise program you should make sure you are physically capable of performing the exercises and if there is any doubt or question as to whether or not you could perform any of the exercises that will be highlighted or that any other medical condition you may have could contribute to an averse reaction to the exercises you should first and foremost consult with your doctor or other Healthcare Practitioner prior to attempting any of the stabilization exercises.

The exercises in this video series will target these four muscles specifically in an attempt to improve their strength and endurance so you can prevent fatigue, prevent further injury, decrease recurrence rate, and hopefully prevent an episode of LBP from occurring (Wilder, 1996).

Contact Us!

In fact, New Jersey has direct access that can get you in for evaluation without you having to see a doctor. In short, calling us directly can end up saving you both time and money!

Call us to schedule an evaluation at one of BeneFIT’s locations, Bridgewater (908.203.5200) or Chester (908.879.5700)  with one of our highly trained Doctors of Physical Therapy or check us out on Instagram!

Sources:

Kent P, Keating J, The Epidemiology of Low Back Pain in Primary Care. Chiropractic and Osteopathy. 2005 13:13.

McGill SM. Distribution of Tissue Loads in the Low Back During a Variety of Daily and Rehabilitation Tasks. Journal of Rehabil Res Dev. 1997; 34:448-458.

Wilder DG, et al. Muscular Response to Sudden Load: A Tool to Evaluate Fatigue and Rehabilitation. Spine. 1996; 22:2628-2637.