Lumbar Motor Control Exercises

By Miranda Snook PTA

What are Motor Control Exercises?

The goal of the popular exercise technique known as motor control exercises is to reestablish the coordinated and efficient use of the muscles that support and regulate the spine. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, medical professionals from all over the world began to understand the importance of examining and taking into account the pelvic floor, transversus abdominis, and lumbar multifidus as part of an integrated therapy program for low back pain.

Motor control exercises can improve spinal strength. JOI Rehab

Motor Control Exercises

Physical Therapy to Improve Motor Control

During therapy, the therapist instructs the patient on how to use their muscles normally while performing simple tasks such as bracing the core while performing marches while lying down. As control and skill improve, the exercises progress to more difficult and practical tasks involving trunk and limb muscles, such as bracing the core while squatting to pick something up off the floor. The core muscles of the lumbar spine are the transversus abdominis, lumbar multifidus, and pelvic floor muscles. The goal of the motor control program is to retrain these muscles so that they can perform daily tasks with an automatic contraction that is less than 30% of their maximum voluntary contraction.

Awareness of Motor Control

The patient should be encouraged to develop an awareness of the appropriate motor pattern throughout all motor control training. This is crucial so that the patient can receive some kind of proprioceptive feedback about how well they are performing the exercises when they are practicing in between sessions. Following this, sufficient movement awareness of normal motor control is also necessary during the treatment program for transference into more functional and demanding exercises or activities.

Results of Improving Motor Control Function

According to a 2016 systematic study that examined the effects of these exercises in people with persistent non-specific low back pain, motor control exercises are likely to offer greater improvements in pain, function, and overall recovery impression than minimal interventions. Motor control exercises may provide slightly greater gains than exercise and electrophysical agents in the short and intermediate terms for pain, disability, overall perception of recovery, and the physical aspect of quality of life.

Strengthening of the Lumbar Spine

Motor control exercise can aid in strengthening the lumbar spine. JOI Rehab

Motor Control Exercises for the Lumbar Spine

Your lumbar spine is prone to a variety of issues. These conditions can limit your hip or back range of motion and cause pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in your leg, hip, or thigh. The lumbar spine can be affected by the following illnesses, disorders, and conditions, with low back pain being the most common pathology:

Stenosis occurs when the space around your spinal cord narrows. Spondylolisthesis occurs when a lumbar vertebra slips out of position in relation to the vertebra below it. A vertebral compression fracture is another reason to perform motor control exercises.

Injuries to the Bones and Nerves of the Spine

Compression fractures, burst fractures, fracture-dislocation injuries, and tumor-caused fractures can all result from an injury to the bones in your spine. Sciatica is a type of lumbar radiculopathy that causes nerve pain when the sciatic nerve, which runs through the hips, buttocks, and down each leg before ending in the foot, is injured or irritated. A compressed, torn, or leaking vertebral disk that acts as a spacer between each vertebra is referred to as a herniated disk. Swayback, also known as lumbar lordosis, occurs when your lower back curves abnormally. Lordosis puts undue strain on your lumbar vertebrae.

Other Causes of Lumbar Conditions

Disease, poor posture, or excessive back bending are the causes. Lumbar degenerative disk disease occurs when the disks in your lumbar spine begin to deteriorate. Spinal nerves, such as the sciatic nerve, can become pinched as the space between the vertebrae narrows, resulting in back pain. Motor control exercises can help restore spine strength and stability to reduce pain and improve daily activities in all of the pathologies listed.

Written By: Miranda Snook PTA

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Watch this video from JOI and JOI Rehab on Lower Back Stretches for Home!

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