The role of trunk muscles in sitting balance control in people with low back pain

Marco Freddolini, Siobhan Strike, Raymond Y.W. Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The purpose of this study was to examine the muscular activities and kinetics of the trunk during unstable sitting in healthy and LBP subjects. Thirty-one healthy subjects and twenty-three LBP subjects were recruited. They were sat on a custom-made chair mounted on a force plate. Each subject was asked to regain balance after the chair was tilted backward at 20°, and then released. The motions of the trunk and trunk muscle activity were examined. The internal muscle moment and power at the hip and lumbar spine joints were calculated using the force plate and motion data. No significant differences were found in muscle moment and power between healthy and LBP subjects (. p>. 0.05). The duration of contraction of various trunk muscles and co-contraction were significantly longer in the LBP subjects (. p<. 0.05) when compared to healthy subjects, and the reaction times of the muscles were also significantly reduced in LBP subjects (. p<. 0.05). LBP subjects altered their muscle strategies to maintain balance during unstable sitting, but these active mechanisms appear to be effective as trunk balance was not compromised and the internal moment pattern remained similar. The changes in muscle strategies may be the causes of LBP or the result of LBP with an attempt to protect the spine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-953
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
Issue number6
Early online date23 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • EMG
  • Kinetics
  • Low back pain
  • Lumbar spine


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