(HealthDay News) – For patients with chronic low back pain, compared with general exercise, specific trunk exercise results in significant reductions in self-rated disability and pain but similar changes in anticipatory postural adjustments, according to a study published in the Dec. 1 issue of Spine.

Cristy Brooks, of the University of Western Sydney in Australia, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial involving 64 patients with chronic low back pain. Self-rated disability, pain, and anticipatory postural adjustments were compared for patients assigned to an eight week training program of specific trunk exercise or general exercise. Before and after training, disability and pain were self-reported and specific trunk muscle electromyographic activity was measured during a rapid shoulder flexion task.

The researchers found that disability was significantly lower after specific trunk exercise training. Pain was significantly relieved in both groups but was lower for those patients who performed specific trunk exercise training. Similar changes in trunk muscle onsets were noted in both groups after training, although the general exercise group performed no specific trunk exercise.

“Specific trunk exercise was more effective for reducing disability and pain compared with general exercise,” the authors write. “However, the mechanism for explaining this change was not related to changes in anticipatory postural adjustments.”

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