Corset hypothesis rebutted - Transversus abdominis does not co-contract in unison prior to rapid arm movements
One article on PainSci cites Morris 2011: Your Back Is Not Out of Alignment
PainSci notes on Morris 2011:
“These findings indicate that training bilateral pre-activation of the transversus abdominis prior to rapid movement is not justified and may potentially be problematic for the production of normal movement patterns.” This significantly undermines a classic theory (see Hodges et al) used to justify an “advanced” approach to core strength training.
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
BACKGROUND: The aim of this paper is to test "corset" model of spinal stability, specifically the hypothesis that feed forward transversus abdominis activity is bilaterally symmetrical and independent of the direction of perturbation to posture due to arm. This study will assess transversus abdominis electromyographical activity bilaterally.
METHODS: Feed forward intramuscular transversus abdominis electromyographical data and reaction forces on the thorax due to the arm movement were collected and processed for 6 healthy subjects during 6 trials of 8 types of arm movements (randomised order). Reciprocal transversus abdominis indices were calculated as the difference between the normalised integrated feed forward transversus abdominis electromyographical data from each side of the trunk.
FINDINGS: The main finding of the study was that the reciprocal transversus abdominis index was significantly related to the axial rotational forces on the thorax due to arm movement (F=109.991, p<0.001). Right arm movements produced clockwise axial rotation forces on the thorax and dominant left transversus abdominis muscle activity.
INTERPRETATION: The consequence of this finding is that feed forward transversus abdominis activity is not bilaterally symmetrical and is not independent of the direction of perturbation to posture due to arm movement. Transversus abdominis forms part of a synergy of muscles contributing to the generation of axial rotation forces in the core that oppose the forces due to arm movement. These findings indicate that training bilateral pre-activation of the transversus abdominis prior to rapid movement is not justified and may potentially be problematic for the production of normal movement patterns.
Morris 2011 is about:
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Inciting events associated with lumbar disc herniation. Suri 2010 Spine J.
- Prediction of an extruded fragment in lumbar disc patients from clinical presentations. Pople 1994 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- Characteristics of patients with low back and leg pain seeking treatment in primary care: baseline results from the ATLAS cohort study. Konstantinou 2015 BMC Musculoskelet Disord.
- Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of universal school-based mindfulness training compared with normal school provision in reducing risk of mental health problems and promoting well-being in adolescence: the MYRIAD cluster randomised controlled trial. Kuyken 2022 Evid Based Ment Health.
- No long-term effects after a three-week open-label placebo treatment for chronic low back pain: a three-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Kleine-Borgmann 2022 Pain.