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Spine Stabilization Concepts

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1 Spine Stabilization Concepts
J. Scott Bainbridge, MD Denver Back Pain Specialists

2 History of “Spine Stab”
1924 Von Lackum proposes that much back pain is caused by instability of spine 1944 Knutson notes that intervertebral disk degeneration leads to abnormal motion which he terms “segmental instability”

3 History 1980s “Neutral spine” concept introduced
Position of comfort where muscular support reduces stress on painful structures (disc, facet, nerve, etc.) 1990 “dynamic stabilization” developed to be more functional – interest increased after Joe Montana returns to football after LB surgery

4 History 1996 – current: Back stabilization continues to evolve and become more sport and work specific Quality research and educational efforts by Hodges, Richardson, Hides, Jull, Comerford and others Popularization of ball, pool, Pilates, pulley and other exercise systems

5 MOTION SEGMENT vertebral bodies intervertebral disc facet joint
spinal canal foramina transverse process spinous process


7 NEURAL STRUCTURES cauda equina dura sheath DRG nerve root
medial branch

8 Movement System Articular Connective tissue Myofascial Neural

9 Pain Mechanisms Nociceptive Sensitisation Behavioural / Psycho-social
mechanical & inflammatory Sensitisation peripheral central autonomic Behavioural / Psycho-social

10 Physiological Considerations
The motor unit consists of the neurone and the muscle fibres it innervates All muscle fibres in a single motor unit are of the same fibre type The maximal contraction speed, strength and fatigability of any muscle depends on the proportion of the three fibre types (Vander et al. 1994) The Motor Unit

11 Motor Unit Function

12 Muscle Spindle Afferent feedback for motor control
Regulation of muscle stiffness Gamma system strongly influences recruitment of SMU

13 Local Stability Muscles
Function muscle stiffness to control segmental translation no or minimal length change in function movements anticipatory recruitment prior to functional loading provides protective stiffness activity is continuous and independent of the direction of movement (review: Comerford & Mottram 2001)

14 Global Stability Muscles
Function generates force to control / limit range of movement functional ability to (i) shorten through the full inner range of joint motion (ii) isometrically hold position (iii) eccentrically control the return low threshold eccentric deceleration of movement (rotation) activity is non-continuous and is direction dependent (review: Comerford & Mottram 2001)  Primal Pictures

15 Global Mobility Muscles
Function generates force to produce range of movement concentric acceleration of movement ( sagittal plane: power) High load shock absorption activity is especially phasic (on:off pattern) and is direction dependent (review: Comerford & Mottram 2001)  Primal Pictures

16 Local stability segmental control
The segmental stability of the spine is dependent on recruitment of the deep local stability muscles The spine will fail if local activity is insufficient even if the global muscles work strongly 1 –3 % MVC  muscle stiffness significantly increases stability 25% MVC = optimal stiffness & stability (Cholewicki & McGill 1996, Crisco & Panjabi 1991, Hoffer & Andreasson 1981)

17 Local Muscle System Dysfunction
There are changes in motor recruitment resulting in a loss of segmental control  local inhibition

18 Dysfunction in Local Stability System
Motor control deficit associated with delayed timing or recruitment deficiency (Hodges & Richardson 1996) Reacts to pain & pathology with inhibition (Stokes & Young 1984, Hides et al. 1994) Decrease in muscle stiffness and poor segmental control Loss of control of joint neutral position

19 Vastus Medialis Oblique
60 ml knee effusion significantly inhibits all of the quadriceps 40 ml effusion (sub clinical) inhibits VMO selectively (Stokes & Young 1984)

20 Transversus Abdominis
Activates prior to movement of the limbs or trunk to  stiffness and stability of the spine Its activity is independent of the direction of trunk movement or limb load (Cresswell 1992, 1994) (Hodges and Richardson 1995, 1996)

21 Transversus Abdominis
A motor control deficit is present in subjects with low back pain Activation of transversus is significantly delayed The timing delay is independent of the type or nature of pathology (Hodges & Richardson )

22 Transversus Abdominis
NLBP (Hodges & Richardson 1996 Spine 21: )

23 Transversus Abdominis
LBP (Hodges & Richardson 1996 Spine 21: )

24 Lumbar Multifidus asymmetry of cross sectional area of multifidus in back pain subjects (Stokes et al. 1992) (Hides et al. 1994, 1995) dysfunction does not correct automatically when pain resolves & specific training can correct dysfunction and  recurrence ( Richardson et al. 1998, Hides et al. 1995, 1996)

25 Dysfunction in Global Mobility System
Myofascial shortening which limits physiological and / or accessory motion Overactive low load or low threshold recruitment Reacts to pain and pathology with spasm

26 DYSFUNCTION: What comes 1st ?
Global dysfunction can precede and contribute to the development of pain & pathology Pain & pathology are not a necessary consequence of global dysfunction Local dysfunction does not precede the development of pain and pathology but rather is due to pain & pathology Pain & pathology do not have to be present (may be related to distant history)

27 ‘Motor Control’ Stability versus ‘Core’ Stability
= low threshold recruitment of local and global stability muscle system Well supported by the research literature Core stability = high threshold recruitment of proximal trunk & girdle muscles

28 Multifidus Muscle Recovery Is Not Automatic After Acute First Episode LBP
Hides, Richardson, Jull. SPINE 1996:21 Control(n=19) medical management/ activity Specific ex.(n=20) +med manage/ activity Multifidus ex. 2x/wk x 4 weeks Ultrasound image: smaller multifidus on painful side in all at start

29 Results Multifidus CSA at most affected vertebral level painful side difference corrected in ex group but not in controls at 4 and 10 weeks. P< at both times Pain and Disability scores same in groups (pain and disability resolved at 4 wks in 90%)

30 Long Term Effects of Stabilizing Exercises for First-Episode LBP
Hides, Jull, Richardson. SPINE 2001:26 Control(n=19) medical management/ activity Specific Ex(n=20) +med manage/ activity Multifidus ex. 2x/wk for 4 weeks

31 Results 1 year recurrence: control=84%, ex.=30% P<0.001
P< (3 controls lost at 3 year)

32 Therapeutic Exercise for Spinal Segmental Stabilization in LBP
Scientific Basis and Clinical Approach Richardson, Jull, Hodges, and Hides Churchill Livingstone 1999

33 Cervical muscle dysfunction
RCPMaj & RCPMin show atrophy and fatty degeneration in chronic neck pain (Hallgren et al 1994, McPartland et al 1997) Anterior neck muscles show slow  fast fiber transformation in chronic neck pain (Uhlig et al 1995) Noxious meningeal stimulation  neck and jaw EMG activity (Hu et al 1995)

34 Deep cervical flexor dysfunction
Pressure biofeedback: incremental lordosis flattening pressure during active upper cervical flexion EMG: activity in anterior neck mobiliser muscles (Jull 1994)

35 Deep cervical flexor dysfunction
Control Can control greater range of 2mm Hg increments (up to 28 from baseline of 20) than WAD Less superficial muscle activity WAD Can only control low increments (from baseline of 20 up to 23) Less consistent duration of hold More superficial muscle activity Jull 2000

36 Deep cervical flexor dysfunction
identified in different pathological situations Whiplash Associated Disorder (Jull 2000) Post-concussional headache (Treleaven et al 1994) Cervical headache (Watson & Trott 1993,Jull et al 1999) Mechanical neck pain (Silverman et al 1991, White & Sahrmann 1994, Jull 1998)

37 A Randomized Controlled Trial of Exercise and Manipulative Therapy for Cervicogenic Headache
Jull, Trott, Potter, et. al. SPINE: Vol. 27, No. 17, pp

38 Inclusion Criteria 1 + HA/week for 2mo. – 10 yr
Cervicogenic headache (not MT or Migraine)

39 Methods Randomized: Control, Manual Therapy (Maitland), Exercise (motor control), or Exercise and Manual Therapy 6 weeks of treatment (8-12 visits) Outcome Measures: 7weeks, 3,6, and 12mo. Change in HA frequency (intensity and duration were secondary measures) Physical assessments

40 Results: % of Subjects with 50% and 100% Dec. in HA Frequency – Week 7
50% % MT+Ex % MT Ex Control

41 The meaning of Life ?

42 The control of stability dysfunction !

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