Effect of the Abdominal Hollowing and Bracing Maneuvers on Activity Pattern of the Lumbopelvic Muscles During Prone Hip Extension in Subjects With or Without Chronic Low Back Pain: A Preliminary Study

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The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of abdominal hollowing (AH) and abdominal bracing (AB) maneuvers on the activity pattern of lumbopelvic muscles during prone hip extension (PHE) in participants with or without nonspecific chronic low back pain (CLBP).


Twenty women with or without CLBP participated in this cross-sectional observational study. The electromyographic activity (amplitude and onset time) of the contralateral erector spinae (CES), ipsilateral erector spinae (IES), gluteus maximus, and biceps femoris muscles was measured during PHE with and without abdominal maneuvers. A 3-way mixed model analysis of variance and post hoc tests were used for statistical analysis.


Between-group comparisons showed that the CES onset delay during PHE alone was greater (P = .03) and the activity level of IES, CES, and biceps femoris in all maneuvers (P < .05) was higher in patients with CLBP than in asymptomatic participants. In asymptomatic participants, PHE + AH significantly decreased the signal amplitude (AMP) of IES (P = .01) and CES (P = .02) muscles. In participants with CLBP, IES muscle AMP was lower during PHE + AH compared with PHE + AB and PHE alone. With regard to onset delay, the results also showed no significant difference between maneuvers within either of the 2 groups (P > .05).


Performance of the AH maneuver decreased the erector spinae muscle AMP in both groups, and neither maneuver altered the onset delay of any of the muscles in either group. The low back pain group showed higher levels of activity in all muscles (not statistically significant in gluteus maximus during all maneuvers). The groups were similar according to the onset delay of any of the muscles during either maneuver.

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