Muscle News Weekly June 17 2014, 0 Comments

Does a history of low back pain alter movement patterns of the spine in reaching and sitting? 

A few people still believe that getting out of pain is all they need. No more pain, no more issues. However, more and more trainers and health professionals are focused on total movement patterns rather than pain. A new study looked at whether there was any changes in how the low back moved in those with previous back pain but no current pain, and those without any pain. The results should reinforce the need to go beyond simply getting out of pain and finding movement faults that need to be corrected.

The study compared the amplitude and timing of spine and hip motion during two seated activities .Motions involved reaching downward and across the body. The group with the recurrent low back pain demonstrated more restrictive motion at the lower thoracic spine and compensated by increased hip motion. In cross reaching, the control group lumbar motion led, while in those with previous back pain had a delay. 

Next time you see someone with a history of low back pain, focus on increasing function and making movement patterns more efficient. 

Want to get more core activation in a side bridge? Breath out all the way. And i do mean all the way!

Whether you're trying to get better core activation from sports performance or from rehabilitation, bridging exercises are common. However, a really cool new study decided to see if maximal expiration made any difference on activation of the abdominal muscles. 

The study compared a prone bridge after holding their breath after maximal expiration, a side bridge with full expiration and a side bridge with resting expiration. Significant increases in the abdominal muscle activation occurred after holding the breath after maximal expiration in the side bridge. So next time you're doing your bridges, let out all that air and hold on!

Does kinesiology taping really help? New study says no.

You may have seen professional and Olympic athletes out there wearing these colorful tapes. Therapists and trainers have been using these tapes to treat musculoskeletal issues for some time now. The question is, does it really work? 

A new study in the journal Physician and Sports Medicine looked at the current research and did a review of all the research out there. They came up with the following conclusion:

The combined results of this meta-analysis indicate that kinesiology tape may have limited potential to reduce pain in individuals with musculoskeletal injury; however, depending on the conditions, the reduction in pain may not be clinically meaningful. Kinesiology tape application did not reduce specific pain measures related to musculoskeletal injury above and beyond other modalities compared in the context of included articles.

However, I've had some experience seeing trainers and therapists apply kinesiology taping. Like anything else, its not going to produce any miracles by itself. I don't think i've ever seen any trainer rely solely on kinesiology taping. They used it as part of an overall treatment regimen, with the combination of treatments producing the desired results. It should be interesting to see what happens when more research comes out. For now, I don't think one should stop using kinesiology taping. Use it with other strategies and you'll get the results you need. 

The consensus on platelet rich plasma treatment on large joint osteoarthritis is........

It works! Although, as with mostly every research study, the studies have small sample sizes and further research needs to be done. However, there is a general trend towards PRP treatments. In a new systematic review of the literature from the journal Physician and Sportsmedicine, they found 12 articles on knee osteoarthritis, and 1 on hip osteoarthritis. 

They found that PRP showed statistically significant improvements in knee arthritis compared to the use of hyaluronic acid. Again, most of the studies suffered from low level of evidence, small sample sizes and wide variability in response to treatment. They felt that recommendations could not be made at this time. 

In my experience, i've seen some great results and some not so great results. I think the future of this treatment technique will depend on improvements in understanding who will benefit and exactly when to use it. Not unlike the progression of any other treatment. 

What shoulder tests are relevant in the diagnosis of shoulder rotator cuff injuries?

Still doing tests that may be useful for diagnosing shoulder injuries? Great new study just came out from the Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. They looked at 11 common diagnostic tests and asked whether they are relevant for diagnosis a rotator cuff injury. They had a radiologist do an ultrasound to separate patients into 3 groups: normal tendon, tendinopathy, or full thickness tear. Here's what they found. (I've attached some links to videos that outline each test):

  1. The Jobe and full can test were relevant for a supraspinatus tear while a resisted lateral rotation test was relevant for an infraspinatus tear.


2. The resisted lateral rotation test was relevant for infraspinatus tear, with weakness noted as the response criteria.

3. The lift off test was relevant for a subscapularis tear with a lag sign as the response criteria.


4. Yergason's test relevant for tendinopathy of the long head of the biceps with pain as response criteria:


No relevant clinical test for diagnosis of tendinopathy of supraspinatus, infraspinatus, or subscapularis. I love studies like this that validate various tests. The more studies we see like this, the better we're able to refine our examination skills.