Early neuromuscular customized training after surgery for lumbar disc herniation: A prospective controlled study

  • Millisdotter M
  • Strömqvist B
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A prospective and controlled study of training after surgery for lumbar disc herniation (LDH). The objective was to determine the effect of early neuromuscular customized training after LDH surgery. No consensus exists on the type and timing of physical rehabilitation after LDH surgery. Patients aged 15-50 years, disc prolapse at L4-L5 or L5-S1. Before surgery, at 6 weeks, 4, and 12 months postoperatively, the following evaluations were performed: low back pain and leg pain estimated on a visual analog scale, disability according to the Roland-Morris questionnaire (RMQ) and disability rating index (DRI). Clinical examination, including the SLR test, was performed using a single blind method. Consumption of analgesics was registered. Twenty-five patients started neuromuscular customized training 2 weeks after surgery (early training group = ETG). Thirty-one patients formed a control group (CG) and started traditional training after 6 weeks. There was no significant difference in pain and disability between the two training groups before surgery. Median preoperative leg pain was 63 mm in ETG and 70 mm in the CG. Preoperative median disability according to RMQ was 14 in the ETG and 14.5 in the CG. Disability according to DRI (33/56 patients) was 5.3 in the ETG vs. 4.6 in the CG. At 6 weeks, 4 months, and 12 months, pain was significantly reduced in both groups, to the same extent. Disability scores were lower in the ETG at all follow-ups, and after 12 months, the difference was significant (RMQ P=.034, DRI P=.015). The results of the present study show early neuromuscular customized training to have a superior effect on disability, with a significant difference compared to traditional training at a follow-up 12 months after surgery. No adverse effects of the early training were seen. A prospective, randomized study with a larger patient sample is warranted to ultimately demonstrate that early training as described is beneficial for patients undergoing LDH surgery.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Lumbar disc herniation
  • Neuromuscular training
  • Neutral position
  • Surgery

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  • Monica Millisdotter

  • Björn Strömqvist

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