The role of transversus abdominis (TrA) on spinal stability may be important in low back pain (LBP). To date, there have not been any investigations into the influence of lumbo-pelvic neutral posture on TrA activity. The present study therefore examines whether posture influences TrA thickness. A normative within-subjects single-group study was carried out. Twenty healthy adults were recruited and taught five postures: (1) supine lying; (2) erect sitting (lumbo-pelvic neutral); (3) slouched sitting; (4) erect standing (lumbo-pelvic neutral); (5) sway-back standing. In each position, TrA thickness was measured (as an indirect measure of muscle activity) using ultrasound. In erect standing, TrA (mean TrA thickness: 4.63 ± 1.35 mm) was significantly thicker than in sway-back standing (mean TrA thickness: 3.32 ± 0.95 mm) (p = 00001). Similarly, in erect sitting TrA (mean thickness = 4.30 mm ± 1.58 mm) was found to be significantly thicker than in slouched sitting (mean thickness = 3.46 mm ± 1.13 mm) (p = 0002). In conclusion, lumbo-pelvic neutral postures may have a positive influence on spinal stability compared to equivalent poor postures (slouched sitting and sway-back standing) through the recruitment of TrA. Therefore, posture may be important for rehabilitation in patients with LBP. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd.
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