The knowledge of the onset and cessation timing of the paraspinal muscles that surround the lumbar spine is an important area of research for the understanding of low back pain. This study examined the timing of the erector spinae and external oblique muscle activity in a group of golfers with and without low back pain. The study compared the results of surface electromyography measurements for two groups of golfers. Twelve male golfers who had reported a mild or greater level of pain in the lower back that was experienced while playing golf were examined. A further fifteen male golfers who had reported no history of lower back pain in the previous 12 months were recruited as controls. The results showed that the low-back-pain golfers switched on their erector spinae muscle significantly in advance of the start of the backswing. This finding was not evident in the group who did not have low back pain symptoms. Low-back-pain golfers, therefore, may use the erector spinae muscle as a primary spinal stabiliser instead of the stronger deeper muscles such as transversus abdominis and multifidus. These results may have important implications for conditioning programmes for golfers with low back pain. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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