Gluteus Medius Strength and Low Back Pain

Gluteus Medius Strength and Low Back Pain -

Marshall P et al. Gluteus medius strength, endurance, and co-activation in the development of low back pain during prolonged standing. Human Movement Science: 2011

  • Prolonged standing has been shown to be a significant predictive factor for the development of LBP.
  • Bilateral co-activation of glut med has been found to correctly identify 76% of individuals as pain or non-pain developers during a 2-hour standing task
  • There is a lack of research investigating glut med strength and endurance as a causative factor for low back pain development
  • Participants in study were from a convenience sample from a university population. 8 males and 16 females were apparently healthy with no history of low back pain that had previously required them to seek treatment or miss work/training
  • Participants were required to stand in a confined area of 0.50 x0.46 m while performing a series of tasks in 30 minute blocks. They rated their pain at the beginning and every 15 minutes during and at the end of the 2-hour task. Pain was identified by a change in VAS greater than 10 mm on the 100 pt scale at any time during the protocol.
  • Before and after the 2-hour standing protocol, each participant’s strength and endurance were tested with side-lying isometric hip abduction and the side-bridge endurance test as described by McGill et al.
  • 71% of the participants (6 males and 11 females) of the 24 participants reported lbp during the standing protocol and exhibited reduced side bridge endurance time compared to non-pain developers. Hip abduction isometric strength was not different b/w groups
  • Results provide good preliminary evidence that low side-bridge endurance times (< 83 s for males, < 64 s for females) may be suggestive of increased pain development during prolonged standing in healthy, young individuals.
  • There is still no clear best practice training program to increase glut med endurance including whether to train for strength or endurance or for repetitions or holds for exercises like the side bridge.