Spinal Stabilization Exercise Program for Managing Lower Back Pain

Lithuanian scientists have devised a spinal stabilization exercise programme for managing lower back pain for people who perform a sedentary job. After testing the programme with 70 volunteers, the researchers have found that the exercises are not only efficient in diminishing the non-specific lower back pain, but their effect lasts 3 times longer than that of a usual muscle strengthening exercise programme.

“Lower back pain is reaching epidemic proportions. Although it is usually clear what is causing the pain and its chronic nature, people tend to ignore these circumstances and are not willing to change their lifestyle. Lower back pain usually comes away by itself, however, the chances of recurring pain are very high,” says Dr Irina Kliziene.

Dr Kliziene, together with colleagues has designed a set of stabilization exercises aimed at strengthening the muscles which support the spine at the lower back, i.e. lumbar area. The exercise programme is based on Pilates methodology.

According to Dr Kliziene, the stability of lumbar segments is an essential element of body biomechanics. Previous research evidence shows that in order to avoid lower back pain it is crucial to strengthen the deep muscles, which are stabilizing the lumbar area of the spine. One of these muscles is multifidus muscle.

The programme, designed by Dr Kliziene and her colleagues, consists of static and dynamic exercises, which train muscle strength and endurance. The static positions are to be held from 6 to 20 seconds; each exercise to be repeated 8 to 16 times.

In order to check the efficiency of the programme, 70 female volunteers were randomly enrolled either to the lumbar stabilization exercise programme or to a usual muscle strengthening exercise programme. Both groups were exercising twice a week for 45 minutes for 20 weeks. During the experiment, ultrasound scanning of the muscles was carried out.

As soon as 4 weeks in the lumbar stabilization programme, it was observed that the cross-section area of the multifidus muscle of the subjects of the stabilization group has increased; after completing the programme, this increase was statistically significant. This change was not observed in the strengthening group. Moreover, although both sets of exercises were efficient in eliminating lower back pain and strengthening the muscles of the lower back area, the effect of stabilization exercises lasted 3 times longer.

According to her, research demonstrates that the spine stabilization exercise programme is more efficient than medical intervention or usual physical activities in curing the lower back pain and aiming to avoid the recurrence of the symptoms in the future.


Saule Sipaviciene, Irina Kliziene. Effect of different exercise programs on non-specific chronic low back pain and disability in people who perform sedentary work. Clinical Biomechanics, 2020; 73: 17 DOI: 10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2019.12.028

Kaunas University of Technology. “Keeping lower back pain at bay: Better exercises.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200323125625.htm>.

Images from:

Photo by Benjamin Wedemeyer