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Physical & Massage Therapy

Spinal Stabilization Exercises

Only 20% of the strength of the spinal column is produced by the bones and ligaments, the other 80% is the produced by the muscles that support the spine.

If you injure a disc, joint or ligament in your back the deep muscles are reflexively inhibited, this quickly leads to weakness. Unfortunately, this weakness leads to a large decrease in the amount of strength thereby decreasing the muscle's ability to support the spinal column. Muscular control of each spinal segment is also quickly lost due to weakness or muscle guarding (sometimes referred to as “Spasm”). The combination of these factors is puts further stresses on the already injured areas increasing the pain

Spondylosis (arthritis of the spine) and Spondylolisthesis (slippage of one vertebra forward or back on the one below) cause the greatest degree of instability and spinal stabilization exercises can not only help reduce pain but also prevent re-occurrence of injury and pain in the future.

Research has shown stabilization of a spinal segment is provided by the deepest layer of muscles – the Multifidi in the back and the Transversus Abdominis in the abdominal region. Our therapists a trained in the art of exercise prescription and progression, to help target and strengthen these specific muscle groups.

Our focus in the clinic is on individualized attention for each of our clients, and for spinal stabilization exercises this is an absolute necessity.


Panjabi M. The stabilising system of the spine, part I: function, dysfunction, adaptation and enhancement. J Spinal Disord. 1992;5:

Paris S. Physical signs of instability. Spine. 1985;10:277–279.

Wilke H-J, Wolf S, Claes L, Arand M, Wiesend A: Stability Increase of the Lumbar Spine With Different Muscle Groups. Spine 1995;20(2):192-198.

O’Sullivan PB, Twomey LT, Allison GT. Evaluation of specific stabilising exercise in the treatment of chronic low back pain with radiologic diagnosis of spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis. Spine. 1997; 22:2959–2967.

Richardson C A, Jull G A 1995 Muscle control - pain control What exercises would you prescribe? Manual Therapy 1:1-9


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