Effect of Upper-Extremity Strengthening Exercises on the Lumbar Strength, Disability and Pain of Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Study

Atalay E., AKOVA B., GÜR H., ŞEKİR U.

JOURNAL OF SPORTS SCIENCE AND MEDICINE, vol.16, no.4, pp.595-603, 2017 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 16 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.595-603
  • Keywords: Chronic back pain, back and neck exercises, pain disability, MUSCLE FATIGUE, STABILIZATION, MOBILIZATION, THERAPY, PROGRAM, TRIAL
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


The present study aimed to analyze the impacts of a low back rehabilitation program accompanied with neck, shoulder and upper back exercises on pain, disability, and physical characteristics of patients with chronic low back pain. Twenty sedentary male patients with chronic low back pain participated in the study on a voluntary basis. The patients were randomly allocated into two groups: a conventional low back exercise group (CE) and a supported exercise group (SE; CE plus upper back, neck, and shoulder exercises). The Modified Oswestry Disability Questionnaire (MODQ) was used to evaluate the disability status and the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) was used to identify the pain states of the patients. In addition, neck, lumbar and shoulder isokinetic and isometric strengths of the patients were evaluated. The CE group performed lumbar stretching, mobilization and stabilization exercises in addition to low-back and abdominal isometric and concentric strengthening exercises. The SE group performed static stretching and isotonic exercises for the neck, upper-back, and shoulder muscles, in addition to the exercises performed in CE group. The exercises were implemented 3 days a week for 6 weeks in both groups. Following the 6-week exercise periods in both groups, statistically significant (p < 0.01) improvements were observed in the patients' levels of pain and the scores of MODQ reflecting an easing of disability. With respect to the levels of pain and disability, the improvements observed in the SE group was significantly (p < 0.01) greater than the improvement observed in the CE group. Based on the findings of this study, we can conclude that a low back exercise program used in combination with neck, shoulder and upper back exercises reduces the level of pain and disability in patients with chronic low back pain more prominently than conventional low back exercises.