Effects of posture on the thickness of transversus abdominis in pain-free subjects
The role of transversus abdominis (TrA) on spinal stability may be important in low back pain (LBP). To date, there have not been any investigations into the influence of lumbo-pelvic neutral posture on TrA activity. The present study therefore examines whether posture influences TrA thickness. A normative within-subjects single-group study was carried out. Twenty healthy adults were recruited and taught five postures: (1) supine lying; (2) erect sitting (lumbo-pelvic neutral); (3) slouched sitting; (4) erect standing (lumbo-pelvic neutral); (5) sway-back standing. In each position, TrA thickness was measured (as an indirect measure of muscle activity) using ultrasound. In erect standing, TrA (mean TrA thickness: 4.63+/-1.35 mm) was significantly thicker than in sway-back standing (mean TrA thickness: 3.32+/-0.95 mm) (p=00001). Similarly, in erect sitting TrA (mean thickness=4.30 mm+/-1.58 mm) was found to be significantly thicker than in slouched sitting (mean thickness=3.46 mm+/-1.13 mm) (p=0002). In conclusion, lumbo-pelvic neutral postures may have a positive influence on spinal stability compared to equivalent poor postures (slouched sitting and sway-back standing) through the recruitment of TrA. Therefore, posture may be important for rehabilitation in patients with LBP.