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LumboTrain active support Free movement of the muscles

Issue 02/2014

A new study proves: The “phantom” of muscular atrophy when wearing a support doesn’t exist. On the contrary: With the LumboTrain lumbar support the back and abdominal muscles actually show increased activity.

The activity of the back and abdominal muscles was the focus of PD Dr. med. Christoph Anders’ study.
The activity of the back and abdominal muscles was the focus of PD Dr. med. Christoph Anders’ study.

This stool! In front of us is a state-of-the-art whole body tipping unit named “Centaur,” which is used for the simulation of static stresses on the human body – an apparatus that looks like it was taken directly out of an alien movie. In front of it stands… a stool. Actually it’s just in the way. “Wait , I need that!” says the man in a T-shirt. “That’s my most important tool.”
PD Dr. med. Christoph Anders laughs and sits himself down on the wooden frame. Now he is perfectly at eye level with the lumbar vertebrae of the test subject. “Look,” he palpates the sacroiliac joint and explains, “this is where the musculus erector spinae iliocostalis runs. It is one of the six muscles we examined.” He marks the course of the paired back muscle with a ruler and pen. “I can only avoid a parallax in my markings by sitting directly in front of it ,” he explains. “If the marking of the muscle course isn’t right , then the results won’t be correct either. Accurate marking is the foundation of everything else.” Dr. Anders fixes the electrodes on the marked points and connects them to a monitor. The measurement can start. The stool is put out of service, Centaur is waiting …

Do supports inhibit the muscles?

Treadmills and the whole body tipping unit Centaur were used. The study showed that the LumboTrain harmonized the interplay of muscles.
Treadmills and the whole body tipping unit Centaur were used.

Precise work is a matter of course at the motor skills laboratory in Jena University Hospital. Dr. Anders, pathophysiologist at the clinic for trauma, hand and reconstructive surgery, is on the trail of a clinical picture which is sure to take a top position in citation frequency, even in informal literature: unspecified back pain. “Most of the time the causes of the complaint cannot be pinpointed to a defined region,” says the researcher, who has already submitted many works about the physiology of the trunk musculature. “With back pain, the problem is a disturbed interplay of various factors.” The muscles play an important role in this. The LumboTrain active support from Bauerfeind has established itself as an integral part of therapy against unspecified back pain. Supports should not only work to activate muscles and relieve pain but also improve the coordination of the stabilizing muscles. However, even in academic circles, people think that lumbar supports relieve the spine so much that muscles atrophy. Not to mention the false analogy with rigid orthoses that seems to be a persistent image in many people’s minds: Is the “phantom” of atrophy really true? Do supports really inhibit the muscles? Getting to the bottom of these reservations was the goal of the Jena study. The key aspect of the study developed by Dr. Anders was to measure the electrical activity of selected trunk muscles. The respective activation pattern allowed conclusions about stress as well as the coordination of the muscles being tested. The study examined in detail what effect the lumbar supports had on the trunk muscles under dynamic and static stresses. In order to obtain a “baseline,” the study was initially carried out with healthy test subjects. The results are clear: “There is no relevant , repressive effect of the LumboTrain back support on the activity of the back muscles. And further: “The activity of the trunk muscles is actually increased by the support during static stress. Overall we can assume a positive influence of the LumboTrain on muscular activity.”

The study showed that the LumboTrain harmonized the interplay of muscles.
The study showed that the LumboTrain harmonized the interplay of muscles.

Better muscle coordination

Yet the results regarding muscle activity are not the only finding. The different effects of the support on the individual muscle groups are also conspicuous. The physiological interplay of abdominal , back and lateral torso muscles is in no way impaired when wearing the LumboTrain – this conclusion seems absolutely reliable after evaluation of the study results. On the contrary – muscle coordination was positively influenced. An example: When running, there are usually differences between the two sides, a natural im­balance in the coordination of the trunk musculature. These are different for men and women. “Wearing the support corrects these typical differences between the two sides in both men and women, allowing for more even and balanced use of the muscles,” states Dr. Anders. Moreover the study showed that , during static back and side tilting, the resulting force of the trunk muscles was shifted towards the applied force. Muscles that were not directly involved were relieved while the relevant muscle groups were activated. This means a positive harmonization of the muscle control , coordinated with the current requirements. Activation, coordination, harmonization – the results of the Jena study regarding the effects of the LumboTrain on musculature are varied.They prove what many orthopedic surgeons and patients have long understood – the fact that , by wearing the active support , the muscles are not weakened, but rather strengthened!

Images: Frank Steinhorst


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