Diaphragm and core stabilization exercises in low back pain: A narrative review
Sannasi R., Dakshinamurthy A., Dommerholt J., Desai V., Kumar A., Sugavanam T.
Introduction: Core stabilization is a vital concept in clinical rehabilitation (including low back pain rehabilitation) and competitive athletic training. The core comprises of a complex network of hip, trunk and neck muscles including the diaphragm. Aims: The paper aims to discuss the role of the diaphragm in core stability, summarize current evidence and put forth ideal core training strategies involving the diaphragm. Method: Narrative review Results: The diaphragm has a dual role of respiration and postural control. Evidence suggests that current core stability exercises for low back pain are superior than minimal or no treatment, however, no more beneficial than general exercises and/or manual therapy. There appears to be a higher focus on the transversus abdominis and multifidi muscles and minimal attention to the diaphragm. We propose that any form of core stabilization exercises for low back pain rehabilitation should consider the diaphragm. Core stabilization program could commence with facilitation of normal breathing patterns and progressive systematic restoration of the postural control role of the diaphragm muscle. Conclusion: The role of the diaphragm is often overlooked in both research and practice. Attention to the diaphragm may improve the effectiveness of core stability exercise in low back pain rehabilitation.