Conditions and Treatments


The body’s ability to “fine tune” and control the motion of the spine is remarkable. When this system functions poorly, such as when related to the pain of spinal injury, degeneration or dysfunction, then physical therapy with skilled and well trained neck and back physical therapists is required.  Detailed information regarding spine stabilization (motor control) concepts can be found in the PowerPoint presentation below. Here are some helpful definitions to enhance your understanding of the presentation:

Local stabilizing musculature

Operate in an anticipatory feedforward mechanism prior to the actual motion in an effort to aid in the body’s ability to maintain stability.  These muscles provide joint protection and support before load occurs and is key for sudden unexpected motions. An impairment in the area would present as a dysfunction in the ability of the deep segmental musculature to control a neutral joint position.  Local muscles are the deepest layer of muscles that insert segmentally.  They work independent of direction.

Transverse abdominis (TA) and  Local lumbar multifidus are two of these muscles

Global stabilization musculature

These muscles are  responsible for controlling the position of the spine through a range of motion.   Imbalances or dysfunction in this area occur due to changes in functional length or recruitment of this musculature.  The function of these muscles is to generate torque unlike local muscles which maintain a low force continuous activity.  These muscle provide eccentric control of end ranges of joint motion.  In order to demonstrate sufficient control in the areas of flexion, rotation, and extension the motion must be performed through a specific range, without substitution patterns and with relative ease.

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