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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2022, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (2): 145-152.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2021.12.002

• Original Chinical Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Core muscle functional strength training for reducing the risk of low-back pain in military recruits: An open-label randomized controlled trial

Xin Wanga, Wen-juan Songb, Yi Ruana, Bing-chu Lic, Can Lüb, Nian Huanga, Fan-fu Fangb, Wei Gua   

  1. a. School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naval Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China
    b. Department of Rehabilitation, Changhai Hospital, Naval Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China
    c. School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, Shanghai 200093, China
  • Received:2021-03-17 Accepted:2021-08-26 Online:2022-03-25 Published:2021-12-22
  • Contact: Wei Gu; Fan-fu Fang E-mail: sam6116@163.com; fangfanfu@126.com

Background

Core muscle functional strength training (CMFST) has been reported to reduce injuries to the lower extremity. However, no study has confirmed whether CMFST can reduce the risk of low-back pain (LBP).


Objective

This study identified the effects of CMFST on the incidence of LBP in military recruits.


Design, setting, participants and intervention

We performed a prospective, open-label, randomized, controlled study in a population of young healthy male naval recruits from a Chinese basic combat training program. Participants were randomly assigned to either the core group or the control group. In additional to normal basic combat training, recruits in the core group underwent a CMFST program for 12 weeks, while recruits in the control group received no extra training.


Main outcome measures

At the beginning of the study and at the 12th week, the number of participants with LBP was counted, and lumbar muscle endurance was measured. In addition, when participants complained of LBP, they were assessed using the visual analog scale (VAS) and Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ).

Results: A total of 588 participants were included in the final analysis (295 in the core group and 293 in the control group). The incidence of LBP in the control group was about twice that of the core group over the 12-week study (20.8% vs 10.8%, odds ratio: 2.161–2.159, P < 0.001). The core group had better lumbar muscle endurance at 12 weeks than the control group ([200.80 ± 92.98] s vs [147.00 ± 84.51] s, P < 0.01). There was no significant difference in VAS score between groups, but the core group had a significantly lower RMDQ score at week 12 than the control group (3.33 ± 0.58 vs 5.47 ± 4.41, P < 0.05).
Conclusion: This study demonstrated that the CMFST effectively reduced the incidence of LBP, improved lumbar muscle endurance, and relieved the dysfunction of LBP during basic military training.


Trial registration

Chinese Clinical Trial Registry (ChiCTR-POC-14005550).

Key words: Low-back pain, Core exercise, Recruits, Randomized controlled trial

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