Stabilizing Training in Degenerative Disc Disease


This study evaluates efficacy of stabilizing training of deep core muscles in the lumbar spine in degenerative disc disease subjects, considering the progression level of degenerative disc disease: protrusion or extrusion.

Full Title of Study: “Stabilizing Training Effects in Relation With Progression Level in Young Degenerative Disc Disease Individuals”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Non-Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: Double (Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: January 15, 2020

Detailed Description

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is one of the causes of low back pain, and contributes to increasing the socio-economic problem. Depending on the reason for the dysfunction, various classifications describing the level of advancement are used. Literature on the subject commonly uses the division into protrusion and extrusion of the intervertebral disc, as approved by the American Society of Neuroradiology.

Stabilizing training is one of the forms of conservative treatment of lumbar pain, alongside manual treatment or techniques from the field of chiropractics or physiotherapy. It is thought that the proper stabilization of this region of the body is crucial for coping with pain.

Therefore, the aim of the study was to assess the effectiveness of stabilizing training of deep core muscles in the lumbar spine in subjects in the age of 20-35 years, considering the progression level of degenerative disc disease: protrusion or extrusion, on the basis of the clinical condition.


  • Behavioral: Stabilizing training
    • The training will include the activation of the lumbar multifidus muscle (m. multifudus) and the transverse abdominal muscle (m. transversus abdominis). The performance of the individual stages of the training will be based on Richardson’s methodology. One session will comprise 4 sets in which the patient will be asked to do pelvic tilts (draw-in) with simultaneous full exhalation, thus activating the aforementioned muscle groups in different positions: a) prone b) supine with lower extremities flexed c) quadruped d) standing back to the wall. The subjects will perform 3 series consisting of 10 repeats, each of which will last ca. 10 seconds.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Protrusion Group
    • 20 session of stabilizing training based on the principles developed by Richardson over four weeks.
  • Experimental: Extrusion Group
    • 20 session of stabilizing training based on the principles developed by Richardson over four weeks.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • The Oswestry Disability Index
    • Time Frame: 15 minutes
    • The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) is a valid and reliable assessment tool used by clinicians and researchers to quantify disability for low back pain. The self-completed questionnaire contains ten sections concerning intensity of pain, lifting, ability to care for oneself, ability to walk, ability to sit, sexual function, ability to stand, social life, sleep quality, and ability to travel. For each section the total possible score is 5: if the first statement is marked the section score = 0; if the last statement is marked, it = 5. After completing, the score is calculated by by summing scores from all sections (total maximum points=50). Total results are calculated as a percentage. The higher the score, the subject’s condition is worse. The results are interpreted as follows: 0% to 20%: minimal disability 21%-40%: moderate disability 41%-60%: severe disability 61%-80%: crippled 81%-100%:These patients are either bed-bound or exaggerating their symptoms.
  • Range of motion evaluation
    • Time Frame: 15 minutes
    • Range of motion will be evaluated SpinalMouse®. It is a non-invasive device used for assessing spinal mobility, whose reliability has been confirmed by studies. The measurement records the flexion and extension range of motion, and the test measure the total mobility from maximal flexion to maximal extension. Three measurements will be taken, and for statistical purposes their mean value will be calculated.

Secondary Measures

  • The passive lumbar extension test
    • Time Frame: 10 minutes
    • The passive lumbar extension test (PLE) is a tool for assessing the instability in the lumbar section of the spine. It is is the most suitable test for detecting lumbar instability, thanks to its excellent diagnostic accuracy, and good reliability
  • Straight leg raise test
    • Time Frame: 10 minutes
    • Straight leg raise (SLR) test is considered by researchers to be sensitive and specific in diagnosing damage to the peripheral nervous system. The subject’s lower limb with the knee extended was passively raised until potential symptoms were triggered, although not more than 60° of flexion in the hip joint, which, according to Kapandji, causes the maximum stretching of nerve structures.

Participating in This Clinical Trial

All the subjects undergo imaging examination in the form of MRI, whose results will be interpreted by a radiologist. Each person will be classified according to the current damage to the intervertebral disc as recommended by the American Society of Neuroradiology: protrusion or extrusion of the intervertebral disc.

Inclusion Criteria

  • disc disease located in the lumbar region of the spine confirmed by the MRI
  • subacute stage of the disease
  • age 20-35 years

Exclusion Criteria

  • advanced degenerative-deformatory changes of the spine
  • previous fracture of the spine
  • neurologic deficits in lower limbs or pelvis
  • spondylolisthesis
  • transitional vertebra
  • rheumatic diseases

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 20 Years

Maximum Age: 35 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University School of Physical Education in Wroclaw
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Błażej Cieślik, Research Assistant – University School of Physical Education in Wroclaw
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Błażej Cieślik, PhD., Principal Investigator, University School of Physical Education, Wroclaw, Poland
    • Tomasz Kuligowski, PhD., Principal Investigator, University School of Physical Education, Wroclaw, Poland


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