Changes in Motor Cortex Following Exercises for Chronic Low Back Pain

2014-08-27 03:23:31 | BioPortfolio


The motor cortex of the brain changes following chronic pain and injury, and this is linked to pain-associated changes in motor behaviour. This study aimed to investigate whether therapeutic exercises in patients with chronic pain can induce reorganisation of the motor cortex and restore normal motor behaviour. The investigators hypothesised that motor training can induce reorganisation of the motor cortex and that these changes are related to improved motor behaviour.


The sensory and motor systems can reorganize following injury and learning of new motor skills. Recently we observed adaptive changes in motor cortical organization in patients with chronic back pain, which are closely linked to changes in motor behavior. Although pain-related alterations in behavior can be trained and are associated with improved symptoms, it remains unclear whether these meaningful functional outcomes are related to motor cortical reorganization. Here we investigate the effects of two interventions in people with chronic back pain: skilled motor training and a control intervention of self-paced walking exercise. We measured motor cortical excitability (motor threshold (MT)) and organization (center of gravity (CoG) and map volume) of the deep abdominal muscle, transversus abdominis (TrA), using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). In addition, motor behavior of TrA was assessed during single rapid arm movements. The study helps to elucidate the mechanisms of specific motor exercises in chronic back pain management.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Investigator), Primary Purpose: Basic Science


Chronic Low Back Pain


Skilled motor training, Walking exercise


Centre for Clinical Research Excellence in Spinal Pain, Injury and Health




The University of Queensland

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:23:31-0400

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