Lumbopelvic motor control: An integrated approach to clinical assessment and treatment of motor control dysfunction in low back and pelvic pain

Before the Fascia Research Summer School I attended a workshop with Paul Hodges. Paul is Professor and NHMRC Senior Principle Research Fellow in the Division of Physiotherapy at the University of Queensland and Director of the NHMRC Centre of Clinical Research Excellence in Spinal Pain, Injury and Health. His own interests engage biomechanical and neurophysiological methods to understand the control of movement and stability and how this changes when people are in pain. He has received more than $AU22 million in research grants from the NHMRC, ARC and International research funds. Paul has numerous ongoing international collaborations and has published more than 250 peer reviewed articles and book chapters.

Paul Hodges is perhaps best known for his work on the interplay between deep abdominal and spinal muscles in segmental lumbar motor control – research that has been co-opted, appropriated and variously misinterpreted in the fashionable and highly problematic notion of ‘core stability’ – forming part of a credible facade for many exercise products and purported therapeutic interventions.

Paul delivered a highly integrated and informative two day workshop that built a strong case for altered motor control in low back and pelvic pain patients. Many of the studies presented and discussed during the workshop were generated by Hodges and his many collaborators. His group has established an experimental and clinical basis for the efficacy of manual, cognitive and exercise-based intervention in chronic low back pain patients. Targeted experimental design, large cohorts, well selected control groups and specific studies using invasive and fine wire EMG, ultrasound and more recently brain imaging have together provided insight into the connections between low back and pelvic pain, respiration and pelvic floor dysfunction. Evidence and proposed mechanisms generated by his group support the long held osteopathic view that these processes are interconnected.

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