by Bridget Collier, PT, DPT

Chronic low back pain is extremely prevalent in the United States, especially in the adult population. It has been estimated that 80% of adults have experienced at least one occurrence of low back pain in their lifetime. One of the risk factors for low back pain is weakness of abdominal trunk muscles. In the article, “Abdominal Trunk Muscle Weakness and its Association with Chronic Low Back Pain and Risk of Falling in Older Women,” the authors investigated the association of trunk muscle strength with the presence of chronic low back pain in older women.

Trunk muscle strength was tested using an exercise device developed by the authors of the above study that was previously deemed reliable. The device measures general abdominal trunk strength of the diaphragm, abdominal rectus, internal oblique, external oblique, transverse abdominal, and levator ani muscles in combination. The article found that the women who were experiencing chronic low back pain had significantly weaker trunk muscles compared to those with no chronic low back pain. Chronic low back pain was defined as having low back pain of a defined pain intensity (equivalent to ~2/10 pain) for more than 3 months.

The same study then investigated whether women with lower trunk muscle strength were at a higher risk of falling. It was found that abdominal trunk muscle strength was significantly lower in the women who had experienced a fall in the past 12 months, regardless of if back pain was present.

For more information regarding this topic or the research presented, please see the article referenced below. If you’re experiencing low back pain or have experienced a recent fall, the physical therapists here at Physical Therapy First will examine you and develop an individualized rehabilitation plan to help improve your symptoms. Abdominal trunk strength can help to improve spinal stability and will likely be incorporated into your unique program. Give us a call or visit the website to schedule an appointment!


Kato S, Murakami H, Demura S, Yoshioka K, Shinmura K, Yokogawa N, Igarashi T, Yonezawa N, Shimizu T, Tsuchiya H. Abdominal trunk muscle weakness and its association with chronic low back pain and risk of falling in older women. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2019 Jun 3;20(1):273. doi: 10.1186/s12891-019-2655-4. PMID: 31159812; PMCID: PMC6547466.