Background: Recently, the oscillatory bar has been proposed as a new and effective rehabilitation tool in people with nonspecific low back pain (NSLBP), although its effects on muscular control in this population have not been well documented, especially in lower extremity muscles and different support surface conditions.
Objective: This study aimed to evaluate and compare the effects of flexi-bar use on stable and unstable surfaces on electromyographic activity of trunk and lower extremity muscles in healthy persons and those with NSLBP.
Material and Methods: 18 healthy men and 18 men with NSLBP participated in this cross-sectional study. The root mean square value of electromyographic activity was calculated in the trunk and lower extremity muscles during 4 different task conditions: quiet standing (QS) or flexi-bar use on a rigid or foam support surface. A repeated measures test was used for statistical analysis.
Results: The results showed that the amplitude activity of almost all muscles was significantly greater during flexi-bar use than in the QS condition (P<0.05). The rectus femoris, tibialis anterior, and gastrocnemius demands were significantly greater on the foam than the rigid surface (P<0.05).
Conclusion: This study showed that oscillatory forces caused by flexi-bar use can increase muscle activation in multiple segments (hip and ankle in addition to trunk muscles) that are crucial for postural stability. Furthermore, the foam surface appeared to target the rectus femoris in addition to the ankle muscles. Using a flexi-bar may be helpful in NSLBP rehabilitation, and exercising on a foam surface may enhance additive hip muscle activity in people with NSLBP.