(ATHENS, Ohio — Sept. 18, 2015) The economic toll of low back pain
is significant, costing about $26 billion annually to treat the
problem and $14 billion in lost wages. It also causes considerable
pain and can lead to disability and reduced physical activity. A
study called Back Exercises to Neutralize Disability (The BEND
Study) at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic
Medicine is testing a promising exercise that may improve muscle
size and function in patients with recurrent low back pain.
BEND Study, funded by a $408,375 grant from the National Institute
of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, is implementing
Kaatsu training principles, a technique developed by a Japanese
sports scientist that uses a device resembling a blood pressure
cuff. Straps temporarily restrict blood flow to a particular area
while a person exercises using low weights. Studies have found that
muscle can strengthen more quickly using the restricted blood flow
technique. Findings from a pilot study conducted by Brian Clark,
Ph.D., professor of neuromuscular physiology and executive director
of the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute (OMNI), also
suggests that Kaatsu could be beneficial for certain individuals,
muscle conditions or locations that can’t safely use high weights.
“As part of their rehabilitation, many people with lower back
pain are instructed to do low-weight or low-intensity exercises.
However, these exercises haven’t been very effective at stimulating
the muscle to grow and adapt. Increasing the weight-load or
intensity could cause more harm to a person’s spine due to increased
compressive loading. It’s a rehabilitation Catch-22,” said Clark.
“Kaatsu has the potential of providing the benefits of higher
exercise intensities, but using lower weights. We believe we can
stimulate the lower back muscles to grow and adapt without the high
compressive forces that could cause more damage.”
If findings from the study, now in its second year, demonstrate
that the Kaatsu technique is effective, it could provide a
cost-effective and easy-to-use rehabilitation strategy for
individuals with low back pain.
“Through the research of Dr. Clark and others at the Heritage
College, we are developing a knowledge base and tools that will
improve the quality of life for many people in Ohio and elsewhere,”
said Heritage College Executive Dean Kenneth H. Johnson, D.O.
To learn more about the study, contact OMNI at 740.566.OMNI or
online survey to determine participant eligibility is also
The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine is a
leader in training dedicated primary care physicians who are
prepared to address the most pervasive medical needs in the state
and the nation. Approximately 50 percent of Heritage College alumni
practice in primary care and nearly 60 percent practice in Ohio.
CARE LEADS HERE.