The Corset Muscle by Lizl Kotz

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There is a definite link between low back pain and dysfunction in the Transversus Abdominis muscle. The TVA muscle, also known as the corset muscle, acts as an active stabilizer of the lumbar spine. It has been estimated that contraction of the TVA reduces the vertical pressure of the intervertebral discs by as much as 40%. This is huge for people with disc disease.

In low back pain patients, the TVA is typically weak and the contraction is delayed, leaving the spine unprotected. It is not uncommon for other muscles to co-contract in an attempt to compensate for a dysfunctional core. The TVA acts as a natural weightlifting belt, stabilizing the spine during movement and is especially important during lifting.

Training patients how to contract their deep abdominal system is time consuming but well worth the time. It is an important building block and allows for exercise progression without the risk of injury.

At Lizl Kotz Performance Center our goal is to train the brain to contract the TVA, multifidus and pelvic floor in isolation and then as a deep abdominal system. We first train without movement and then train to integrate into functional tasks and sports.

A blood pressure cuff can be used to help train the patient how to contract the Transversus Abdominis in isolation. When to TVA is contracting, there should be no change in spine position. Any increase on the sphygmomanometer indicates other muscles are compensating and is not a true isolated TVA contraction.

A blood pressure cuff can be used to help train the patient how to contract the Transversus Abdominis in isolation. When to TVA is contracting, there should be no change in spine position. Any increase on the sphygmomanometer indicates other muscles are compensating and is not a true isolated TVA contraction.

Lizl Kotz