The effects of spinal motion restriction on running
A recent study out of California has shown the effects of restricting spinal motion while subjects were asked to run on a treadmill ¹. The research used thermoplastic casting material that was fashioned into a rigid orthosis. The investigation aimed to see if reduced lumbar spine mobility required increase leg and spinal muscle activity.
Investigators noted that the encumbrance placed on the torso forced the stride lengths of the runners to be shortened, reducing swing time, requiring extra steps to fulfil the same distances. Furthermore, the EMG results, a measure of blood flow to body parts, showed that the muscles of the legs and spine had to work harder to compensate for the spinal restriction. This supports previous studies and observations that indicated that decreased spinal mobility might be a contributing factor to overuse muscle injuries in runners.