Low back pain in cricket fast bowlers


This recent article examines the relationship between abdominal muscle activity, fast bowling and low back pain (LBP). Real time ultrasound imaging was used to measure the thickness of the transversus abdominus (TrA), Internal Oblique (IO) and External Oblique (EO) in a lumbar neutral, supine position.  It was reported that healthy controls showed a significant difference in thickness between their dominant/non-dominant sides, while subjects with LBP showed no significant between sides difference.




Fast bowling in cricket involves lumbar flexion, extension, side flexion and rotation and therefor is thought to increase participant’s risk of developing LBP. It is generally accepted that trunk muscles can influence LBP presentations, and it is proposed that dysfunctional trunk muscles can play a role in its development.

25 adolescent fast bowlers were recruited to the study, 16 fast bowlers with chronic LBP and 9 asymptomatic controls. Participants were aged 14 – 18 years and the two groups were matched for age, weight, height and bowling experience.  Real time Ultrasound imaging was used to visualise the TrA, IO and EO in supine with hips flexed to 450 and knees flexed to 900.


In contrast to the general population, where asymmetrical trunk muscles have been shown to be a predictor for LBP, asymptomatic controls showed significant differences in trunk muscle thickness between sides. There was no difference between sides in subjects with LBP. The authors conclude that asymmetry of trunk muscles may be necessary for safe fast bowling technique.


> From: Gray et al., J Sci Med Sport () (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd. Click here for the Pubmed summary.

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