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Free Content Post Space Mission Lumbo-Pelvic Neuromuscular Reconditioning: A European Perspective

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Evetts SN, Caplan N, Debuse D, Lambrecht G, Damann V, Petersen N, Hides J. Post space mission lumbo-pelvic neuromuscular reconditioning: a European perspective. Aviat Space Environ Med 2014; 85:764–5.

Long-duration exposure to the space environment causes physical adaptations that are deleterious to optimal functioning on Earth. Post-mission rehabilitation traditionally concentrates on regaining general muscle strength, neuromuscular control, and lumbo-pelvic stability. A particular problem is muscle imbalance caused by the hypertrophy of the flexor and atrophy of the extensor and local lumbo-pelvic muscles, increasing the risk of post-mission injury. A method currently used in European human spaceflight to aid post-mission recovery involves a motor control approach, focusing initially on teaching voluntary contraction of specific lumbo-pelvic muscles and optimizing spinal position, progressing to functional retraining in weight bearing positions. An alternative approach would be to use a Functional Readaptive Exercise Device to appropriately recruit this musculature, thus complementing current rehabilitation programs. Advances in post-mission recovery of this nature may both improve astronaut healthcare and aid terrestrial healthcare through more effective treatment of low back pain and accelerated post bed rest rehabilitation.

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Keywords: deconditioning; low back pain; lumbo-pelvic muscles; rehabilitation; spaceflight

Document Type: Commentary

Affiliations: European Space Agency Crew Medical Support Office, European Astronaut Centre, Cologne, Germany

Publication date: July 1, 2014

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