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Context: Injury to the low back can cause significant pain and dysfunction, which can affect an athlete’s performance and result in time lost from sport. A common conservative treatment is therapeutic core stabilization exercises, which can address pain and musculoskeletal dysfunction in patients with low back pathology.

Evidence Acquisition: MEDLINE and CINAHL were searched (from 1966 to March 2013) to identify relevant research. Keywords and keyword combinations searched included motor control exercise, segmental stabilization, core stabilization, transversus abdominis, multifidi, and low back pain.

Results: There are 2 popular rehabilitation strategies to assess core function and promote core stabilization. Each has been developed based on biomechanical models of lumbar segmental stability and observed motor control dysfunction in patients with low back pain.

Conclusion: Controversy exists among clinical and research groups as to the optimal strategy for an athlete with low back pain.