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Pain, function tied to proprioception in nonspecific lower back pain

10 Oct 2017

Pain and function in patients with nonspecific lower back pain (NSLBP) both appear to be associated with proprioception, a new study has found.

“The results suggest that patients suffering from chronic low back pain require targeted training in muscle strength, endurance and lumbar proprioception. This study provides a theoretical basis for prevention and treatment of chronic NSLBP,” said researchers.

Investigators subjected 90 patients (aged 18 to 37 years) with NSLBP to the lumbar proprioception test using the CON-TREX multijoint training machine. Pain was measured using the visual analogue scale (VAS), while lumbar disability was assessed using the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ).

VAS scores were significantly positively correlated with proprioception in the lumbar vertebra flexion (p=0.011). On the other hand, RMDQ scores were correlated with proprioception in both flexion (p=0.002) and extension (p=0.039) of the lumbar vertebra.

In terms of peak torque in NSLBP patients, VAS was also significantly correlated with flexion muscle at 60o/s (p<0.001). Similarly, extension muscle at 60o/s (p<0.001), 120o/s (p=0.004) and 180o/s (p<0.001) were significantly associated with VAS.

RMDQ scores were also significantly associated with flexion muscle at 60o/s (p<0.001) and with extension muscle at 60o/s (p<0.001), 120o/s (p=0.005) and 180o/s (p<0.001).

According to the researchers, because of its high degree of accuracy, peak torque is a very reliable method for assessing the isokinetic muscle strength.

“These results confirmed the deeper pain intensity and the higher disability index in patients with chronic low back pain. When the lumbar and abdomen muscle weakens, lumbar stability decreases, and the symptoms of the lumbar worsen,” they added.

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