Stability threshold during seated balancing is sensitive to low back pain and safe to assess

N. Peter Reeves, V. G. Sal y Rosas, Ahmed Ramadan, John M. Popovich, Lawrence L. Prokop, Mathew A. Zatkin, Lisa A. DeStefano, Timothy J. Francisco, Jacob J. Rowan, Clark J. Radcliffe, Jongeun Choi, Nathan D. Cowdin, Jacek Cholewicki

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Challenging trunk neuromuscular control maximally using a seated balancing task is useful for unmasking impairments that may go unnoticed with traditional postural sway measures and appears to be safe to assess in healthy individuals. This study investigates whether the stability threshold, reflecting the upper limits in trunk neuromuscular control, is sensitive to pain and disability and is safe to assess in low back pain (LBP) patients. Seventy-nine subjects with non-specific LBP balanced on a robotic seat while rotational stiffness was gradually reduced. The critical rotational stiffness, KCrit, that marked the transition between stable and unstable balance was used to quantify the individual's stability threshold. The effects of current pain, 7-day average pain, and disability on KCrit were assessed, while controlling for age, sex, height, and weight. Adverse events (AEs) recorded at the end of the testing session were used to assess safety. Current pain and 7-day average pain were strongly associated with KCrit (current pain p < 0.001, 7-day pain p = 0.023), reflecting that people experiencing more pain have poorer trunk neuromuscular control. There was no evidence that disability was associated with KCrit, although the limited range in disability scores in subjects may have impacted the analysis. AEs were reported in 13 out of 79 total sessions (AE Severity: 12 mild, 1 moderate; AE Relatedness: 1 possibly, 11 probably, 1 definitely-related to the study). Stability threshold is sensitive to pain and appears safe to assess in people with LBP, suggesting it could be useful for identifying trunk neuromuscular impairments and guiding rehabilitation.
Original languageSpanish
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
StatePublished - 26 Aug 2021

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