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Lumbar kinematic variability during gait in chronic low back pain and associations with pain, disability and isolated lumbar extension strength

Steele, J and Bruce-Low, S and Smith, D and Jessop, D and Osborne, N (2014) Lumbar kinematic variability during gait in chronic low back pain and associations with pain, disability and isolated lumbar extension strength. CLINICAL BIOMECHANICS, 29. ISSN 0268-0033

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Abstract

Background Chronic low back pain is a multifactorial condition with many dysfunctions including gait variability. The lumbar spine and its musculature are involved during gait and in chronic low back pain the lumbar extensors are often deconditioned. It was therefore of interest to examine relationships between lumbar kinematic variability during gait, with pain, disability and isolated lumbar extension strength in participants with chronic low back pain. Methods Twenty four participants with chronic low back pain were assessed for lumbar kinematics during gait, isolated lumbar extension strength, pain, and disability. Angular displacement and kinematic waveform pattern and offset variability were examined. Findings Angular displacement and kinematic waveform pattern and offset variability differed across movement planes; displacement was highest and similar in frontal and transverse planes, and pattern variability and offset variability higher in the sagittal plane compared to frontal and transverse planes which were similar. Spearman's correlations showed significant correlations between transverse plane pattern variability and isolated lumbar extension strength (r = −.411) and disability (r = .401). However, pain was not correlated with pattern variability in any plane. The r2 values suggested 80.5% to 86.3% of variance was accounted for by other variables. Interpretation Considering the lumbar extensors role in gait, the relationship between both isolated lumbar extension strength and disability with transverse plane pattern variability suggests that gait variability may result in consequence of lumbar extensor deconditioning or disability accompanying chronic low back pain. However, further study should examine the temporality of these relationships and other variables might account for the unexplained variance.

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