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    Stature loss and recovery following a period of loading: effect of time of day and presence or absence of low back pain.

    Healey, Emma L., Burden, Adrian, McEwan, Islay M. and Fowler, Neil E. (2008) Stature loss and recovery following a period of loading: effect of time of day and presence or absence of low back pain. Clinical biomechanics, 23 (6). pp. 721-726. ISSN 0268-0033

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    BACKGROUND: Stature reductions in asymptomatic individuals, caused by a set load, are lower later in the day when stature is in the trough of diurnal variation; hence most stature reduction investigations are conducted in the morning. Recent evidence suggests that it is not the reductions in stature, but the recovery of stature, that is of greatest importance. The aim of this investigation was to establish whether stature recovery is also affected by time of day and to determine if any differences exist between a chronic low back pain and asymptomatic group. METHODS: Eleven chronic low back pain participants (age=32.8 SD 7.9 yrs, mass=74.4 SD 14.2 kg and height=1.73 SD 0.07 m) and 11 asymptomatic participants (age=31.0 SD 6.3 yrs, body mass=72.6 SD 11.5 kg and height=1.76 SD 0.09 m) underwent two 20 min loaded walking tasks (10% body mass), one in the morning (09:00) and one in the afternoon (14:00), followed by a 20 min unloaded recovery period. Measurements of stature were obtained throughout. FINDINGS: The asymptomatic group experienced significantly less stature reduction (P=0.05; ES=1.1) and greater stature recovery (P=0.02; ES=0.9) in the afternoon compared to the morning. The chronic low back pain group experienced a similar pattern to the asymptomatic group, however no significant difference between sessions for changes in stature was evident P=0.07. INTERPRETATION: Further investigations of stature recovery should be restricted to the morning when comparing individuals with and without chronic low back pain, as time of day appeared to have effect on stature recovery, particularly in the asymptomatic group. Time dependent differences in stature change between these two populations warrants further investigation.

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