Background There is evidence that muscle reflexes are delayed in patients with chronic low back pain in response to perturbations. It is still unrevealed whether these delays accompanied by an altered kinematic or compensated by adaption of other muscle parameters. The aim of this study was to investigate whether chronic low back pain patients show an altered kinematic reaction and if such data are reliable for the classification of chronic low back pain. Method In an experiment involving 30 females, sudden lateral perturbations were applied to the arm of a subject in an upright, standing position. Kinematics was used to distinguish between chronic low back pain patients and healthy controls. Findings A calculated model of a stepwise discriminant function analysis correctly predicted 100% of patients and 80% of healthy controls. The estimation of the classification error revealed a constant rate for the classification of the healthy controls and a slightly decreased rate for the patients. Interpretation Observed reflex delays and identified kinematic differences inside and outside the region of pain during impaired movement indicated that chronic low back pain patients have an altered motor control that is not restricted to the lumbo-pelvic region. This applied paradigm of external perturbations can...

Götze, Martin; Ernst, Michael; Koch, Markus; Blickhan, Reinhard
Clinical Biomechanics 30(3): 290–295
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