Is there a relationship between pain intensity and postural sway in patients with non-specific low back pain?BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2011 Jul 15; 12:162.BM
Increased center of pressure excursions are well documented in patients suffering from non-specific low back pain, whereby the altered postural sway includes both higher mean sway velocities and larger sway area. No investigation has been conducted to evaluate a relationship between pain intensity and postural sway in adults (aged 50 or less) with non-specific low back pain.
Seventy-seven patients with non-specific low back pain and a matching number of healthy controls were enrolled. Center of pressure parameters were measured by three static bipedal standing tasks of 90 sec duration with eyes closed in narrow stance on a firm surface. The perceived pain intensity was assessed by a numeric rating scale (NRS-11), an equal number of patients (n = 11) was enrolled per pain score.
Generally, our results confirmed increased postural instability in pain sufferers compared to healthy controls. In addition, regression analysis revealed a significant and linear increase in postural sway with higher pain ratings for all included COP parameters. Statistically significant changes in mean sway velocity in antero-posterior and medio-lateral direction and sway area were reached with an incremental change in NRS scores of two to three points.
COP mean velocity and sway area are closely related to self-reported pain scores. This relationship may be of clinical use as an objective monitoring tool for patients under treatment or rehabilitation.