Åsell M, Sjölander P, Kershbaumer H, Djupsjöbacka M. Are lumbar repositioning errors larger among patients with chronic low back pain compared with asymptomatic subjects? Objective: To resolve the debate over whether lumbar repositioning acuity is reduced in patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP) by using a study design and methodology to minimize the effects of potential confounders. Design: A single-blinded, controlled, multigroup comparative study. Setting: Vocational rehabilitation center. Participants: Ninety-two patients with CLBP, divided into subgroups based on severity of symptoms and diagnostic characteristics. An age- and sex-matched group (n=31) of healthy subjects were the control. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: We measured repositioning errors (variable, constant) at 3 positions of the lumbar spine. Subjects were guided to a sitting target posture and asked to perform lumbar flexion before reproducing the target posture. Self-assessed pain, self-efficacy, and functional ability were addressed through questionnaires. Results: There were no differences in repositioning errors between the patients with CLBP or the subgroups of patients and the control group. We found only weak correlations between the repositioning errors and the self-reported data on functional disability, self-efficacy, and pain. Conclusions: We suggest that sensorimotor dysfunctions in CLBP should be evaluated with methods other than repositioning tests in order to generate data relevant to the development of rational diagnostic methods and rehabilitation programs. © 2006 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
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