Chronic low back pain (CLBP) was shown to be associated with pathophysiological changes at several levels of the sensorimotor system. Changes in sensory thresholds have been reported but complete profiles of Quantitative Sensory Testing (QST) were only rarely obtained in CLBP patients. The aim of the present study was to investigate comprehensive QST profiles in CLBP at the painful site (back) and at a site distinct from their painful region (hand) and to compare these data with similar data in healthy controls. We found increased detection thresholds in CLBP patients compared to healthy controls for all innocuous stimuli at the back and extraterritorial to the painful region at the hand. Additionally, CLBP patients showed decreased pain thresholds at both sites. Importantly, there was no interaction between the investigated site and group, i.e. thresholds were changed both at the affected body site and for the site distinct from the painful region (hand). Our results demonstrate severe, widespread changes in somatosensory sensitivity in CLBP patients. These widespread changes point to alterations at higher levels of the neuraxis or/and to a vulnerability to nociceptive plasticity in CLBP patients.
Many risk factors have been identified for chronic low back pain (cLBP), but only one study evaluated their interrelations. We aimed to investigate the frequency of cLBP risk factors and their interrelations in patients consulting their general practitioners (GPs) for cLBP.
A cross-sectional, descriptive, national survey was performed. 3000 GPs randomly selected were asked to include at least one patient consulting for cLBP. Demographic, clinical characteristics and the presence of cLBP risk factors were recorded. The frequency of each cLBP risk factor was calculated and multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) was performed to study their interrelations.
A total of 2068 GPs (68.9%) included at least 1 patient, for 4522 questionnaires analyzed. In the whole sample of patients, the 2 risk factors most commonly observed were history of recurrent LBP (72.1%) and initial limitation of activities of daily living (66.4%). For working patients, common professional risk factors were beliefs, that LBP was due to maintaining a specific posture at work (79.0%) and frequent heavy lifting at work (65.5%). On MCA, we identified 3 risk-factor dimensions (axes) for working and nonworking patients. The main dimension for working patients involved professional risk factors and among these factors, patients' job satisfaction and job recognition largely contribute to this dimension.
Our results shed in light for the first time the interrelation and the respective contribution of several previously identified cLBP risk factors. They suggest that risk factors representing a “work-related” dimension are the most important cLBP risk factors in the working population.
Evidence supports the use of exercise for chronic low back pain (CLBP); however, adherence is often poor due to ongoing pain. Auricular acupuncture is a form of pain relief involving the stimulation of points on the outer ear corresponding with specific body parts. It may be a useful adjunct to exercise in managing CLBP; however, there is only limited evidence to support its use with this patient group.
This study was designed to test the feasibility of an assessor-blind randomised controlled trial which assess the effects on clinical outcomes and exercise adherence of adding manual auricular acupuncture to a personalised and supervised exercise programme (PEP) for CLBP. No sample size calculation has been carried out as this study aims to identify CLBP referral rates within the catchment area of the study site. The researchers aim to recruit four cohorts of n = 20 participants to facilitate a power analysis for a future randomised controlled trial. A computer generated random allocation sequence will be prepared centrally and used to allocate participants by cohort to one of the following interventions: 1) six weeks of PEP plus manual auricular acupuncture; 2) six weeks of PEP alone. Both groups will also complete a further six weeks of self-paced exercise with telephone follow-up support. In addition to a baseline and exit questionnaire at the beginning and end of the study, the following outcomes will be collected at baseline, and after 7, 13 and 25 weeks: pain frequency and bothersomeness, back-specific function, objective assessment and recall of physical activity, use of analgesia, perceived self-efficacy, fear avoidance beliefs, and beliefs about the consequences of back pain. Since this is a feasibility study, significance tests will not be presented, and treatment effects will be represented by point estimates and confidence intervals. For each outcome variable, analysis of covariance will be performed on the data, conditioning on the baseline value.
The results of this study investigating the adjuvant effects of auricular acupuncture to exercise in managing CLBP will be used to inform the design of a future multi-centre randomised controlled trial.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN94142364.
Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is often accompanied by an abnormal motor performance. However, it has not been clarified yet whether these deviations also occur during motor tasks not involving the back and whether the performance is influenced by pain and pain-related cognitions. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to get insight in the contribution of both pain experience and pain-related cognitions to general motor task performance in CLBP.
13 CLBP patients and 15 healthy subjects performed a hand-function task in three conditions: sitting, lying prone (lying) and lying prone without trunk support (provoking). The last condition was assumed to provoke pain-related cognitions, which was considered successful when a patients' pain expectancy on a numeric rating scale was at least 1 point higher than actual pain experienced. Subjects' performance was expressed in reaction time and movement time. Repeated measures analysis of variance was performed to detect main effect for group and condition. Special interest was given to group*condition interaction, since significant interaction would indicate that patients and healthy subjects performed differently throughout the three conditions.
Patients were slower throughout all conditions compared to healthy subjects. With respect to the provoking condition, patients showed deteriorated performance compared to lying while healthy subjects' performance remained equal between these two conditions. Further analysis of patients' data showed that provocation was successful in 54% of the patients. Especially this group showed deteriorated performance in the provoking condition.
It can be concluded that CLBP patients in general have worse motor task performance compared to healthy subjects and that provoking pain-related cognitions further worsened performance.
chronic low back pain; movement speed; reaction time; pain-related cognitions
Due to the heterogeneous nature of chronic low back pain (CLBP), it is necessary to identify patient groups and evaluate treatments within these groups. We aimed to identify groups of patients with CLBP in the primary care setting.
We performed a k-means cluster analysis on a large data set (n = 634) of primary care patients with CLBP. Variables of sociodemographic data, pain characteristics, psychological status (i.e., depression, anxiety, somatization), and the patient resources of resilience and coping strategies were included.
We found three clusters that can be characterized as “pensioners with age-associated pain caused by degenerative diseases”, “middle-aged patients with high mental distress and poor coping resources”, and “middle-aged patients who are less pain-affected and better positioned with regard to their mental health”.
Our results supported current knowledge concerning groups of CLBP patients in primary care. In particular, we identified a group that was most disabled and distressed, and which was mainly characterized by psychological variables. As shown in our study, pain-related coping strategies and resilience were low in these patients and might be addressed in differentiating treatment strategies. Future studies should focus on the identification of this group in order to achieve effective treatment allocation.
German Clinical Trial Register DRKS00003123
Subgroups; Chronic low back pain; Primary care
While approximately 70% of chronic low back pain (CLBP) sufferers complain of sleep disturbance, current literature is based on self report measures which can be prone to bias and no objective data of sleep quality, based exclusively on CLBP are available. In accordance with the recommendations of The American Sleep Academy, when measuring sleep, both subjective and objective assessments should be considered as the two are only modestly correlated, suggesting that each modality assesses different aspects of an individual's sleep experience. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to expand previous research into sleep disturbance in CLBP by comparing objective and subjective sleep quality in participants with CLBP and healthy age and gender matched controls, to identify correlates of poor sleep and to test logistics and gather information prior to a larger study.
15 CLBP participants (mean age = 43.8 years (SD = 11.5), 53% female) and 15 healthy controls (mean age = 41.5 years (SD = 10.6), 53% female) consented. All participants completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Insomnia Severity Index, Pittsburgh Sleep Diary and the SF36v2. CLBP participants also completed the Oswestry Disability Index. Sleep patterns were assessed over three consecutive nights using actigraphy. Total sleep time (TST), sleep efficiency (SE), sleep latency onset (SL) and number of awakenings after sleep onset (WASO) were derived. Statistical analysis was conducted using unrelated t-tests and Pearson's product moment correlation co-efficients.
CLBP participants demonstrated significantly poorer overall sleep both objectively and subjectively. They demonstrated lower actigraphic SE (p = .002) and increased WASO (p = .027) but no significant differences were found in TST (p = .43) or SL (p = .97). Subjectively, they reported increased insomnia (p =< .001), lower SE (p =< .001) and increased SL (p =< .001) but no difference between TST (p = .827) and WASO (p = .055). Statistically significant associations were found between low back pain (p = .021, r = -.589), physical health (p = .003, r = -.713), disability levels (p = .025, r = .576), and subjective sleep quality in the CLBP participants but not with actigraphy.
CLBP participants demonstrated poorer overall sleep, increased insomnia symptoms and less efficient sleep. Further investigation using a larger sample size and a longer period of sleep monitoring is ongoing.
Our previous work showed higher tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α levels in patients with chronic low back pain (cLBP) compared to healthy controls. However, patients with depression as a comorbidity did not have higher TNF-α levels in comparison to patients without depression. In this study we investigated the influence of depression on therapy outcomes such as TNF-α serum levels, pain intensity and back function in patients with cLBP. Our hypothesis was that patients with both cLBP and depression benefit no less than patients with cLBP alone from the multidisciplinary pain therapy.
A total of 58 patients with cLBP alone or with both cLBP and depression were age- and sex-matched with 29 healthy controls. Serum concentrations of TNF-α were assayed at the beginning of the study (T0) and 10 days (T1), 21 days (T2), and 180 days (T3) later. The clinical outcomes such as pain intensity, as well as back function, sleep, exercise, alcohol and nicotine consumption were documented. In the first three weeks, all patients underwent multidisciplinary therapy based upon biological, psychological, physical and psychosocial components.
Over the whole course there were no differences in TNF-α level between cLBP patients with and without depression. At T0, both cLBP patients with (cLBP+DE) and without (cLBP) depression showed significantly higher TNF-α serum levels (P = 0.002 for cLBP+DE, P = 0.004 for cLBP) than healthy controls (HC) that normalized after 10 days of therapy and remained similar to healthy controls. During the follow-up, the depression scales were normalised and pain intensity was significantly reduced. Both evidences processed parallel to the reduction of TNF-α levels, which correlates neither with depression score nor with pain intensity at any time point.
Depression as a comorbidity to chronic low back pain did not influence the serum TNF-α level in the course of six months, but seemed to affect the success of therapy. cLBP patients with comorbidity of depression benefit from multidisciplinary pain therapy not only to the same extent but also to a greater degree than cLBP patients without depression.
A fundamental characteristic of neural circuits is the capacity for plasticity in response to experience. Neural plasticity is associated with the development of chronic pain disorders. In this study, we investigated 1) brain resting state functional connectivity (FC) differences between patients with chronic low back pain (cLBP) and matched healthy controls (HC); 2) FC differences within the cLBP patients as they experienced different levels of endogenous low back pain evoked by exercise maneuvers, and 3) morphometric differences between cLBP patients and matched HC. We found the dynamic character of FC in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) in cLBP patients, i.e., S1 FC decreased when the patients experienced low intensity LBP as compared with matched healthy controls, and FC at S1 increased when cLBP patients experienced high intensity LBP as compared with the low intensity condition. In addition, we also found increased cortical thickness in the bilateral S1 somatotopically associated with the lower back in cLBP patients as compared to healthy controls. Our results provide evidence of structural plasticity co-localized with areas exhibiting FC changes in S1 in cLBP patients.
Chronic low back pain; fMRI; Functional connectivity; Cortical thickness; Primary somatosensory cortex
Objective: To compare the cost of illness of three musculoskeletal conditions in relation to general wellbeing.
Methods: Patients with fibromyalgia, chronic low back pain (CLBP), and ankylosing spondylitis who were referred to a specialist and participated in three randomised trials completed a cost diary for the duration of the study, comprising direct medical and non-medical resource utilisation and inability to perform paid and unpaid work. Patients rated perceived wellbeing (0–100) at baseline. Univariate differences in costs between the groups were estimated by bootstrapping. Regression analyses assessed which variables, in addition to the condition, contributed to costs and wellbeing.
Results: 70 patients with fibromyalgia, 110 with chronic low back pain, and 111 with ankylosing spondylitis provided data for the cost analyses. Average annual disease related total societal costs per patient were €7813 for fibromyalgia, €8533 for CLBP, and €3205 for ankylosing spondylitis. Total costs were higher for fibromyalgia and CLBP than for ankylosing spondylitis, mainly because of cost of formal and informal care, aids and adaptations, and work days lost. Wellbeing was lower in fibromyalgia (mean, 48) and low back pain (mean, 42) than in ankylosing spondylitis (mean, 67). No variables other than diagnostic group contributed to differences in costs or wellbeing.
Conclusions: In patients under the care of a specialist, there were marked differences in costs and wellbeing between those with fibromyalgia or CLBP and those with ankylosing spondylitis. In particular, direct non-medical costs and productivity costs were higher in fibromyalgia and CLBP.
Coordinated, interdisciplinary services, supported by self-management underpin effective management for chronic low back pain (CLBP). However, a combination of system, provider and consumer-based barriers exist which limit the implementation of such models into practice, particularly in rural areas where unique access issues exist. In order to improve health service delivery for consumers with CLBP, policymakers and service providers require a more in depth understanding of these issues. The objective of this qualitative study was to explore barriers experienced by consumers in rural settings in Western Australia (WA) to accessing information and services and implementing effective self-management behaviours for CLBP.
Fourteen consumers with a history of CLBP from three rural sites in WA participated. Maximum variation sampling was employed to ensure a range of experiences were captured. An interviewer, blinded to quantitative pain history data, conducted semi-structured telephone interviews using a standardised schedule to explore individuals’ access to information and services for CLBP, and self-management behaviours. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Inductive analysis techniques were used to derive and refine key themes.
Five key themes were identified that affected individuals’ experiences of managing CLBP in a rural setting, including: 1) poor access to information and services in rural settings; 2) inadequate knowledge and skills among local practitioners; 3) feelings of isolation and frustration; 4) psychological burden associated with CLBP; and 5) competing lifestyle demands hindering effective self-management for CLBP.
Consumers in rural WA experienced difficulties in knowing where to access relevant information for CLBP and expressed frustration with the lack of service delivery options to access interdisciplinary and specialist services for CLBP. Competing lifestyle demands such as work and family commitments were cited as key barriers to adopting regular self-management practices. Consumer expectations for improved health service coordination and a workforce skilled in pain management are relevant to future service planning, particularly in the contexts of workforce capacity, community health services, and enablers to effective service delivery in primary care.
Back pain; Qualitative; Education; Policy; Health services; Self-management; Rural
Chronic low back pain (CLBP) experienced in middle-age may have important implications for vertebral bone health, although this issue has not been investigated as a primary aim previously. This study investigated the associations between CLBP and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA)-derived vertebral bone mineral measures acquired from postero-anterior and lateral-projections, among community-dwelling, middle-aged adults.
Twenty-nine adults with CLBP (11 male, 18 female) and 42 adults with no history of LBP in the preceding year (17 male, 25 female) were evaluated. Self-reported demographic and clinical data were collected via questionnaires. Areal bone mineral density (aBMD) was measured in the lumbar spine by DXA. Apparent volumetric (ap.v) BMD in the lumbar spine was also calculated. Multiple linear regression models were used to examine associations between study group (CLBP and control) and vertebral DXA variables by gender, adjusting for height, mass and age.
There was no difference between groups by gender in anthropometrics or clinical characteristics. In the CLBP group, the mean (SD) duration of CLBP was 13.3 (10.4) years in males and 11.6 (9.9) years in females, with Oswestry Disability Index scores of 16.2 (8.7)% and 15.4 (9.1)%, respectively. Males with CLBP had significantly lower adjusted lateral-projection aBMD and lateral-projection ap.vBMD than controls at L3 with mean differences (standard error) of 0.09 (0.04) g/cm2 (p = 0.03) and 0.02 (0.01) g/cm3 (p = 0.04). These multivariate models accounted for 55% and 53% of the variance in lateral-projection L3 aBMD and lateral-projection L3 ap.vBMD.
CLBP in males is associated with some lumbar vertebral BMD measures, raising important questions about the mechanism and potential clinical impact of this association.
Introduction: Pain related fear and pain intensity have been identified as factors negatively influencing Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) performances in patients with CLBP. Conflicting results have been reported in the literature. The objective of this study was to analyze the relationships between pain intensity and pain-related fear on the one hand, and performances during an FCE on the other hand in two samples of patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP). Methods: Two cross sectional observation studies were performed with two samples of patients with CLBP (study 1: n = 79; study 2: n = 58). Pain related fears were operationally defined as the score on the Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia in study 1, and the Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire (FABQ) in study 2. Pain intensity was measured with a Numeric Rating Scale in both studies. Avoidance behavior observed during FCE was in both studies operationally defined as the unwillingness to engage in high intensity performance levels of three different functional activities: high intensity lifting, prolonged standing in a forward bend position, and fast repetitive bending at the waist. Results: A total of 25 correlations between pain and pain related fear, and performance variables were calculated, out of which 7 were significant (p < 0.05). The strength of these significant correlations ranged from r = −0.23 to r = −0.50. Multivariate linear regression analyses revealed non-significant relationships in most instances. Pain and pain related fear contributed little if any to these models. Conclusions: The relation between pain and pain related fear and FCE performance is weak or non-existent in patients with CLBP.
Pain cognitions; Disability Assessment; Rehabilitation; Lifting; Tampa scale for Kinesiophobia; Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire
In two of the earlier Randomized Control Trials on yoga for chronic lower back pain (CLBP), 12 to 16 weeks of intervention were found effective in reducing pain and disability.
To study the efficacy of a residential short term intensive yoga program on quality of life in CLBP.
Materials and Methods:
About 80 patients with CLBP (females 37) registered for a week long treatment at SVYASA Holistic Health Centre in Bengaluru, India. They were randomized into two groups (40 each). The yoga group practiced a specific module for CLBP comprising of asanas (physical postures), pranayama (breathing practices), meditation and lectures on yoga philosophy. The control group practiced physical therapy exercises for back pain.
Perceived stress scale (PSS) was used to measure baseline stress levels. Outcome measures were WHOQOL Bref for quality of life and straight leg raising test (SLR) using a Goniometer.
There were significant negative correlations (Pearson’s, P<0.005, r>0.30) between baseline PSS with all four domains and the total score of WHOQOLBref. All the four domains’ WHOQOLBref improved in the yoga group (repeated measures ANOVA P=0.001) with significant group*time interaction (P<0.05) and differences between groups (P<0.01). SLR increased in both groups (P=0.001) with higher increase in yoga (31.1 % right, 28.4 % left) than control (18.7% right, 21.5 % left) group with significant group*time interaction (SLR right leg P=0.044).
In CLBP, a negative correlation exists between stress and quality of life. Yoga increases quality of life and spinal flexibility better than physical therapy exercises.
Chronic low back pain; flexibility; quality of life; stress; yoga
A case-control study of older adults with and without chronic low back pain (CLBP).
Compare and describe the radiographic severity of degenerative disc and facet disease in the lumbosacral spine of community-dwelling older adults with and without CLBP and to examine the relationship between spinal pathology and pain.
Summary of Background Data
Degenerative spinal pathology is often implicated as the primary reason for CLBP in older adults. Despite evidence that spinal pathology may be ubiquitous in older adults regardless of pain status, radiography continues to be heavily used in the diagnostic process.
Participants in this case-control study included 162 older adults (≥65) with CLBP and an age and gender matched pain-free group of 158 people. CLBP was characterized as pain of at least moderate intensity occurring daily or almost everyday for at least 3 months. Radiographic severity of disc and facet disease was graded using a reliable and valid system.
Results demonstrated that the presence of degenerative disc and facet pathology in older adults is ubiquitous, regardless of clinical status, with greater than 90% demonstrating some level of degeneration. Higher radiographic severity scores were associated with the presence of CLBP. In fact, presence of severe disc pathology was associated with 2-fold greater odds of having CLBP. But, radiographic severity of disc and facet disease was not associated with pain severity among those with CLBP.
From a research perspective, radiographic evaluation of spinal pathology provides additional information about older adults with CLBP compared to pain-free individuals, but its clinical utility for diagnostic purposes is still in question.
chronic low back pain; aging; degenerative disc disease; degenerative facet disease
Our limited understanding of underlying conditions for back pain is reflected in the common use of pain-duration-based groupings. The aim of this paper was to investigate typical clinical tests used in examining low back pain (LBP) patients in order to discover how tests distinguish between chronic low back pain patients (CLBP) and subacute low back pain patients (SLBP) and if they distinguish these groups from those with no “patient status.” CLBP patients in this study were from a university hospital and SLBP patients were from five occupational health care centers. Control subjects were recruited from a university. Determination of the best predictors between CLBP and SLBP patients and between CLBP and SLBP patients and non-patients was made by a forward stepwise logistic model. A total of 157 subjects were included in the study. Of all the clinical tests, several tests in each category had high odds ratio, differentiating CLBP patients from controls. Only a few tests differentiated between CLBP and SLBP patients. The only clinical differences between SLBP patients and controls were in the mobility test and in one test of muscle tightness. The best predictor for CLBP was the lumbar spine flexion test. SLBP patients seemed to differ from the control group in lumbar flexion, in a specific anterior-posterior mobility test, and in tightness of hip flexor muscles. CLBP patients differed from SLBP patients in functional tests, in the presence of sensation in the feet, and in different pain provocation tests. Whether these tests are sufficiently sensitive to classify a more specific diagnostic or clinical subgroup remains untested, and further studies with clinical tests to differentiate among pathological conditions are necessary.
Clinical Tests; Low Back Pain; Odds Ratios; Orthopedic Manipulative Therapy; Sensitivity; Specificity
Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is a persistent disabling condition with rising significant healthcare, social and economic costs. Current research supports the use of exercise-based treatment approaches that encourage people with CLBP to assume a physically active role in their recovery. While international clinical guidelines and systematic reviews for CLBP support supervised group exercise as an attractive first-line option for treating large numbers of CLBP patients at low cost, barriers to their delivery include space and time restrictions in healthcare settings and poor patient attendance. The European Clinical Guidelines have identified the need for research in the use of brief/minimal contact self-activation interventions that encourage participation in physical activity for CLBP. Walking may be an ideally suited form of individualized exercise prescription as it is easy to do, requires no special skills or facilities, and is achievable by virtually all ages with little risk of injury, but its effectiveness for LBP is unproven.
Methods and design
This study will be an assessor-blinded randomized controlled trial that will investigate the difference in clinical effectiveness and costs of an individualized walking programme and a supervised general exercise programme compared to usual physiotherapy, which will act as the control group, in people with chronic low back pain. A sample of 246 patients will be recruited in Dublin, Ireland through acute general hospital outpatient physiotherapy departments that provide treatment for people with CLBP. Patients will be randomly allocated to one of the three groups in a concealed manner. The main outcomes will be functional disability, pain, quality of life, fear avoidance, back beliefs, physical activity, satisfaction and costs, which will be evaluated at baseline, and 3, 6 and 12 months [follow-up by pre-paid postage]. Qualitative telephone interviews and focus groups will be embedded in the research design to obtain feedback about participants' experiences of the interventions and trial participation, and to inform interpretation of the quantitative data. Planned analysis will be by intention to treat (quantitative data) and thematic analysis (qualitative data)
The trial will evaluate the effectiveness of a walking programme and a supervised general exercise programme compared to usual physiotherapy in people with CLBP.
Current controlled trial ISRCTN17592092
The purpose of the present study was to examine the differential effect of core stability exercise training and conventional physiotherapy regime on altered postural control parameters in patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP). As heterogeneity in CLBP population moderates the effect of intervention on outcomes, in this study, interventions approaches were used based on sub-groups of CLBP.
This was an allocation concealed, blinded, sequential and pragmatic control trial. Three groups of participants were investigated during postural perturbations: 1) CLBP patients with movement impairment (n = 15, MI group) randomized to conventional physiotherapy regime 2) fifteen CLBP patients with control impairment randomized to core stability group (CI group) and 3) fifteen healthy controls (HC).
The MI group did not show any significant changes in postural control parameters after the intervention period however they improved significantly in disability scores and fear avoidance belief questionnaire work score (P < 0.05). The CI group showed significant improvements in Fx, Fz, and My variables (p < 0.013, p < 0.006, and p < 0.002 respectively with larger effect sizes: Hedges's g > 0.8) after 8 weeks of core stability exercises for the adjusted p values. Postural control parameters of HC group were analyzed independently with pre and post postural control parameters of CI and MI group. This revealed the significant improvements in postural control parameters in CI group compared to MI group indicating the specific adaptation to the core stability exercises in CI group. Though the disability scores were reduced significantly in CI and MI groups (p < 0.001), the post intervention scores between groups were not found significant (p < 0.288). Twenty percentage absolute risk reduction in flare-up rates during intervention was found in CI group (95% CI: 0.69-0.98).
In this study core stability exercise group demonstrated significant improvements after intervention in ground reaction forces (Fz, Mz; g > 0.8) indicating changes in load transfer patterns during perturbation similar to HC group.
There is continuing uncertainty in back pain research as to which treatment is best suited to patients with non-specific chronic low back pain (CLBP). In this study, Gestalt therapy and the shock trauma method Somatic Experiencing® (SE) were used as interventions in parallel with the usual cross-disciplinary approach. The aim was to investigate how these treatments influence a patient’s capacity to cope with CLBP when it is coupled with depression.
In this qualitative explorative study, a phenomenological–hermeneutic framework was adopted. Patients were recruited on the basis of following criteria: A moderate depression score of 23–30 according to the Beck Depression Inventory Scale and a pain score of 7–10 (Box scale from 0–10) and attendance at five- six psychotherapeutic sessions. Six patients participated in the study. The data was comprised of written field notes from each session, which were subsequently analysed and interpreted at three levels: naive reading, structural analysis and critical interpretation and discussion.
Three areas of focus emerged: the significance of previous experiences, restrictions in everyday life and restoration of inner resources during the therapy period. The study revealed a diversity of psychological stressors that related to loss and sorrow, being let down, violations, traumatic events and reduced functioning, which led to displays of distress, powerlessness, reduced self-worth, anxiety and discomfort.
Overall, the sum of the stressors together with pain and depression were shown to trigger stress symptoms. Stress was down-played in the psychotherapeutic treatment and inner resources were re-established, which manifested as increased relaxation, presence, self-worth, sense of responsibility and happiness. This, in turn, assisted the patients to better manage their CLBP.
CLBP is a stress factor in itself but when coupled with depression, they can be regarded as two symptom complexes that mutually affect each other in negative ways. When pain, stress and depression become overwhelming and there are few internal resources available, stress seems to become prominent. In this study, Gestalt therapy and the SE-method may have helped to lower the six patients’ level of stress and restore their own internal resources, thereby increasing their capacity to cope with their CLBP.
Psychotherapy; Chronic low back pain; Chronic pain; Depression; Stress; Qualitative method; Gestalt therapy; Somatic Experiencing® method
[Purpose] This study aimed to examine the effects of sensorimotor training on the
anticipatory postural adjustment (APA) of chronic low back pain (CLBP) patients. [Subjects
and Methods] Fourteen CLBP patients were randomly assigned to Group II (ordinary physical
therapy, n=7) and Group III (sensorimotor training, n=7). In addition, a normal group
(Group I) consisting of seven subjects was chosen as the control group. The two CLBP
groups received their own treatment five times per week, for four weeks, for 40 minutes
each time. Changes in pain and functional performance evaluation were examined by the
visual analogue scale (VAS) and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). In order to look at
the change in APA, muscle onset time was examined using electromyography (EMG). [Results]
Group III showed significant changes in both VAS and ODI. According to comparison of the
results for muscle onset time, there were significant decreases in Group III's transversus
abdominis muscle (TrA) and external oblique muscle (EO) in the standing and sitting
positions. There were significant differences between Group II and III in terms of the TrA
in the sitting position. [Conclusion] Sensorimotor training makes patients capable of
learning how to adjust muscles, thereby alleviating pain and improving muscle
Anticipatory postural adjustments; Chronic low back pain; Sensorimotor training
Chronic localized pain syndromes, especially chronic low back pain (CLBP), are common reasons for consultation in general practice. In some cases chronic localized pain syndromes can appear in combination with chronic widespread pain (CWP). Numerous studies have shown a strong association between CWP and several physical and psychological factors. These studies are population-based cross-sectional and do not allow for assessing chronology. There are very few prospective studies that explore the predictors for the onset of CWP, where the main focus is identifying risk factors for the CWP incidence. Until now there have been no studies focusing on preventive factors keeping patients from developing CWP.
Our aim is to perform a cross sectional study on the epidemiology of CLBP and CWP in general practice and to look for distinctive features regarding resources like resilience, self-efficacy and coping strategies. A subsequent cohort study is designed to identify the risk and protective factors of pain generalization (development of CWP) in primary care for CLBP patients.
Fifty-nine general practitioners recruit consecutively, during a 5 month period, all patients who are consulting their family doctor because of chronic low back pain (where the pain is lasted for 3 months). Patients are asked to fill out a questionnaire on pain anamnesis, pain-perception, co-morbidities, therapy course, medication, socio demographic data and psychosomatic symptoms. We assess resilience, coping resources, stress management and self-efficacy as potential protective factors for pain generalization. Furthermore, we raise risk factors for pain generalization like anxiety, depression, trauma and critical life events. During a twelve months follow up period a cohort of CLBP patients without CWP will be screened on a regular basis (3 monthly) for pain generalization (outcome: incident CWP).
This cohort study will be the largest study which prospectively analyzes predictors for transition from CLBP to CWP in primary care setting. In contrast to the typically researched risk factors, which increase the probability of pain generalization, this study also focus intensively on protective factors, which decrease the probability of pain generalization.
German Clinical Trial Register DRKS00003123
Chronic pain; Widespread pain; Low back pain; Primary care; Resources; Resilience; Coping; Adaptation; Self efficacy
obesity is nowadays a pandemic condition. Obese subjects are commonly characterized by musculoskeletal disorders and particularly by non-specific chronic low back pain (cLBP). However, the relationship between obesity and cLBP remains to date unsupported by an objective measurement of the mechanical behaviour of the spine and its morphology in obese subjects. Such analysis may provide a deeper understanding of the relationships between function and the onset of clinical symptoms.
to objectively assess the posture and function of the spine during standing, flexion and lateral bending in obese subjects with and without cLBP and to investigate the role of obesity in cLBP.
thirteen obese subjects, thirteen obese subjects with cLBP, and eleven healthy subjects were enrolled in this study.
we evaluated the outcome in terms of angles at the initial standing position (START) and at maximum forward flexion (MAX). The range of motion (ROM) between START and MAX was also computed.
we studied forward flexion and lateral bending of the spine using an optoelectronic system and passive retroreflective markers applied on the trunk. A biomechanical model was developed in order to analyse kinematics and define angles of clinical interest.
obesity was characterized by a generally reduced ROM of the spine, due to a reduced mobility at both pelvic and thoracic level; a static postural adaptation with an increased anterior pelvic tilt. Obesity with cLBP is associated with an increased lumbar lordosis.
In lateral bending, obesity with cLBP is associated with a reduced ROM of the lumbar and thoracic spine, whereas obesity on its own appears to affect only the thoracic curve.
obese individuals with cLBP showed higher degree of spinal impairment when compared to those without cLBP. The observed obesity-related thoracic stiffness may characterize this sub-group of patients, even if prospective studies should be carried out to verify this hypothesis.
Patients with chronic low back pain (cLBP) have high rates of comorbid psychiatric disorders, mainly depression. Recent evidence suggests that depressive symptoms and pain, as interacting factors, have an effect on the circulating levels of inflammatory markers relevant to coronary artery disease. Our previous work showed a higher serum level of an inflammatory marker tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) in patients with cLBP, which did not correlate with intensity of low back pain alone. In the present study we investigated the cross-sectional associations of depressive symptoms, low back pain and their interaction with circulating levels of TNFα.
Each group of 29 patients with cLBP alone or with both cLBP and depression was age-matched and sex-matched with 29 healthy controls. All subjects underwent a blood draw for the assessment of serum TNFα and completed a standardised questionnaire regarding medication, depression scores according to the German version of Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), pain intensity from a visual analogue scale, and back function using the Roland and Morris questionnaire. The correlations between TNFα level and these clinical parameters were analysed.
There were no differences in TNFα level between cLBP patients with and without depression. Both cLBP patients with (median = 2.51 pg/ml, P = 0.002) and without (median = 2.58 pg/ml, P = 0.004) depression showed significantly higher TNFα serum levels than healthy controls (median = 0 pg/ml). The pain intensity reported by both patient groups was similar, while the patients with depression had higher CES-D scores (P < 0.001) and worse back function (P < 0.001). The variance analysis showed that the interaction between TNFα level and pain intensity, CES-D scores, sex, body mass index and medication was statistically significant.
Depression as a comorbidity to cLBP did not influence the serum TNFα level. It seems that TNFα somehow acts as a mediator in both cLBP and depression, involving similar mechanisms that will be interesting to follow in further studies.
Psychological factors have been found to be of major importance for the transition from acute to chronic low back pain (CLBP). Although some evidence has been provided that depressive symptoms occur secondarily to CLBP, psychological treatment modules that specifically address depressive symptoms are not yet included in German inpatient rehabilitation programs. In this study, a standard rehabilitation program for patients with CLBP and depressive symptoms was compared to a standard rehabilitation, into which a cognitive-behavioral management training of depressive symptoms was integrated. Moreover, treatment effects of this multidisciplinary standard rehabilitation program delivered to patients with either no or only mild depressive symptoms were investigated. As a further aim of the present study, gender effects on rehabilitation outcomes were examined. Short-, mid-, and long-term effects on individual global improvement as well as pain-related, psychological, and work-related measures were evaluated among N = 199 consecutively admitted patients with CLBP, aged from 24 to 62 years. The standard rehabilitation program had no persisting effects on psychological outcomes among patients with no and mild depressive symptoms. Patients with moderate and severe depressive symptoms in the standard rehabilitation program did not benefit with clinical importance at the 6- and 12-month follow-up assessments, but did show clinically significant improvements in psychological outcome measures at the 6-month follow-up assessment when the supplemental psychological component was applied. Additionally, days of sick leave decreased in the intervention group in the mid-term when compared to the baseline. Females benefited more in mental health than males. However, due to regression effects at the 12-month follow-up assessment, booster sessions are highly recommended. The results presented here support the notion that a more adequately tailored rehabilitation program seems to improve rehabilitation success and prevent further development of CLBP among this high-risk subpopulation.
Chronic low back pain; Depressive symptoms; Gender; Multidisciplinary inpatient orthopedic rehabilitation; Cognitive-behavioral management of depressive symptoms
The causes of chronic low back pain (CLBP) remain obscure and effective treatment of symptoms remains elusive. A mechanism of relieving chronic pain based on the consequences of conflicting unpleasant sensory inputs to the central nervous system has been hypothesised. As a result a device was generated to deliver sensory discrimination training (FairMed), and this randomised controlled trial compared therapeutic effects with a comparable treatment modality, TENS.
60 patients with CLBP were recruited from physiotherapy referrals to a single-blinded, randomised controlled, non-inferiority trial. They were randomised to receive either FairMed or TENS and asked to use the allocated device for 30 minutes, twice a day, for 3 weeks. The primary outcome variable measured at 0 and 3 weeks was pain intensity measured using a visual analogue scale averaged over 7 days. Secondary outcome measures were Oswestry Disability Index, 3 timed physical tests, 4 questionnaires assessing different aspects of emotional coping and a global measure of patient rating of change. Data were analysed for the difference in change of scores between groups using one-way ANOVA.
Baseline characteristics of the two groups were comparable. The primary outcome, change in pain intensity (VAS) at 3 weeks showed a mean difference between groups of -0.1, (non significant p = 0.82). The mean difference in change in ODI scores was 0.4; (non significant p = 0.85). Differences in change of physical functioning showed that no significant difference in change of scores for any of these test (p = 0.58 – 0.90). Changes in scores of aspects of emotional coping also demonstrated no significant difference in change scores between the groups (p = 0.14 – 0.94).
FairMed was not inferior to TENS treatment.
The findings have implications for further research on current chronic pain theories and treatments. Further work to explore these mechanisms is important to expand our understanding of chronic pain and the role of neuro-modulation.
UKCRN Study ID 3321
A case series of consecutive patients with chronic low back pain.
Background and purpose
In patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP), the importance of impairments at the hip joints is unclear. However, it has been postulated that impairments at the hip joints may contribute to CLBP. The purpose of this case series was to investigate the short-term outcomes in patients with CLBP managed with impairment-based manual therapy and exercise directed at the hip joints.
Eight consecutive patients (mean age: 43·9 years) with a primary report of CLBP (>6 months) without radiculopathy were treated with a standardized approach of manual physical therapy and exercise directed at bilateral hip impairments for a total of three sessions over approximately 1 week. At initial examination, all patients completed a numeric rating pain scale (NPRS), Oswestry disability index (ODI), fear-avoidance beliefs questionnaire (FABQ), and patient-specific functional scale (PSFS). At the second and third treatment sessions, each patient completed all outcome measures as well as the Global Rating of Change (GROC).
Five of the eight (62·5%) patients reported ‘moderately better’ or higher (>+4) on the GROC at the third session, indicating a moderate improvement in self-reported symptoms. These five individuals also experienced a 24·4% reduction in ODI scores.
This case series suggests that an impairment-based approach directed at the hip joints may lead to improvements in pain, function, and disability in patients with CLBP. A neurophysiologic mechanism may be a plausible explanation regarding the clinical outcomes of this study. A larger, well-controlled trial is needed to determine the potential effectiveness of this approach with patients with CLBP.
Chronic low back pain; Hip; Impairment; Lumbar; Manipulation; Manual therapy