Associations of low-back pain and pain-related cognitions with lumbar movement patterns during repetitive seated reaching

Authors Meta H. Wildenbeest, Henri Kiers, Matthijs Tuijt, Jaap H. van Dieën
Published in Gait & Posture
Publication date 2022
Research groups Innovation of Movement Care
Type Article


Background: Development of more effective interventions for nonspecific chronic low back pain (LBP), requires a robust theoretical framework regarding mechanisms underlying the persistence of LBP. Altered movement patterns, possibly driven by pain-related cognitions, are assumed to drive pain persistence, but cogent evidence is missing. Aim: To assess variability and stability of lumbar movement patterns, during repetitive seated reaching, in people with and without LBP, and to investigate whether these movement characteristics are associated with painrelated cognitions. Methods: 60 participants were recruited, matched by age and sex (30 back-healthy and 30 with LBP). Mean age was 32.1 years (SD13.4). Mean Oswestry Disability Index-score in LBP-group was 15.7 (SD12.7). Pain-related cognitions were assessed by the ‘Pain Catastrophizing Scale’ (PCS), ‘Pain Anxiety Symptoms Scale’ (PASS) and the task-specific ‘Expected Back Strain’ scale(EBS). Participants performed a seated repetitive reaching movement (45 times), at self-selected speed. Lumbar movement patterns were assessed by an optical motion capture system recording positions of cluster markers, located on the spinous processes of S1 and T8. Movement patterns were characterized by the spatial variability (meanSD) of the lumbar Euler angles: flexion-extension, lateralbending, axial-rotation, temporal variability (CyclSD) and local dynamic stability (LDE). Differences in movement patterns, between people with and without LBP and with high and low levels of pain-related cognitions, were assessed with factorial MANOVA. Results: We found no main effect of LBP on variability and stability, but there was a significant interaction effect of group and EBS. In the LBP-group, participants with high levels of EBS, showed increased MeanSDlateral-bending (p = 0.004, η2 = 0.14), indicating a large effect. MeanSDaxial-rotation approached significance (p = 0.06). Significance: In people with LBP, spatial variability was predicted by the task-specific EBS, but not by the general measures of pain-related cognitions. These results suggest that a high level of EBS is a driver of increased spatial variability, in participants with LBP.

On this publication contributed

  • Henri Kiers | Researcher | Research group Lifestyle and Health
    Henri Kiers
    • Researcher
    • Research group: Lifestyle and Health
  • Matthijs Tuijt | Researcher
    Matthijs Tuijt
    • Lecturer-researcher
    • Research group: Innovation of Movement Care

Language English
Published in Gait & Posture
Key words dynamic movement, task-specific outcome measure, local dynamic stability, variability, linear, non-linear
Page range 216-222

Innovation of Movement Care