Spinal Kinematics Unlikely Marker for Teen Back Pain

However, differences in sitting posture identified when adolescents with back pain are subclassified

FRIDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- Spinal kinematics may not effectively distinguish adolescents with nonspecific chronic low back pain (NSCLBP) from their pain-free counterparts unless those with NSCLBP are subclassified, according to a study in the June 15 issue of Spine.

In a preliminary cross-sectional comparative study, Roslyn G. Astfalck, P.T., of Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia, and colleagues evaluated 28 adolescents with NSCLBP and 28 matched pain-free controls. Adolescents with NSCLBP were subclassified based on O'Sullivan's classification system.

In adolescents with and without NSCLBP, the researchers found that spinal posture in usual and slump sitting positions was similar. However, differences were identified in the usual and slump sitting positions when adolescents with NSCLBP were subclassified and compared to controls. The researchers found that adolescents in flexion and extension pain subgroups were different from pain-free controls on the basis of spinal kinematics, and flexion relaxation phenomenon while sitting was seen in iliocostalis and thoracic erector spinae muscles for those with NSCLBP but not controls. Trunk muscle activation was not found to be a sensitive marker for discriminating adolescent NSCLBP subgroups.

"Future investigations could include long exposure seated tasks, control for anthropometrical factors such as lumbar spine height, and be powered sufficiently to determine interaction of effects of gender and NSCLBP subgroup on sitting posture. The preliminary findings presented here, and a comparison to our previous work in adults, raise some interesting observations but require further confirmation by a larger investigation," the authors write.

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Beth Gilbert

Beth Gilbert

Updated on June 25, 2010

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