Postural Stability in Patients with Subacute and Chronic Low Back Pain: Changes Seen with Repeat Testing and Foam Challenge

E. Owens, T. Xia, D. Wilder, M.R. Gudavalli, and W. Meeker (USA)


Postural Sway, low back pain, chiropractic.


The purpose of the study was to develop a testing method to evaluate the upright standing stability of patients with low back pain. A force-plate system was used to measure center of pressure of patients standing on both feet, with eyes closed on both a firm platform and a 10cm thick soft foam pad. Two pairs of 30-second samples were recorded 5 minutes apart. Data were collected at baseline on 426 study participants (191 Females, 235 Males, ages ranged from 21-84, mean 52.6 (SD 13.8)). Raw data was reduced to produce a large number of outcome variables and % change variables. Most variables showed an increase in stability on the second of a pair of tests, and greatly decreased stability when posture was challenged with an unstable foam surface. Future work will use this method to detect changes in postural control that occur with chiropractic spinal manipulation.

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