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Optoelectronic movement analysis to measure motor performance in patients with chronic low back pain: test of reliability.

Journal article
Authors Christina Schön-Ohlsson
Jan Willén
Bo Johnels
Published in Journal of rehabilitation medicine : official journal of the UEMS European Board of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Volume 38
Issue 6
Pages 360-7
ISSN 1650-1977
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Institute of Clinical Sciences
Pages 360-7
Language en
Keywords Adult, Aged, Chronic Disease, Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted, Female, Humans, Locomotion, physiology, Low Back Pain, diagnosis, physiopathology, Male, Middle Aged, Motor Skills, physiology, Movement, Posture, physiology, Psychomotor Performance, physiology, Reproducibility of Results
Subject categories Orthopaedics, Physiotherapy


OBJECTIVE: To assess test-retest reliability of the Posturo-Locomotion-Manual(PLM) test in patients with chronic low back pain. DESIGN: A controlled study in which the PLM test was used repeatedly on patients with chronic low back pain and persons without back pain. SUBJECTS: Twelve patients with treatment-resistant chronic low back pain, selected by 2 orthopaedic spine surgeons and 12 age- and sex-matched individuals with no back pain history. METHODS: An optoelectronic camera and a computer were used to quantify the performance during a simple test in which subjects picked up an object from the floor and transported it up to a shelf, thereby forcing the body through postural, locomotor and manual movements. The outcome measures were: movement time, simultaneity index and phase times for postural, locomotion and arm movement phases. Statistical analyses regarding intra-individual agreement between the measurements (reliability analysis) and changes over time were carried out. RESULTS: The effect of test movement habituation was minimized when the lowest mean value of any of 3 consecutive measures (tri-average) was used. In the control group, variation between test occasions was small. In the group of patients with chronic low back pain there was a random measurement error before intervention (sensory motor learning). After intervention the PLM test had the same precision in both groups. CONCLUSION: When the tri-average measure is used, the influence of test movement habituation is minimized and the optoelectronic PLM test is found to be reliable and responsive. It proved to be a useful tool to quantify dynamic performance in freely moving patients with chronic low back pain.

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