Sensory Motor Learning in Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Prospective Pilot Study Using Optoelectronic Movement Analysis

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Abstract

Study Design.

The effect of sensory motor learning (SML) on chronic low back pain (CLBP) patients' movement capacity was evaluated with the optoelectronic Posturo-Locomotion-Manual (PLM) test.

Objective.

To study SML changes of an intentional dynamic behavior of daily life in a group of CLBP patients and compare the performance with an age- and sex-matched group of back-healthy individuals.

Summary of Background Data.

In a previous study, the PLM test was found reliable when used in CLBP patients. SML addresses dynamic movement capacity. There is little scientific evidence of the effectiveness of educational interventions in improving motor behavior.

Methods.

Twelve patients with treatment-resistant CLBP were selected by two orthopedic spine surgeons. Twelve back-healthy age- and sex-matched individuals were included as controls. The patients participated in weekly SML lessons during a maximum of 12 months. All study participants were investigated with the PLM test, before intervention, directly after intervention, and 10 to 12 months after completion of the intervention, and patients were compared with controls.

Results.

Before intervention significant differences in performance were found between the group of patients and the healthy control group. After the intervention, the CLBP patients had improved their performance so there were no longer any significant differences between the groups. The results were retained 12 months after intervention.

Conclusions.

The study shows that the CLBP patients had learned and retained a more efficient behavior. The results suggest that SML is an effective intervention for nonspecific CLBP patients.

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