Relationship between pain and vertebral motion in chronic low-back pain subjects
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OBJECTIVES: To investigate the relationship between intervertebral motion, intravertebral deformation and pain in chronic low-back pain patients. DESIGN: This study measured vertebral motion of the lumbar spine and associated pain in a select group of chronic low-back pain patients as they performed a standard battery of motions in all planes. BACKGROUND: Numerous studies have demonstrated that individuals with low-back pain have impaired spinal motion, yet few studies have examined the specific relationship between pain and motion parameters. Although it is accepted that the pain in mechanical low-back patients is due to specific spinal motions, no studies have related specific motions to pain measures. METHODS: Percutaneous intra-pedicle screws were placed into the right and left L4 (or L5) and S1 segments of nine chronic low-back pain patients. The external fixator frame was removed following the clinical external fixation test. The 3D locations of the pedicle screws and the level of pain were recorded as the subjects performed a battery of motions. The relationship between the pain and motion parameters was assessed using linear discriminant analysis and neural network models. RESULTS: The neural network model showed a strong relationship between observed and predicted pain (R(2)=0.997). The discriminant analysis showed a weak relationship (R(2)=0.5). CONCLUSIONS: Vertebral motion parameters are strongly predictive of pain in this select group of chronic low-back pain patients. The nature of the relationship is nonlinear and involves interactions; neural networks are able to effectively describe these relationships. RELEVANCE: Specific patterns of intervertebral motion and intravertebral deformation result in pain in chronic low-back pain patients. This substantiates the mechanical back pain aetiology.
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