METHODS: Postural control in low back pain patients was registered by a three dimensional motion analysis system combined with a force plate. Sixteen chronic low back pain patients having complaints for at least six months, were included based on specific clinical criteria. Every subject performed 4 postural control tests. Every test was repeated 4 times and lasted 40 seconds. The force plate registered the deviations of the centre of pressure. A Vicon-612-datastation, equipped with 7 infra-red M1 camera's, was used to track 13 markers attached to the torso and pelvis in order to estimate their angular displacement in the 3 cardinal planes.
RESULTS: All Intraclass Correlation Coefficients (ICC) calculated for the force plate variables did not exceed 0.73 (ranging between 0.11 and 0.73). As for the torso, ICC's of the mean flexion-extension and rotation angles ranged from 0.65 to 0.93 and of the mean lateral flexion angle from 0.50 to 0.67. For the pelvis the ICC of the mean flexion-extension angle varied between 0.66 and 0.83, the mean lateral flexion angle between 0.16 and 0.81 and the mean rotation angle between 0.40 and 0.62.Consecutive data suggest that the low test-retest reproducibility is probably due to a learning effect.
CONCLUSION: The test-retest reproducibility of these postural control tests in an unstable sitting position can globally be considered as rather moderate. In order to improve the test-retest reproducibility, a learning period may be advisable at the beginning of the test.
This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher; click on the above link for full text. PMID: 17519016