OBJECTIVE:The purpose of this study was to systematically review the evidence on the correlation between lumbar proprioception and clinical low back pain (LBP) characteristics.
METHODS: The literature was investigated through a systematic review. Six electronic databases (EMBASE, Scopus, Elsevier, PubMed, ProQuest, and Google Scholar) and reference lists of the relevant articles were searched from inception until December 2017. Studies that investigated the correlation between lumbar proprioception and pain and disability in patients with chronic nonspecific LBP were included in the analytical review.
RESULTS: Five studies (204 patients) were included. Lumbar proprioception was measured via active or passive joint repositioning error or threshold to detection of passive motion. Four of the studies were rated as medium and only 1 as high quality. Four studies had investigated the correlation between proprioception and functional disability scores, all of which found them to be weakly correlated. Although no significant correlation was reported between pain and joint repositioning error (measured in all included studies), one had reported a fair to moderate correlation between pain and threshold to detection of passive motion.
CONCLUSION: Current literature shows that although LBP pain-related disability is poorly to moderately correlated with proprioceptive functioning, the relationship between pain intensity and proprioception seems to be more complex.
Author keywords: Low Back Pain, Proprioception, Review
Author affiliations: Department of Physical Therapy, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
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