Neuromuscular strategies for lumbopelvic control during frontal and sagittal plane movement challenges differ between people with and without low back pain

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Observation-based assessments of movement are a standard component in clinical assessment of patients with non-specific low back pain. While aberrant motion patterns can be detected visually, clinicians are unable to assess underlying neuromuscular strategies during these tests. The purpose of this study was to compare coordination of the trunk and hip muscles during 2 commonly used assessments for lumbopelvic control in people with low back pain (LBP) and matched control subjects. Electromyography was recorded from hip and trunk muscles of 34 participants (17 with LBP) during performance of the Active Hip Abduction (AHAbd) and Active Straight Leg Raise (ASLR) tests. Relative muscle timing was calculated using cross-correlation. Participants with LBP demonstrated a variable strategy, while control subjects used a consistent proximal to distal activation strategy during both frontal and sagittal plane movements. Findings from this study provide insight into underlying neuromuscular control during commonly used assessment tests for patients with LBP that may help to guide targeted intervention approaches. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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