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Movement quality in patients with non-specific low back pain

Which activities and instruments can be used to assess movement quality in this specific population?

Patients with non-specific low back (NSLBP) can be recognised by the way they perform their daily activities: also defined as movement quality (MQ). Therapists observe and describe the MQ all on their own way using individual underlying concepts, which hinders a uniform way of assessment.

A survey among Dutch primary care physiotherapists and exercise therapists showed that they felt the need for and emphasised the relevance of a measurement instrument, which allows them to assess MQ during daily activities in a standardised way. Such an instrument would be helpful in the diagnostic process, and to evaluate the effect of their interventions on the MQ of patients with NSLBP.

The identified MQ domains ‘lumbar range of motion’, ‘lumbar inter-segmental coordination’ and ‘whole-body movement’ (e.g., FMS-score, speed) were applied in 12, 14 and 22 studies, respectively. All three domains could distinguish MQ of patients with NSLBP and healthy controls during forward bending, lifting and walking. Moreover, during forward bending and walking the range of motion and whole-body movements significantly improved over time in patients with NSLBP.

Although six instruments were applicable for use in primary care settings, none of the instruments combines an assessment of forward bending, lifting, and walking. We therefore started to develop an instrument that includes the MQ domains but also fits the multidimensional character of MQ in NSLBP.

> From: Van Dijk et al., Gait Posture 76 (2020) 346-357 . All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd. Click here for the online summary.

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