Postural control during prolonged standing in persons with chronic low back pain

Gait Posture. 2009 Apr;29(3):421-7. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2008.10.064. Epub 2008 Dec 11.


Prolonged standing has been associated with the onset of low back pain symptoms in working populations. So far, it is unknown how individuals with chronic low back pain (CLBP) behave during prolonged unconstrained standing (PS). The aim of the present study was to analyze the control of posture by subjects with CLBP during PS in comparison to matched healthy adults. The center of pressure (COP) position of 12 CLBP subjects and 12 matched healthy controls was recorded in prolonged standing (30min) and quiet stance tasks (60s) on a force plate. The number and amplitude of COP patterns, the root mean square (RMS), speed, and frequency of COP sway were analyzed. Statistical analyses showed that CLBP subjects produced less postural changes in the antero-posterior direction with decreased postural sway during the prolonged standing task in comparison to the healthy group. Only CLBP subjects were influenced by the prolonged standing task, as demonstrated by their increased COP RMS, COP speed and COP frequency in the quiet standing trial after the prolonged standing task in comparison to the pre-PS trial. The present study provides additional evidence that individuals with CLBP might have altered sensory-motor function. Their inability to generate responses similar to those of healthy subjects during prolonged standing may contribute to CLBP persistence or an increase risk of recurrent back pain episodes. Moreover, quantification of postural changes during prolonged standing could be useful to identify CLBP subjects prone to postural control deficits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology*
  • Posture / physiology*