Movement Analysis Could Help in the Assessment of Chronic Low Back Pain Patients: Results from a Preliminary Explorative Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jul 25;19(15):9033. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19159033.


Introduction: This study aimed to assess the reliability of a qualitative scoring system based on the movement analysis of the spine in different populations and after usual care rehabilitative intervention. If proven true, the results could further future research development in quantitative indexes, leading to a possible subclassification of chronic low back pain (cLBP). Methods: This was a preliminary exploratory observational study. Data of an optoelectronic spine movement analysis from a pathological population (cLBP population, 5 male, 5 female, age 58 ± 16 years) were compared to young healthy participants (5M, 5F, age 22 ± 1) and were analysed via a new qualitative score of the pattern of movement. Internal consistency was calculated. Two independent assessors (experienced and inexperienced) assessed the blinded data, and we calculated inter- and intrarater reliability. We performed an analysis for cLBP pre and post a ten session group rehabilitation program between and within groups. Results: Internal consistency was good for all movements (α = 0.84-0.88). Intra-rater reliability (Intraclass correlation coefficient-ICC) was excellent for overall scores of all movements (ICC(1,k) = 0.95-0.99), while inter-rater reliability was poor to moderate (ICC(1,k) = 0.39-0.78). We found a significant difference in the total movement scores between cLBP and healthy participants (p = 0.001). Within-group comparison (cLBP) showed no significant difference in the total movement score in pre and post-treatment. Conclusion: The perception of differences between normal and pathological movements has been confirmed through the proposed scoring system, which proved to be able to distinguish different populations. This study has many limitations, but these results show that movement analysis could be a useful tool and open the door to quantifying the identified parameters through future studies.

Keywords: chronic low back pain; movement; movement analysis; patient outcome assessment; spine.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain* / diagnosis
  • Low Back Pain* / rehabilitation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Young Adult

Grants and funding

This study was fully supported and funded by the Italian Ministry of Health, Ricerca Corrente, 2022 (RC2022).