Tactile acuity, body schema and motor control impairment in adults with chronic low back pain – A systematic review and comparison of chronic low back pain and pain free subjects

Authors: Glithro, S., clark, C., Osborne,, N., Newell,, D. and Docherty, S.

Start date: 1 February 2017

Journal: Conference Proceedings

Title Tactile acuity, body schema and motor control impairment in adults with chronic low back pain – A systematic review and comparison of chronic low back pain and pain free subjects Introduction Chronic low back pain (CLBP) has a prevalence rate of up to 25% in adults and has been shown to be associated with impaired motor function. Altered sensory functions such as tactile acuity and body schema have been reported alongside cortical reorganisation in other chronic pain conditions. Cortical reorganisation has also been identified in adults with chronic low back pain but altered sensory functions within this group are not well understood.

This study addressed the question: Are two-point discrimination threshold (TPDT) and body schema altered in adults with CLBP and do they relate to impaired lumbopelvic motor control? Methods A systematic online search identified 639 articles. Inclusion criteria were aged 18 or older with CLBP duration >3months. 624 were excluded and nine included. Using an adapted Downs & Black Quality Index Score, two reviewers rated eight high and one medium quality.

Following the systematic review, 62 adults (31 per group) were recruited from a private healthcare clinic, poster and social media advertising. Self-report questionnaires were completed prior to a brief clinical assessment and study variables were measured using previously reported methods. To date, only descriptive statistics have been calculated.

Results 398 male and female adults (mean age 44 years) from different populations, sample sizes of 6-51, explored tactile discrimination, body schema and motor function but none explored all three concepts.

Conclusions From the review it was concluded that TPDT, body schema may be altered but relation to motor control is unknown. While significant differences existed between collected measurements, only one of our key variables (movement) was significantly different between the two groups. This differs from existing studies and it may be that grouping criteria resulting in the pain and control groups produced overlapping dysfunction. Relationships between key variables and clinical outcomes have yet to be analysed.

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