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Title: Tactile thresholds are preserved yet complex sensory function is impaired over the lumbar spine of chronic non-specific low back pain patients. A preliminary investigation
Authors: Wand, BM
Di Pietro, FS
George, PJ
O'Connell, NE
Keywords: Low back pain;Touch perception;Neuronal plasticity;Body image
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Physiotherapy. In press
Abstract: Objectives: To investigate impairments in sensory function in chronic non-specific low back pain patients and the relationship between any impairment and the clinical features of the condition. Design: A cross-sectional case-control study. Setting: Laboratory based study. Participants: Nineteen chronic non-specific low back pain patients and nineteen healthy controls. Main Outcome measures: Tactile threshold, two point discrimination distance and accuracy at a task involving recognizing letters drawn over the skin of the lower back (graphaesthesia) were assessed over the lumbar spine in both groups. Pain duration, pain intensity, physical function, anxiety and depression were assessed by questionnaire in the back pain group Results: We found no difference in tactile threshold between the two groups (median difference 0.00 95% CI -0.04 – 0.04). There was a significant difference between controls and back pain patients for two point discrimination (mean difference 17.85 95% CI 5.93 – 29.77) and graphaesthesia accuracy (mean difference 6.13 95% CI 1.27-10.99). Low back pain patients had a larger lumbar two point discrimination distance threshold and a greater letter recognition error rate. In the patient group, we found no relationship between clinical profile and sensory function and no relationship between the sensory tests. Conclusions: These data support existing findings of perceptual abnormalities in chronic non-specific low back pain patients and are suggestive of cortical rather than peripheral sensory dysfunction. Amelioration of these abnormalities may present a target for therapeutic intervention.
ISSN: 0031-9406
Appears in Collections:Community Health and Public Health
Dept of Clinical Sciences Research Papers

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