Body motion during repetitive isodynamic lifting: a comparative study of normal subjects and low-back pain patients.
ABSTRACT To quantify performance differences between patients with low-back pain (LBP) and a control group during their performance of a repetitive isodynamic lifting task. Case-control study was done. LBP patients were recruited and tested at an outpatient ambulatory chronic pain rehabilitation program before treatment was begun. Fifty-three LBP patients who had prolonged back pain and 53 age and gender matched pain-free control subjects. Overall lifting performance measures included weight lifting and number of lifts completed; kinematic measures of hip and knee movements during lifting were described by hyperbolic tangent models, and included static measures of starting and ending angles, and dynamic measures of midpoint, falltime, and lift speed. Control subjects completed significantly more lifts and lifted more weight than patients. Starting hip flexion was greater for controls and starting knee flexion was greater for patients, indicating that patients used more of a leg lift. Patients and controls also differed significantly on dynamic measures, particularly lifting speed and hip and knee temporal midpoints. Major static and dynamic motion differences were found between LBP patients and controls as they performed repetitive lifting under a constant load. These findings indicate that body motion parameters, in addition to more common strength and endurance measures, are necessary to describe the impact of persistent LBP on a person's lifting abilities.