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bibliography * The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Bray 2011.

Disrupted working body schema of the trunk in people with back pain

updated
Bray H, Moseley GL. Disrupted working body schema of the trunk in people with back pain. Br J Sports Med. 2011 Mar;45(3):168–73. PubMed #19887441.
Tags: etiology, sciatica, back pain, mind, exercise, pro, pain problems, spine, butt, hip, self-treatment, treatment

PainSci summary of Bray 2011?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

If someone is suffering from low back pain, is it possible that they are less accurate in making left/right trunk rotation judgements? Apparently so. The researchers concluded: “Chronic back pain is associated with disruption of the working body schema [mental picture] of the trunk. This might be an important contributor to motor control abnormalities seen in this population.”

But it’s very important to note that the arrow of causation could swing back and forth like a compass in an MRI machine. Is poor coordination causing low back pain? Or is low back causing poor coordination? Or do they just happen to go well together, like peanut butter and chocolate?

original abstract

BACKGROUND: To test whether working body schema of the trunk is disrupted in people with back pain using a motor imagery task in which one decides whether a pictured model has their trunk rotated to the left or to the right. The authors hypothesised that chronic back pain is associated with reduced accuracy of left/right trunk rotation judgements.

METHODS: 21 Patients with back pain and 14 controls completed two tasks, each involving two trials of 40 images: a left/right hand judgement task, which was used as a control task, and the left/right trunk rotation judgement task. Two (task) × three (group: bilateral back pain, unilateral back pain and control) analyses of variance were undertaken on mean response time and accuracy.

RESULTS: Response time was similar across participants and tasks (NS). Accuracy was not. The patients with bilateral back pain made more mistakes on the left/right trunk rotation task than patients with unilateral back pain, who in turn made more mistakes on that task than the controls (body part × group interaction; p<0.001). The mean (95% CI) accuracy for left/right trunk rotation judgements was 53.4% (44.5% to 62.3%) for the patients with bilateral back pain, 67.2% (60.2% to 74.1%) for the patients with unilateral back pain and 87% (75% to 98%) for the control participants. This pattern was not observed on the left/right-hand judgement task, on which all three groups made correct judgements about 83% of the time (NS).

DISCUSSION: Chronic back pain is associated with disruption of the working body schema of the trunk. This might be an important contributor to motor control abnormalities seen in this population.

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This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog.