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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, Luomajoki 2011.

Tactile acuity and lumbopelvic motor control in patients with back pain and healthy controls

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Tags: etiology, back pain, mind, exercise, massage, pro, pain problems, spine, self-treatment, treatment, manual therapy

PainSci summary of Luomajoki 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.

This study showed that patients with back pain have decreased tactile acuity and coordination — that is, their sense of touch goes on the blink, and their movement precision is a bit wonky. Touch accuracy is determined by the minimum distance apart that two points of contact can be distinguished: 10mm for a healthy person, but 13mm for those with low back pain. The worse the touch accuracy in a patient, the worse the coordination as well. The authors speculated that “training tactile acuity may aid recovery and assist in achieving normal motor performance after back injury.” That’s quite a leap, but it’s not an unreasonable question to ask (and it could be an example of the potential value of touch therapy for assisting with normalizing a patient’s sense of self).

original abstract

BACKGROUND: Voluntary lumbopelvic control is compromised in patients with back pain. Loss of proprioceptive acuity is one contributor to decreased control. Several reasons for decreased proprioceptive acuity have been proposed, but the integrity of cortical body maps has been overlooked. We investigated whether tactile acuity, a clear clinical signature of primary sensory cortex organisation, relates to lumbopelvic control in people with back pain.

METHODS: Forty-five patients with back pain and 45 age- and sex-matched healthy controls participated in this cross-sectional study. Tactile acuity at the back was assessed using two-point discrimination (TPD) threshold in vertical and horizontal directions. Voluntary motor control was assessed using an established battery of clinical tests.

RESULTS: Patients performed worse on the voluntary lumbopelvic tasks than healthy controls did (p<0.001). TPD threshold was larger in patients (mean (SD)=61 (13) mm) than in healthy controls (44 (10) mm). Moreover, larger TPD threshold was positively related to worse performance on the voluntary lumbopelvic tasks (Pearson's r=0.49; p<0.001).

DISCUSSION: Tactile acuity, a clear clinical signature of primary sensory cortex organisation, relates to voluntary lumbopelvic control. This relationship raises the possibility that the former contributes to the latter, in which case training tactile acuity may aid recovery and assist in achieving normal motor performance after back injury.

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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.