Energetics and mechanics of walking in patients with chronic low back pain and healthy matched controls.

TitleEnergetics and mechanics of walking in patients with chronic low back pain and healthy matched controls.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsHenchoz, Y, Soldini, N, Peyrot, N, Malatesta, D
JournalEur J Appl Physiol
Date Published2015 Nov

PURPOSE: Walking in patients with chronic low back pain (cLBP) is characterized by motor control adaptations as a protective strategy against further injury or pain. The purpose of this study was to compare the preferred walking speed, the biomechanical and the energetic parameters of walking at different speeds between patients with cLBP and healthy men individually matched for age, body mass and height.

METHODS: Energy cost of walking was assessed with a breath-by-breath gas analyser; mechanical and spatiotemporal parameters of walking were computed using two inertial sensors equipped with a triaxial accelerometer and gyroscope and compared in 13 men with cLBP and 13 control men (CTR) during treadmill walking at standard (0.83, 1.11, 1.38, 1.67 m s(-1)) and preferred (PWS) speeds. Low back pain intensity (visual analogue scale, cLBP only) and perceived exertion (Borg scale) were assessed at each walking speed.

RESULTS: PWS was slower in cLBP [1.17 (SD = 0.13) m s(-1)] than in CTR group [1.33 (SD = 0.11) m s(-1); P = 0.002]. No significant difference was observed between groups in mechanical work (P ≥ 0.44), spatiotemporal parameters (P ≥ 0.16) and energy cost of walking (P ≥ 0.36). At the end of the treadmill protocol, perceived exertion was significantly higher in cLBP [11.7 (SD = 2.4)] than in CTR group [9.9 (SD = 1.1); P = 0.01]. Pain intensity did not significantly increase over time (P = 0.21).

CONCLUSIONS: These results do not support the hypothesis of a less efficient walking pattern in patients with cLBP and imply that high walking speeds are well tolerated by patients with moderately disabling cLBP.

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Alternate JournalEur. J. Appl. Physiol.
Citation Key / SERVAL ID6438
PubMed ID26210986


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