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Effects of chronic low back pain, age and gender on vertical spinal creep

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This study investigated the effect of chronic low back pain, age, gender, and time of measurement on the magnitude of vertical spinal creep (VSC) and its recovery. A mixed design, involving three independent variables (chronic low back pain, age, and gender) and one repeated variable (time), was used. One hundred and six subjects of both genders, with and without chronic low back pain, aged between 20 and 60 years, participated in the study. The measurement of VSC and its recovery was performed using a seated stadiometer that allowed continuous measurement of VSC without changing the subject's posture over 25 min. Unloaded VSC was measured during the initial 5 min, followed by 10 min with an additional load of 15% of the subject's body weight and then for a further 10 min after the removal of the load. Subjects were grouped into one of eight categories according to the presence of chronic low back pain, age (20-39 years or 40-60 years) and gender. Repeated measures analysis of variance was computed. A significant increase in VSC with time of measurement was observed (p<0.001). No significant main effects for chronic low back pain, age, or gender were found at any time during the 25-min VSC testing protocol. Significant interactions were found between age and gender during the loaded (p=0.02) and unloaded (p=0.02) phases. A significant interaction was found between chronic low back pain and gender at the end of the unloaded phase (p=0.04). These findings suggest a combined influence of chronic low back pain, age, and gender on VSC and its recovery and that the dominance of each variable changed with the time of the measurement. Thus, subjects who differ in the presence of chronic low back pain, age, and gender should not be combined for statistical analysis of VSC and its recovery.
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Keywords: Age; Chronic low back pain; Gender; Spinal creep

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 15, 2003

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