Symptomatic individuals with Lumbar Disc Degeneration use different anticipatory and compensatory kinematic strategies to asymptomatic controls in response to postural perturbation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Authors:
  • Janet A. Deane
  • Adrian K.P. Lim
  • Andrew T.M. Phillips
  • Alison H. McGregor


Background: Lumbar Disc Degeneration (LDD) is associated with recurrent low back pain (LBP) (symptomatic). However, in some instances of LDD, people do not experience LBP (asymptomatic). Research question: As a step towards understanding why some people with LDD experience LBP and others do not, the primary aim of this study was to examine differences in anticipatory (APA) and compensatory postural adjustments (CPA), between symptomatic LDD patients (LDD pain) and asymptomatic LDD controls (LDD no pain) during postural perturbation. The secondary aim was to determine simultaneous differences in mental health, disability and quality of life status. Methods: 3 T MRI was used to acquire T2 weighted images (L1-S1) from LDD no pain (n = 34) and LDD pain groups (n = 34). In this observational study, responses to predicted and unpredicted forward perturbations were examined using three dimensional motion capture. A Mann Whitney U test was conducted to examine group differences in sagittal spine and lower limb kinematics (integrated angular displacements during four established APA and CPA time intervals), anxiety, depression, disability and quality of life. Results: The LDD pain group exhibited lower hip and knee displacements (p = 0.049−0.040) than the LDD no pain group during predicted and unpredicted perturbation. The LDD pain group also exhibited higher compensatory lumbar displacement than the LDD no pain group (p = 0.040−0.005) in the predicted condition but there was no difference observed in the unpredicted condition. The LDD pain group experienced higher levels of depression, anxiety and disability (p < 0.0001) and lower quality of life (p = 0.0001) than LDD controls. Significance: Symptomatic LDD patients are different from LDD controls; they exhibit different kinematic strategies, levels of disability, anxiety, depression and quality of life. Effective care may benefit from evaluating and targeting these differences.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalGait & Posture
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2021