Asian Journal of Sports Medicine 2014. 5(4):e24283.

An exploratory examination of the association between altered lumbar motor control, joint mobility and low back pain in athletes.
Marie B Corkery, Brittany O'Rourke, Samantha Viola, Sheng-Che Yen, Joseph Rigby, Kevin Singer, Adam Thomas


Low back pain (LBP) is a common cause of lost playing time and can be a challenging clinical condition in competitive athletes. LBP in athletes may be associated with joint and ligamentous hypermobility and impairments in activation and coordination of the trunk musculature, however there is limited research in this area.To determine if there is an association between altered lumbar motor control, joint mobility and low back pain (LBP) in a sample of athletes.Fifteen athletes with LBP were matched by age, gender and body mass index (BMI) with controls without LBP. Athletes completed a questionnaire with questions pertaining to demographics, activity level, medical history, need to self-manipulate their spine, pain intensity and location. Flexibility and lumbar motor control were assessed using: active and passive straight leg raise, lumbar range of motion (ROM), hip internal rotation ROM (HIR), Beighton ligamentous laxity scale, prone instability test (PIT), observation of lumbar aberrant movements, double leg lowering and Trendelenburg tests. Descriptive statistics were compiled and the chi square test was used to analyze results.Descriptive statistics showed that 40% of athletes with LBP exhibited aberrant movements (AM), compared to 6% without LBP. 66% of athletes with LBP reported frequently self-manipulating their spine compared to 40% without LBP. No significant differences in motor control tests were found between groups. Athletes with LBP tended to have less lumbar flexion (63 ± 11°) compared to those without LBP (66 ± 13°). Chi-Square tests revealed that the AM were more likely to be present in athletes with LBP than those without (X2 = 4.66, P = 0.03).The presence of aberrant movement patterns is a significant clinical finding and associated with LBP in athletes.


Flexibility;Low Back Pain;Motor Control


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