Trunk control during repetitive sagittal movements following a real-time tracking task in people with chronic low back pain

A M Alsubaie, E Martinez-Valdes, A M De Nunzio, D Falla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Precision of trunk movement has commonly been examined by testing relocation accuracy rather than evaluating accuracy of tracking dynamic movement. In this study we used a 3-D motion capture system to provide a novel real-time tracking task to assess trunk motor control at varying movement speeds between people with and without chronic non-specific low back pain (LBP). Eleven asymptomatic volunteers and 15 participants with chronic non-specific LBP performed 12 continuous cycles of trunk flexion-extension following real time visual feedback, during which, trunk motion was measured using eight optoelectronic infrared cameras. Significant time differences between the feedback and actual trunk motion were found between groups (P = 0.001). Both groups had similar variability of tracking accuracy when following the feedback (P > 0.05). However, tracking variability at a slow speed correlated (P = 0.03; r = 0.55) with the Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire (FABQ) scores in those with LBP. This study shows that both asymptomatic people and individuals with LBP displayed anticipatory behaviour, however, the response of those with LBP was consistently delayed in tracking the visual feedback compared to the asymptomatic group. Additionally, the extent of variability of tracking accuracy over repeated tracking cycles was associated with the degree of fear of movement in people with LBP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102533
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of electromyography and kinesiology : official journal of the International Society of Electrophysiological Kinesiology
Early online date16 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by a Ph.D. scholarship awarded to the first author by King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia. We thank Miss. Tiwana Varrecchia (INAIL, Monte Porzio Catone Rome, Italy), for her assistance in data analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Chronic low back pain
  • Electromyography
  • Motor control
  • Proprioception
  • Tracking accuracy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology


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