Back Pain Research
The Relationship Between the Loss of Motor Control and Low Back Pain
Compared to people without back problems, those with low back pain show losses in motor control, including problems with trunk muscle response and posture. While some researchers believe that losses in motor control may predispose people to falls that result in back pain, other researchers think losses in motor control may result from damage sustained by tissue during a fall.
To explore the relationship between motor control loss and back pain, scientists will study varsity athletes to determine whether poor motor control of the lumbar spine increases the risk of low back injury. They will also study changes in lumbar spine motor control of people with low back pain after they complete rehabilitation programs that emphasize motor control training.
Psychosocial Programs for People With Acute Low Back Pain
Acute low back pain is a common problem that affects people's abilities to work and function, and it contributes to high healthcare costs. However, there are few back pain research studies that prove whether or not a treatment truly reduces limitation and prevents the recurrence of pain.
One new project will develop a program to enhance the social support and self-efficacy of people with acute low back pain. After developing and testing the program, researchers will evaluate its effectiveness by comparing the results of 160 participants with those of 160 people receiving usual care.
Scientists think that when a disc ruptures, material leaking from its jelly-like filling leads to inflammation and the release of chemicals that irritate cells within the spinal canal. Scientists believe that the effects of these chemicals on the nerve endings in discs and adjacent tissue lead to low back pain, while the effects on dorsal nerve roots lead to sciatica.
One study will test these ideas using a variety of techniques. A better understanding of pain mechanisms related to herniated discs will allow researchers to develop better treatments.