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Gait Posture. 2011 Jun;34(2):213-7. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2011.04.014. Epub 2011 May 25.

Postural balance in low back pain patients: Intra-session reliability of center of pressure on a portable force platform and of the one leg stand test.

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  • 1Department of Physiotherapy, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.


Low back pain (LBP) patients have poorer postural control compared to healthy controls, and the importance of assessing and addressing balance is a matter of debate. In the clinic, balance is often tested by means of the one leg stand test (OLST) while research often employs center of pressure (CoP) on a force platform. Portable force platforms might be of clinical relevance, but their reliability for LBP patients in a clinical setting has not been demonstrated. As LBP patients are more dependent on vision compared to healthy controls, the ratio of tests performed with eyes open and eyes closed (Romberg Ratio) might be of clinical interest. This study aimed to assess postural balance in LBP patients by analyzing intra-session reliability of CoP parameters on a portable force platform, the Romberg Ratio, and the OLST. Furthermore, we aimed to determine whether CoP parameters and OLST measure identical aspects of postural stability. We examined 49 LBP patients and found acceptable reliability of the CoP parameters' trace length and velocity, whereas reliability regarding C90 area, the Romberg Ratio, and the OLST was poor. Correlations between the CoP parameters and OLST were insignificant. Reliability of trace length and velocity is acceptable and can be used as parameters when assessing CoP in LBP patients.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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