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Question: Do the self-reported aggravating activities of chronic non-specific low back pain patients demonstrate a consistent directional pattern?

Design: Cross-sectional observational study. Participants: 240 chronic non specific low back pain patients.

Outcome measure: We invited experienced clinicians to classify each of the three self-nominated aggravating activities from the Patient Specific Functional Scale by the direction of lumbar spine movement. Patients were described as demonstrating a directional pattern if all nominated activities moved the spine into the same direction. Analyses were undertaken to determine if the proportion of patients demonstrating a directional pattern was greater than would be expected by chance.

Results: In some patients, all tasks did move the spine into the same direction, but this proportion did not differ from chance (p = 0.328). There were no clinical or demographic differences between those who displayed a directional pattern and those who did not (all p > 0.05).

Conclusion: Using patient self-reported aggravating activities we were unable to demonstrate the existence of a consistent pattern of adverse movement in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain.


Peer-reviewed, chronic low back pain; classification; sub-groups; physiotherapy


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