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Front Pain Res (Lausanne)


Identifying Motor Control Strategies and Their Role in Low Back Pain: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach Bridging Neurosciences With Movement Biomechanics.



Persistent low back pain (LBP) is a major health issue, and its treatment remains challenging due to a lack of pathophysiological understanding. A better understanding of LBP pathophysiology has been recognized as a research priority, however research on contributing mechanisms to LBP is often limited by siloed research within different disciplines. Novel cross-disciplinary approaches are necessary to fill important knowledge gaps in LBP research. This becomes particularly apparent when considering new theories about a potential role of changes in movement behavior (motor control) in the development and persistence of LBP. First evidence points toward the existence of different motor control strategy phenotypes, which are suggested to have pain-provoking effects in some individuals driven by interactions between neuroplastic, psychological and biomechanical factors. Yet, these phenotypes and their role in LBP need further validation, which can be systematically tested using an appropriate cross-disciplinary approach. Therefore, we propose a novel approach, connecting methods from neuroscience and biomechanics research including state-of-the-art optical motion capture, musculoskeletal modeling, functional magnetic resonance imaging and assessments of psychological factors. Ultimately, this cross-disciplinary approach might lead to the identification of different motor control strategy phenotypes with the potential to translate into clinical research for better treatment options.