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Papers of the Week

Papers: 13 May 2023 - 19 May 2023


Human Studies, Neurobiology

Musculoskeletal Pain, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 May 16

Sci Rep




The effect of chronic low back pain on postural control during quiet standing: A meta-analysis.


Park J, Nguyen VQ, Ho RLM, Coombes SA


Low back pain (LBP) has been associated with altered body sway during quiet standing, but the pattern of results is inconsistent. The purpose of this meta-analysis is to examine the effects of vision (eyes open, eyes closed) and changing the support surface (foam surface, firm surface) on postural sway during quiet standing in individuals with chronic LBP (cLBP). Five electronic databases were searched on March 27th, 2022. Of 2,856, 16 studies (n = 663) were included. Across all conditions, we found a positive and medium effect size (g = 0.77 [0.50, 1.04]) that represented greater body sway in individuals with cLBP. Subgroup analyses revealed medium effects during eyes open conditions (firm surface: g = 0.60 [0.33, 0.87]; foam surface: g = 0.68 [0.38, 0.97]), and large effects during eyes closed conditions (firm surface: g = 0.97 [0.60, 1.35]; foam surface: g = 0.89 [0.28, 1.51]). We quantified effects of self-reported pain and found a moderate effect during eyes closed plus firm surface conditions (Q = 3.28; p = 0.070). We conclude that cLBP is associated with increased postural sway, with largest effect sizes evident when vision is removed and when self-reported pain intensity is higher.